Rosary Pea

Rosary Pea

Rosary Pea / माला मटर

Binomial Name(s): Abrus precatorius
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Abreae
Genus: Abrus
Species: A. precatorius
Popular Name(s): Jequerity, Crab’s Eye, Precatory Bean, Tento Muido, Cain Ghe, Graines Reglisse, Weesboontje, Rakat, Hint Meyankoku, Hung Tou, Jequerit, Liane Reglisse, Ma Liao Tou, Paratella, Paternoster, माला मटर
Parts Used: Seeds, leaves
Habitat: Throughout Central India


Rosary Pea is a twining herb, with long, pinnate-leafleted feathery leaves. Its flowers are rose to purple in color, growing at the end of a stalk. On the other hand, fruits are short pods, containing hard, shiny, scarlet and black seeds. The herb is also identified as Gunja in Sanskrit and some Indian languages. Native to Indonesia, the plant is mostly found in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. If proper care is not taken while growing it, the plant might becomes weedy and invasive in the areas where it has been introduced.

Plant Chemicals

(+)-abrine, Abraline, Abrasine, Abricin, Abrin, Abrisin, Abrusgenic-acid, Abrusgenic-acid-methyl-ester, Abruslactone, Abrussic-acid, Anthocyanins, Ash, Calcium, Campesterol, Choline, Cycloartenol, Delphinidin, Gallic-acid,, Glycyrrhizin, Hypaphorine, N,n-dimethyl-tryptophan, N,n-dimethyl-tryptophan-metho-cation-methyl-ester, P-coumaroylgalloyl-glucodelphinidin, Phosphorus, Pectin, Pentosans, Picatorine, Polygalacturonic-acids, Precasine, Precatorine, Protein Trigonelline

Uses & Benefits of Rosary Pea

  • Rosary pea roots are used for treating gonorrhea, jaundice and haemoglobinuric bile.
  • The oil extracted from seeds of the herb is said to promote the growth of human hair.
  • The herb is also used as an abortifacient, laxative, sedative and aphrodisiac.
  • The leaves of Rosary pea are used to make tea, which is known to be useful in treating fevers, coughs and colds.
  • The white seeds of the herb are used in the Siddha medicine, to make oil that is regarded as an equivalent of the present-day Viagra.
  • The seeds of Rosary pea have anodyne, antimicrobial, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, febrifuge, hemostat, purgative, and refrigerant properties.
  • The seeds, after being converted to vermifuge paste, can be applied topically, in case of sciatica, stiffness of shoulder joints and paralysis.
  • In some traditional medicines, the herb is used to treat scratches, sores and wounds caused by dogs, cats and mice.
  • The paste of its roots is often used in the treatment of abdominal pains and tumors.
  • The juice derived from the paste of the leaves and seeds of rosary pea can be used to treat grey hair.


  • The seeds of Rosary pea are highly poisonous. In the powdered form, they have been known to disturb the uterine functions and also prevent conception in women.
  • If consumed raw, the seeds can result in nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain and diarrhea, and burning in throat, initially. Later on, ulcerative lesions of mouth and esophagus might result.
  • Eye damage, conjunctivitis and even blindness might result from coming in contact with an infusion of the seed extracts.

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