Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rosary Pea - Abrus precatorius

Abrus precatorius, commonly known as Eye jequirity, crab, pea Rosary, John Crow bead, precatory bean, licorice Indian Saga Akar, Giddee Giddee Jumbie beads or Trinidad & Tobago, is a slender, perennial climber that wraps around trees, shrubs and hedges. It is a legume long, pinnate leaves, leaflets. It is also known as Gunja in Sanskrit and some Indian languages ​​in Hindi and Ratti.

The plant is best known for its seeds, which are used as beads and percussion instruments, and are toxic due to the presence of abrin. The plant is native to Indonesia and grows in tropical and subtropical regions of the world where it was introduced. It tends to become an invasive weed and where it was introduced.
The abrin toxin is a dimer composed of two protein subunits, called A and B. The B chain facilitates the entry abrin in a cell by binding to certain transport proteins on cell membranes, which then transport the toxin into the cell. Once in the cell, the A chain prevents protein synthesis by inactivating the 26S subunit of the ribosome. One molecule of abrin inactive up to 1500 ribosomes per second.

The symptoms are identical to those of ricin, abrin, except that it is more toxic by almost two orders of magnitude, the lethal dose of abrin is about 75 times smaller than the lethal dose of ricin. Abrin can kill with a total circulation of less than 3 micrograms.
Abrus precatorius, called Kudra Mani Tamil and Telugu ginja guru, was used in Siddha medicine for centuries. The Tamil Siddhars knew about the toxic effects on plants and suggested various methods is called "suththi seythal" or purification. This is done by boiling the seeds in milk and then dried. The protein is denatured when subjected to high temperatures which eliminates the toxicity.

Abrus precatorius seeds are highly valued in native jewelry for their bright coloration. Most beans are black and red, which suggests a ladybug, but other colors are available. Jewelery with jequirity seeds is dangerous, and there have been cases of death by a fingertip while boring the seeds for beads.
However, it has long been a symbol of love in China, and his name is in Chinese Dou xiang SI, or "mutual love of beans." In Trinidad in the Caribbean seeds colorful bracelets are strung and worn around the wrist or ankle to ward off evil spirits or Jumbie and "evil-eye" - the evil eye. Tamils ​​Abrus seeds using different colors. The red variety with black eyes is the most common, but there are varieties of black, white and green as well.

The seeds of Abrus precatorius are very similar in weight. In ancient times Indians used to measure the use of these seeds and the measure was called as Ratti was used to measure general and Tola gold (11.6 grams) = 12 Macha, Macha 1 = 8 Ratti

A tea is made from the leaves and used to treat fevers, coughs and colds. In Siddha medicine the white variety is used to prepare the oil that is used as an aphrodisiac


  1. Hi, Do you know where can i buy this seeds? I want to plant it for the medical benefit/