u Ä‘en (black beans) are commonly grown in Vietnam to cook rice dishes, soups (especially chè sweet soup), and grinded into flour to make cakes. But black beans are also used for their medicinal purposes.
There are two kinds of black bean: Đậu Ä‘en trắng lòng and Ä‘ậu Ä‘en xanh lòng. The most popular is Ä‘ậu Ä‘en trắng lòng, which is black on the outside and white on the inside. Đậu Ä‘en xanh lòng has a black skin with blue flesh.
We'll only be discussing Ä‘ậu Ä‘en xanh lòng in this article because it has more medicinal uses.
This black bean, which is more aromatic and glutinous than it's blue cousin, is also rich in nutrition. According to herbalist Hoai Vu, 100g of black beans contains 24.4g of protein as well as a host of other vital nutrients and vitamins.
Black beans are good for anti-oxidization, which means they can help fight aging, and increase the body's resistance and immune system. Black bean's albumin and unsaturated fatty acid also help decrease blood fat levels. The beans are slightly sweet and cool, and they help fortify the kidney and blood.
They are also good diuretics and antidotal to poisons in the body.
Black beans can be used in many helpful remedies:
- For a cold, there's a perfect drink you can prepare with black beans. To prepare the decoction, place 300g of dry black beans in a pan under medium flame until it begins to smoke, and then take the pan off the stove.
Place the beans in 500-ml jar of white rice alcohol and let it stand for one day and night. The patient with the cold should drink one small glass and then wrap themselves in a blanket to sweat for a little while.
- To beat food allergies, rashes and pimples, put 200g of dry black beans in a pan under a small flame until the black beans' flesh begins to protrude a little. Then cook 100g of the dried black beans with two bowls of water. Drink the water and eat the beans until the allergy, rash or pimples disappear.
- To treat weak kidneys, backaches, dull aches in the bone, alopecia, premature ejaculation, spermatorrhoea, insomnia and forgetfulness, simmer 100g of black beans and a couple of chicken legs with two bowls of water in a pot until the beans are soft enough to eat. Season the soup with salt and sugar, and enjoy. You should eat the dish three times a week.
- To tonify blood in women after giving birth, simmer 600g of black beans and one 500-gram gà ác (black chicken) with three bowls of water in a pot until the beans are soft enough to eat. Season the dish with salt and sugar. You can drink the concoction and eat the black chicken during the day.
- For children with a bad cough, you need 150g of cá chình (eel) and 50g of black beans. Cut the cleaned eel into two pieces. Put them and the beans in a pot, and cover with water. Then simmer the mixture until the beans are soft enough to eat. Season with salt. Enjoy the dish twice a day.
- To eradicate oedema, swollen leg and indigestion, there are two ways to use black beans. One is to cook 50g of black beans and 30g cam thảo (liquorices) with two small bowls of water for 30 minutes. Drink the concoction once a day. Or, simmer 60g of black beans and 60g of red beans with two big bowls of water until the beans are soft enough to eat. You should ingest these remedies (water and beans) for three weeks.
- To detoxify the body of alcohol and treat hangovers, cook 100g of black beans with two bowls of water and drink all the water.
- You can also eat 100g of black beans every day to lower triglyceride and cholesterol in blood.
By Herbalists Hoai Vu and Hoang Duy Tan (*)
* Hoang Duy Tan is vice chairman of the Bien Hoa Town Traditional Medicine Association