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Family Fabaceae
Cajanus cajan
(Linn.) Millsp.

Mu dou

Scientific names  Common names
Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp. Gablos (Tag.) 
Cystisus cajan Linn Kadios (Mang., Tag., P. Bis.) 
Cystisus pseudo-cajan Jacq. Kagyos (Tag.) 
Cajan inodorum Medic. Kagyas (Tag.) 
Cajanus bicolor DC. Kaldis (Ig., Ilk.) 
Cajanus indicus Spreng. Kalios (Tag.) 
Cajanus cajan (L.) Huth Kardis (Ibn., Ilk., Ig.) 
  Kidis (Ilk., Bon.) 
  Kusia (Ig., If.) 
  Tabios (Bik., C. Bis.)
  Guandu (Brazil)
  Pigeon pea (Engl.) 
  Mu dou (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Bisillah hindîyah, Lûbyâ sûdânî.
CHINESE: San ye dou, Niu dou, Dou rong.
DANISH : Ærtebønne, Ærteboenne.
DUTCH : Struikerwt, Katjang goedé,
ESTONIAN : Harilik tuvihernes.
FINNISH : Kyyhkynherne.
FRENCH : Ambrevade, Pois d'Angola (West Africa), Pois du Congo, Pois cajan (Belgium Congo).
GERMAN: Straucherbse, Strauchbohne, Taubenerbse.
HINDI: Arhar, Toor, Tuur, Tur, Tuvar, Tuver.
ITALIAN : Pisello d'Angola, Pisello del tropico, Caiano.
JAPANESE: Pijonpii.
KHMER : Sândaèk dai, Sândaèk kroëb sâ, Sândaèk klöng.
LAOTIAN : Thwàx h'ê.

MALAY : Kacang kacang dal, Kacang hiris, Kacang kayu, Kacang gude.

PORTUGUESE : Feijão-guandu, Guandu.

SPANISH : Cachito, Fríjol de árbol, Frijol de la India, Frijol guandul, Frijol quinchancho, Gandul.

SWEDISH : Duwärt.

THAI: Thua rae, Thua maetaai, Ma hae.
VIETNAMESE: Cay dau chieu, Dau thong.

Kadios is an erect, branched, hairy shrub, 1 to 2 meters high. Leaves are oblong-lanceolate to oblanceolate with three leaflets. Flowers are yellow, occurring in sparse peduncled racemes, about 1.5 centimeters long. Pod is hairy, 4 to 7 centimeters long, about 1 centimeter wide, containing 2 to 7 seeds.

- In settled areas throughout the Philippines, cultivated, semicultivated, and in some places, spontaneous, occurring from sea level to 2,400 meters.
- Probably prehistoric introduction
from tropical Asia of Malaya.
- Now pantropic.

Seeds are rich in carbohydrates (58%) and proteins (19%).
Studies yielded 2'-2'methylcajanone, 2'-hydroxygenistein, isoflavones, cajanin, cahanones, among many others.

Roots are considered antihelminthic, expectorant, febrifuge, sedative, vulnerary.

Parts used
Leaves, roots.

Edibility / Nutrition
- Used mainly for its edible young pods and seeds.
- Vegetable food crop ( seeds and pods) in South-East Asia.
- Fair source of calcium and iron; good source of vitamin B.
- Decoction or infusion of leaves for coughs, diarrhea, abdominal pains.
- Tender leaves are chewed for aphthous stomatitis and spongy gums.
- Pulped or poulticed leaves used for sores.
- In Peru, leaves are used as an infusion for anemia, hepatitis, diabetes, urinary infections and yellow fever.
- In Argentina, leaves used for genital and skin problems; flowers used for bronchitis, cough and pneumonia.
- In China, as vermifuge, vulnerary; for tumors.
- In Panama, used for treatment of diabetes (See study below).
- In Indian folk medicine, used for a variety of liver disorders.
As forage or hay.
Branches and stems for basket and fuel.

