Broad beans properties


Common English noun: Broad beans, fava beans, Horsebean, English bean, field bean, pigeon bean, Windsor bean, bell bean, etc.

Common nouns in other languages:

Broad bean plantBroad bean plant

– Spanish / Español: Haba

– Catalan / Català: favera, fava

– Galician / Galego: favon, fava loba, favaca, favallón

– Portuguese / Português: Fava, feijão-fava

– Basque / Euskara: Baba

– Italian / Italiano: Fava

– Romanian / Română: Bobul

– French / Français: Fève

– German / Deutsch: Ackerbohne, Favabohne, Saubohne, Dicke Bohne, Schweinsbohne, Große Bohne, Pferdebohne, Puffbohne, Viehbohne, Faberbohne

– Polish/ Polski: Bób

– Dutch /Nederlands: Tuinboon

– Norwegian /Norsk bokmål: Hestebønne, favabønne, åkerbønne,fababønne, bondebønne

– Finnish /Suomi: Okra

– Swedish /Svenska: Bondböna

– Turkish / Türkçe: Bakla

– Русский / Russian:Бобсадо́вый

Scientific noun: Vicia faba L. = Faba bona Medik = Faba equina Medik = Faba faba (L.) House = Faba major Desf = Faba minor Roxb = Faba sativa Bernh = Faba vulgaris Moench = Orobus faba Brot = Vicia esculenta Salisb = Vicia vulgaris Gray

Family: Pea family (Papilionaceae, Leguminoseae)

Habitat: Native from Asia, but naturalized and cultivated as food.

Characteristics of broad beans

illustrationillustrationA detail of the fruit and the flower

Drawing: © Daniel M. Bou

Herbaceous annual plant of the pea family – Papilionaceae – Leguminoseae– up to 80 cm. tall.

Quadrangular, robust stems.

Compound leaves, till 3 ovate leaflets and with toothed stipules at the base.

Very conspicuous flowers, till 2 cm long, white with the wings smeared in black.

The fruit is a pod, reaching 25 cm, pubescent. Seeds till 3 cm.

Picking up and storing broad beans

Spring is the best season to collect the flowers. Keep them in a dry well- closed receptacle.


Broad bean as a curative plant:

  • Diuretic: In those case where water retention appears flowers can be used (Decoction of 10 gr. of dry flowers in ¼ of litter of water. Drink as much as one wishes) of the fresh pods (the proportion of plant for the same quantity of water doubles the one seen above. Drink as much as it is desired) This treatment is useful to treat obesity or cellulite.
  • Depurative and anti-rheumatic: The same previous decoctions are good for “washing” the kidneys and purify blood, containing to much uric acid. very usefull for arthritis.
  • Cholesterol: Broad beans consuming helps the body to remove fat from the arteries, keeping cholesterol in low levels.
  • Felons and furuncles: Baths with the decoction of leaves till the water gets cold.
  • Parkinson´s disease: It has been recommended to consume broad bean seeds to people with Parkinson’s disease because beans are rich in the amino acid levodopa (L-DOPA), a precursor of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in treating disease and improving abilities Motor vehicles. Levodopa is given as medicines to treat Parkinson’s. Consuming beans increases levodopa levels in the blood and may be helpful against mild symptoms of the disease (study, study, study)

One way to consume abundant beans for people with Parkinson’s is from bread made with broad bean, or from boiled beans, preferably pre-germinated. These foods seem interesting to introduce into the diet for Parkinson’s.

  • Alzheimer’s disease: It is rich in choline which is part of acetylcholine. The ingestion of this food can aid to maintain the memory in Alzheimer’s patients. (Decoction of 10 grams of dried flowers in ¼ liter of water Drink the amount you want) (Eat bread with broad bean flour, or broad beans in the food, preferably sprouted. Follow the recommended nutritional guidelines in the diet for Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Lack of sexual desire: It is a good aphrodisiac. (Eat broad beans)
  • Menopause: On bean stalks, daidzein and genistein have been found (study), two isoflavones or phytosterols (plant estrogens) that supposedly behave in the body supplying deficits of estrogen hormones that occur at menopause, helping to combat some symptoms such as hot flushes (Usually consume germinated beans. It is recommended to add broad beans in a diet for menopause)

Broad beans as edible food

Broad beans are more known as edible food than because of their medicinal properties. They are mainly rich in calories and proteins.

tender beans in their pod
Photo of tender beans in their pod

They must be eaten while they are tender because they are more digestible. In spite of this, broad beans are generally quite flatulent.

Before eating dry broad beans, they must be left to soak for a day and cook them well afterwards in order them not to be indigestive.

They should not be eaten at night because, being difficult to digest, they may cause nightmares- It was thought in the Middle Ages that the souls of the dead lived inside this legume which did not allow people to sleep) Being tender, they can be eaten raw.

Prepared in puree, they have a pleasant taste and a better digestion.

For beans to have higher nutritive value, it is recommended to combine them with foods rich in vitamin C (to increase the absorption of iron) and combine them with cereals or seeds (to complete the proteins of the beans). Some foods rich in vitamin C are: raw peppers, fresh parsley, or just take a fruit for dessert. Examples of cereals and seeds to combine with the beans are: rice, tahini sauce, couscous, or simply, accompany them with bread..

If they germinate, the availability and digestibility of their proteins increases. They are germinated and then boiled. * See: Properties of germinated broad beans

Varieties of broad beans

There are many varieties of broad beans (Vicia faba L), mainly three types are distinguished according to their size, uses, or the amount of seeds they contain:

– The tender beans usually they come from the variety V. faba var. Major or windsor (in English called large-seeded broadbeans or windsorbeans). They are the ones that have the longest pod (35-40 cm.) And inside contain between 7 and 8 seeds.

Dwarf broad beans, smaller and with 2-4 seeds in the interior, come from the variety Vicia faba var. Minor (in English, pigeon bean).

Medium-sized broad beans intended for animal fodder are of the variety V. faba var. Equine (in English, horsebroadbeans) and var. Angustifolia.

Contraindications of beans

It has been popularly said that beans should not be eaten at night because, being difficult to digest, they can produce nightmares. In the Middle Ages it was thought that the souls of the dead lived inside this vegetable and did not let them sleep.

Some people have been intoxicated simply by contact with the pollen of the plant.

In no case should people with favism should eat broad beans of to get in contact with bean plants or beans pollen in order no to produce the following symptoms; dizziness, vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, fever, etc. within 48 hours after consumption food. It is an intoxication acquired by some people who are genetically predisposed.

* More information: Toxicity of the broad beans.

Nutritional composition of broad beans

Their main nutritional values are the following:

Water (g.)8111
Calories (kcal.)72341
Fats (mg.)0,61,53
Proteins (g.)5,626,12
Carbohydrates (g.)11,758,3
Fiber (g.)4,225
Calcium (mg.)22103
Iron (mg.)1,96,7
Magnesium (mg.)38192
Phosphorus (mg.)95421
Potassium (mg.)2501.062
Sodium (mg.)5013
Zinc (mg.)0,583,14
Selenium (mcg.)1,28,2
Vitamin C (mg.)331,4
Niacin (vit. B3) (mg.)1,52,83
Folic acid (mcg.)96423

punto rojo More information about fava beans

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

27 January, 2021

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