Bean pod (Phaseolus vulgaris)

While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • Alpha-AI, alpha-amylase inhibitor, anasazi bean, azufrado, baked bean, bayo bean, bean, black bean, black Jamapa bean, borlotto bean, bush bean, butter bean, cannellino bean, catalase, chymotrypsin inhibitor, common bean, coumestrol, cranberry bean, cyanidin, daidzein, delphinidin, Fabaceae (family), ferulic, field bean, flageolet bean, Flor de Mayo, French bean, French string bean, frijole bean, glutathione, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione-S-transferase, Great Northern bean, green bean, haricot bean (Aztec), haricot vert, haricots verts, hydroperoxides, kaempferol, kidney bean, kidney bean pods, kintoki bean, lablab bean, large white bean, legume, Leguminosae (family), lima beans, malvidin, marrow beans, Mexican beans, Mexican common beans, navy bean, pea bean, pectic acid, pelargonidin, peonidin, Perla black bean, petunidin, Phase 2 Starch Neutralizer®, Phase2®, Phaseolamin 2250®, Phaseoli fructus sine semine, phaseolin, Phaseolus vulgaris spp., phytoalexins, phytoestrogens, phytohemagglutinin, pinto bean, quercetin, red bean, red kidney bean, red speckled bean, scarlet runner, seed-free bean pods, snap bean, string bean, stringless bean, sugar bean, superoxide dismutase, Tora-mame, turtle bean, trypsin inhibitor, wax bean, white bean, white cloud bean, white kidney bean.

Background

  • The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is one of the most important members of the Fabaceae family of plants found worldwide. The green bean pods are cooked as a vegetable, and some varieties are stored dry, then rehydrated before cooking. Leaves are occasionally used as a salad.

  • Bean pods are believed to be helpful in obesity and weight loss programs, as well as obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes mellitus type 2 and heart disease.

  • Bean pods are also commonly believed to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiviral, cleansing and detoxifying, diuretic (increases urination), emollient (moisturizing), and gas-relieving properties.

Scientific Evidence

Uses

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Diabetes mellitus type 2

Currently, data on the therapeutic effect of bean pod in diabetes mellitus type 2 are lacking. Limited evidence has shown that a plant mixture containing bean pod may reduce blood sugar. More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

Obesity/weight loss

There is conflicting evidence regarding the effects of bean pods on obesity or weight loss. Further well-designed studies are needed.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.

  • Acne, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiviral, burns, carminative, cleansing impurities from the body, constipation, diarrhea, diuretic (increase urine flow), diverticulitis (inflamed and infected pouches in the large intestine), dropsy (swelling), dysentery (severe diarrhea), eczema (skin inflammation), heart diseases, hiccups (hiccoughs), irritable bowel syndrome, itch, kidney or bladder stones, postmenopausal osteoporosis, rheumatism, sciatica (sciatic nerve pain), skin care.

Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

  • In general, the typical dose of bean pod is one cup of tea taken by mouth several times daily, prepared by simmering 2.5 grams of bean pods in 150 milliliters of boiling water for 10-15 minutes and then straining the liquid, not to exceed 5-15 grams of bean pod daily.

  • For weight loss, 3,000 alpha-amylase inhibitor units (AAIU) daily, from Phase 2®, have been taken by mouth for 30 days. Phase 2® (1,500 milligrams) has been taken by mouth twice daily for eight weeks, and 1,000 milligrams of fractionated white bean extract has been taken by mouth twice daily for four weeks.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for bean pod in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid with known allergy or sensitivity to bean pod (Phaseolus vulgaris), its constituents, or members of the Fabaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Consumption of bean pod in typical dietary amounts is likely to be safe.

  • Bean pods may cause stomach upset, reduced nutrient absorption, and diarrhea.

  • Bean pods may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.

  • Use cautiously in patients using diuretics (drugs that increase urination), due to a risk of electrolyte imbalance.

  • Use cautiously in patients using laxatives.

  • Avoid ingesting large amounts of fresh bean husks.

  • Avoid in children or in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of safety evidence.