RBC Sickling Inhibition / Sickle Cell Anemia : Clinical studies have reported seed extracts to inhibit red blood cell sickling and potential benefit for people with sickle cell anemia.
Sickle Cell Anemia: n a single blind placebo controlled study, results showed CC extract may cause a reduction of painful sickle cell crises and ameliorate the adverse effects of sickle cell anemia on the liver.
Sickle Cell Anemia / Phenylalanine: Paper reports that both extract of C. cajan and the amino acid phenylalanine of which it is rich, are good biochemical reducing agents and oxidative free radical scavengers, and can be employed in the treatment not only of sickle cell disease, but other conditions involving oxidative stress. (13)
Antiplasmodial constituents of Cajanus cajan:
Study isolated two stilbenes, longistylin A and C and betulinic acid from the roots and leaves of CC and showed moderately high in vitro activity against Plasmodium falcifarum strain. (2)
Stilbenes / Neuroprotective / Alzheimer's Disease:
Study of stilbenes containing extract-fraction from C cajan showed significant amelioration of cognitive deficits and neuron apoptosis. Findings suggest SECC has a potential in the development of therapeutic agent to manage cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer's disease through increase choline acetyltransferase activity and anti-oxidative mechanism. (9)
Hypocholesterolemic Effect:
Study on the stilbenes containing extract-fraction of CC showed a hypocholesterolemic effect possibly through enhancement of hepatic LDL-receptor and cholesterol 7-alpha-hydroxylase expression levels and bile acid synthesis. (3)
Hyperglycemic Effect: Evaluation of traditional medicine: effects of Cajanus cajan L. and of Cassia fistula L. on carbohydrate metabolism in mice: Contradicting its traditional use for diabetes, CC did not have a hypoglycemic effect on sugar, instead at higher doses, it produced a hyperglycemic effect. (4)
Antimicrobial: Study shows the organic solvent extracts to inhibit E coli, S aureus and S typhi and the aqueous extract were inhibitory to E coli and S aureus. (5)
Antimicrobial / Antifungal: Nigerian study on the antimicrobial effects of the ethanol and aqueous extracts of locally available plants, including C cajan, showed inhibition against S aureus, P aeruginosa, E coli and C albicans. The extracts of C cajan produced wider zones of inhibition against C albicans. (6)
Hyperglycemic Effect / Leaves: Study of the aqueous extract of C cajan leaves showed a hyperglycemic effect, suggesting a usefulness in controlling hypoglycemia that may be due to excess of insulin or other hypoglycemic drugs. (7)
Hepatoprotective / Alcohol-Induced Liver Damage: Study of the methanol-aqueous fraction of C cajan leaf extract showed it could prevent the chronically treated alcohol induced rat liver damage and presents a promise as a non-toxic herb for therapeutic use in alcohol-induced liver dysfunction. (8)
Hepatoprotective / Carbon-Tetrachloride Hepatotoxicity: Study in mice with carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage showed the methanol extracts of B orellana, C cajan, G pentaphylla and C equisetifolia showed significant decrease in levels of serum markers, indicating the protection of hepatic cells in a dose-dependent manner. (10)
Antioxidant / Hypolipidemic: Study of methanolic extract of CC in alloxan-induced hyperglycemic rats showed a significant reduction in blood glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, and creatinine concentrations. Antioxidant activity was confirmed with in vitro studies.
Anticancer / Cajanol / In vitro Cytotoxicity: Cajanol, an isoflavanone from the roots of C. cajan was investigated for anticancer activity towards MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Results showed inhibition of growth of MCF-7 cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner and induction of apoptosis via a ROS-mediated mitochondria-dependent pathway. (16)

Cultivated, semicultivated, or wildcrafted. 

Last Update July 2013

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:Cajanus cajan Blanco1.167-cropped.jpg / Flora de Filipinas / Francisco Manuel Blanco (O.S.A.) / 1880-1883? / Wikimedia Commons

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
GUANDU / Cajanus cajan / RainTree
Antiplasmodial constituents of Cajanus cajan / George Duker-Eshun et al / Phytotherapy Research
Volume 18 Issue 2, Pages 128 - 130 / DOI 10.1002/ptr.1375
Hypocholesterolemic effect of stilbenes containing extract-fraction from Cajanus cajan L. on diet-induced hypercholesterolemia in mice / Q. Luo, L. Sun, J. Si, D. Chen / Phytomedicine, Volume 15, Issue 11, Pages 932-939 /
Evaluation of traditional medicine: effects of Cajanus cajan L. and of Cassia fistula L. on carbohydrate metabolism in mice / Exposito Avella M et al / Rev Med Panama. 1991 Jan;16(1):39-45.

Antimicrobial effect of leaf extracts of pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L.) millsp.) on some human pathogens / Okigbo R N and Omodamiro O D / Journal of herbs, spices & medicinal plants, 2006, vol. 12, no1-2, pp. 117-127
Antimicrobial Activities of Cajanus cajan, Garcinia kola and Xylopia aethiopica on Pathogenic Microorganisms / G. O. Ezeifeka et al / Biotechnology, 3 (1):41-43,2004/
Study of glycemic profile of Cajanus cajan leaves in experimental rats / Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry / Volume 23, Number 2 / April, 2008 / DOI 10.1007/s12291-008-0037-z
Cajanus cajan Linn. (Leguminosae) prevents alcohol-induced rat liver damage and augments cytoprotective function / