Kulthi beans are little known to most Western cooks, but they are extremely beneficial for detox and weight management. Sold in Indian grocery stores as horse gram (Macrotyloma uniflorum), these brown beans have been used in Ayurvedic healing protocols for thousands of years. I fell in love with them one autumn, when I ate kulthi khichari twice a week for a couple of weeks and the mild arthritic pains in my fingers disappeared for good.
Kulthi grows in very rocky areas in India, and because it is rich in minerals, it is very hard and needs long cooking to become palatable. Using a blender to puree the presoaked kulthi shortens the cooking time. Before soaking, I always spread the beans on a tray and sort out any small stones and pieces of dirt—once I almost broke a tooth eating uncleaned beans.
The classical texts of Ayurveda describe kulthi as mildly heating and astringent, light, and sharp, thus excellent for reducing excessive accumulation of the water and earth elements in the body. It has very low glycemic index and is low in calories yet rich in nutrients including iron, molybdenum, protein, and antioxidants. The main therapeutic value of kulthi is to decalcify, to break down and eliminate reactive toxins that have crystalized in the body. These are the very toxins that can cause gout if they wind up in our feet or hard bumpy arthritis nodules in our fingers, or they can harden our glands and arteries. Thus kulthi supports overall health by doing the following:
- Dissolving kidney stones and gallstones or calcium deposits in joints and arteries
- Burning fat, where toxins tend to linger
- Scraping and binding toxins for easy elimination
- Alleviating hemorrhoids
- Healing mild colic pains or ulcers
- Reducing water retention
- Strengthening the eyes
- Stopping cough, hiccups, and shortness of breath
- Reducing insulin resistance
A success story from Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum’s office: “One of my patients, a sixty-year-old man, had an extremely large kidney stone. His doctors warned him that it was going to be excruciatingly painful when he passed it. He came to me to see if there was anything he could do to shrink it. I put him on a regimen of kulthi beans for three months. When he went back for another ultrasound, the stone was completely gone!”