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Cajanus cajan, Cajan cajan, Cajanus indicus, Cajanus flavus, Cytisus cajan, Cajan inodorum

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Shivani Kagra* & K.L. Dahiya**


* Pursuing Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgeory; Lal Bhadur Shastri Mahila Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Bilaspur (Yamuna Nagar), Haryana, India

** Kurukshetra Global City, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India


Vernacular name:

Assamese: Arahar, Mirai-maha, Ruharmah

Bengali: Adar, Aaharee, Arhar

English: Arhar, Pigeon Pea, Congo pea, No eye pea, Pigeon pea, Red gram

Gujarati: Dangri, Tohar, Tur, Tuver, Tuvar, Tuvera

Hindi: Arahad, Arahar, Arhar, Tur, Tuvar

Kannada: Dalu, Kariyudu, Kari Uddu, Tur, Togari bele, Togari kalu, Tovaree, Togari

Konkani: Tori

Malayalam: Adhaki, Kakshi, Tuvara, Thuvara

Manipuri: Mairongbi

Marathi: Toor, Toori, Tura, Tur, Tuver

Nepali: Rahar

Oriya: Harada, Har-har, Horodo, Kandulagachha, Kakshi, Tubara

Punjabi: Arhar

Sanskrit: Adhaki, Kakshi, Tuvari, Karvirabhuja

Tamil: Adagi, Adagi Tuvari, Adhaki, Iruppuli, Kaycci, Thovary, Tuvarai, Thuvarai, Thovarai

Tangkhul: Khaithei

Telugu: Adhaki, Kandi, Kadulu, Kandulu, Togari, Tuvaramu, Sinnakandi

Urdu: Arhar, Tuar

Taxonomic classification

Kingdom: Plantae - plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants

Subkingdom: Viridiplantae

Infrakingdom: Streptophyta - land plants

Superdivision: Embryophyta

Division: Tracheophyta - vascular plants, tracheophytes

Subdivision: Spermatophytina - spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames

Class: Magnoliopsida

Superorder: Rosanae

Order: Fabales

Family: Fabaceae - peas, legumes

Genus: CajanusAdans.

Species: Cajanus cajan (L.) Huth - Arhar, Pigeon Pea, Congo pea, No eye pea, Pigeon pea, Red gram – (Syn. Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp., Cajan cajan (L.) Huth, Cajanus indicus Spreng., Cajanus flavus, Cytisus cajan, Cajan inodorum)

Phytogeography: Most common pulse eaten all over India. The cultivation of Arhar goes back at least 3000 years. The centre of origin is most likely Asia, from where it travelled to East Africa and by means of the slave trade to the American continent.

Description: An erect annual or short-lived perennial reaching a height of 3-10 feet. Because the coarse bush is deeply rooted, it has wide adaptability and grows well on semiarid land.

Leaves: Slender, pointed trifoliate leaves

Flowers: Yellow or yellow and red flowers.

Pods: Similar to English peas, green and pointed with a bit of reddish mottling. Several pods are produced in clusters on an upright stem.

Propagation: Seeds

Parts used: Leaves, seeds

Phytochemical Constituents: 2′-hydroxygenistein; Betulinic acid; Biochanin A; Cajaninstilbene acid; Cajanuslactone; Phytoalexins; Pinostrobin; Cajaninstilbene acid; Cajanol; Flavonoids; Genistein; Longistilin A; Longistilin C; Orientin; Pinostrobin; Polyphenolic compounds; Reducing sugars; Saponins; Stilbenes; Vitexin.

Pharmacological actions: Anthelmintic; Antibacterial; Anti-carcinogenic; Anticytotoxic; Antihyperglycaemic, hypoglycaemic; Anti-inflammatory; Antimicrobial; Antinociceptive; Anti-osteoporotic; Antioxidant; Antiplasmodial; Blood purifier; Cytotoxic; Hepatoprotective, hepatocuritive; Hypocholesterolemic; Immunomodulatory; Nephroprotective.

Medicinal uses: Anaemia; Constipation; Cough; Diabetes mellitus; Dizziness; Epilepsy; Gastropathy; Helminthiasis, worm infestation; Hepatosis, hepatopathy, hepatitis; Insomnia; Jaundice; Sore throat; Syphilis; Wounds.

Dosage and administration: The seeds are good source of protein and eaten after boiling. Leaf juice or its decoction (immature leaves) given with sugar in jaundice (regularly in morning) for about 1 month. Seeds useful in vitiated conditions of pitta. Juice of 2-4 seeds also given twice daily for 4-5 days for acute viral hepatitis.

About 2 tea spoon full juice is given once daily with few drop of honey.

Roots: 2-6 gm in powder form

Adverse reactions: As directed by the physician.


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Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Committee, 2004, “The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India, Part I, Volume IV,” New Delhi, India: Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).

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Flowers of India, “Arhar,” Retrieved on July 21, 2017. [Web Reference]

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Hassan E.M., et al., 2016, “Assessment of anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, immunomodulatory, and antioxidant activities of Cajanus cajan L. seeds cultivated in Egypt and its phytochemical composition,” Pharmaceutical biology; 54(8): 1380-1391. [Web Reference]

Hyde M.A., Wursten B.T., Ballings P. and Coates Palgrave M., 2017, "Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.," [Web Reference]

ITIS, 2017, "Cajanus cajan (L.) Huth,” Integrated Taxonomic Information System on-line database, March 1, 2017. [Web Reference]

Kong Y., et al., 2010, “Cajanuslactone, a new coumarin with anti-bacterial activity from pigeon pea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] leaves,” Food chemistry; 121(4): 1150-1155. [Web Reference]


Schuster R., et al., 2016, “Cajanus cajan–a source of PPARγ activators leading to anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic effects,” Food & function; 7(9): 3798-3806. [Web Reference]

Singh S., Mehta A. and Mehta P., 2011, “Hepatoprotective activity of Cajanus cajan against carbon tetrachloride induced liver damage,” Int J Pharm Pharm Sci; 3(2): 146-147. [Web Reference]

Uchegbu N.N. and Ishiwu C.N., 2016, “Germinated Pigeon Pea (Cajanus cajan): a novel diet for lowering oxidative stress and hyperglycemia,” Food science & nutrition; 4(5): 772-777. [Web Reference]

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