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CALABAR BEAN

Other Names:

Chop Nut, Esere Nut, Faba Calabarica, Fève de Calabar, Haba de Calabar, Haricot de l’Ordalie, Legume, Ordeal Bean, Physostigma, Physostigma venenosum.

CALABAR BEAN Overview
CALABAR BEAN Uses
CALABAR BEAN Side Effects
CALABAR BEAN Interactions
CALABAR BEAN Dosing
CALABAR BEAN Overview Information

Calabar bean is a plant. The seed is extremely poisonous and is also used to make medicine.

Historically, African tribes used calabar bean, the “ordeal bean,” to identify witches and people possessed by evil spirits. They believed that people who were able to eat the bean and live were innocent. Subjects of the “ordeal” could increase their chance of survival by not chewing the bean but, instead, swallowing it whole. Chewing releases the poisons in the bean. Ritual uses continue in Africa despite being outlawed.

As medicine, Calabar bean is used for eye problems, constipation, epilepsy, cholera, and tetanus.

Calabar bean is a source of the prescription drug physostigmine (Isopto Eserine, Antilirium).

How does it work?

Calabar bean contains a chemical that affects signals between muscles and nerves. This chemical affects many parts of the body.

CALABAR BEAN Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Eye problems.
  • Constipation.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Cholera.
  • Tetanus.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of calabar bean for these uses.


CALABAR BEAN Side Effects & Safety

Calabar bean is UNSAFE. It is extremely toxic.

Calabar bean can cause excessive saliva and sweating, reduced eye pupil size, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, blood pressure changes, confusion, seizures, coma, severe muscle weakness, paralysis, severe breathing problems, and death.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

While calabar bean isn’t safe for anyone, some people are at even greater risk for serious side effects. Be especially careful to avoid calabar bean if:

You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
You have Parkinson’s disease.
You have heart disease or slow heartbeat.
You have asthma.
You have diabetes.
You have poor blood circulation leading to tissue death (gangrene).
You have blockage of the intestinal tract.

CALABAR BEAN Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Drying medications (Anticholinergic drugs) interacts with CALABAR BEAN

    Calabar bean contains chemicals that can affect the brain and heart. Some of these drying medications called anticholinergic drugs can also affect the brain and heart. But calabar bean works differently than drying medications. Calabar bean might decrease the effects of drying medications.
    Some of these drying medications include atropine, scopolamine, and some medications used for allergies (antihistamines), and for depression (antidepressants).


CALABAR BEAN Dosing

The appropriate dose of calabar bean depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for calabar bean. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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