  • Avoid in individuals with known allergy to bean pod (Phaseolus vulgaris), its constituents, or members of the Fabaceae family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid in children or in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of safety evidence.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Bean pods may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.

  • Because bean pod contains estrogen-like chemicals, the effects of other agents believed to have estrogen-like properties may be altered.

  • Bean pods may interact with antibiotics, antiobesity agents, antiprotozoals, antiviral agents, diuretics (drugs that increase urination), drugs used for osteoporosis, estrogens, and laxatives.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Bean pods may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.

  • Because bean pods contain estrogen-like chemicals, the effects of other agents believed to have estrogen-like properties may be altered.

  • Bean pods may interact with antibacterials, antiobesity agents, antioxidants, antiparasitics, antiviral agents, diuretics (agents that increase urination), laxatives, osteoporosis agents, and phytoestrogens (plants with estrogen-like properties).

Author Information

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Blair MW, Diaz JM, Hidalgo R, et al. Microsatellite characterization of Andean races of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Theor Appl Genet 2007;116(1):29-43. View Abstract
  2. Blair MW, Giraldo MC, Buendia HF, et al. Microsatellite marker diversity in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Theor Appl Genet 2006;113(1):100-109. View Abstract
  3. Blair MW, Pedraza F, Buendia HF, et al. Development of a genome-wide anchored microsatellite map for common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Theor Appl Genet 2003;107(8):1362-1374. View Abstract
  4. Celleno L, Tolaini MV, D’Amore A, et al. A Dietary supplement containing standardized Phaseolus vulgaris extract influences body composition of overweight men and women. Int J Med Sci 2007;4(1):45-52. View Abstract
  5. Diaz LM, Blair MW. Race structure within the Mesoamerican gene pool of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) as determined by microsatellite markers. Theor Appl Genet 2006;114(1):143-154. View Abstract
  6. Espinosa-Alonso LG, Lygin A, Widholm JM, et al. Polyphenols in wild and weedy Mexican common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). J Agric Food Chem 2006;54(12):4436-4444. View Abstract
  7. Grisi MC, Blair MW, Gepts P, et al. Genetic mapping of a new set of microsatellite markers in a reference common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) population BAT93 x Jalo EEP558. Genet Mol Res 2007;6(3):691-706. View Abstract
  8. Ionescu-Tirgoviste C, Popa E, Mirodon Z,. [The effect of a plant mixture on the metabolic equilibrium in patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus]. Rev Med Interna Neurol Psihiatr Neurochir Dermatovenerol Med Interna 1989;41(2):185-192. View Abstract
  9. Lara-Diaz VJ, Gaytan-Ramos AA, Davalos-Balderas AJ, et al. Microbiological and toxicological effects of Perla black bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) extracts: in vitro and in vivo studies. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol 2009;104(2):81-86. View Abstract
  10. Maras M, Susnik S, Sustar-Vozlic J, et al. Temporal changes in genetic diversity of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) accessions cultivated between 1800 and 2000. Genetika 2006;42(7):947-954. View Abstract
  11. Morales-de Leon JC, Vazquez-Mata N, Torres N, et al. Preparation and characterization of protein isolate from fresh and hardened beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). J Food Sci 2007;72(2):C96-102. View Abstract
  12. Shirke SS, Jadhav SR, Jagtap AG. Osteoprotective effect of Phaseolus vulgaris L in ovariectomy-induced osteopenia in rats. Menopause 2009;16(3):589-596. View Abstract
  13. Udani J, Singh BB. Blocking carbohydrate absorption and weight loss: a clinical trial using a proprietary fractionated white bean extract. Altern Ther Health Med 2007;13(4):32-37. View Abstract
  14. Udani J, Hardy H, Madsen DC. Blocking carbohydrate absorption and weight loss: a clinical trial using Phase 2 brand proprietary fractionated white bean extract. Altern Med Rev 2004;9(1):63-69. View Abstract
  15. Venkateswaran S, Pari L, Saravanan G. Effect of Phaseolus vulgaris on circulatory antioxidants and lipids in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. J Med Food 2002;5(2):97-103. View Abstract

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.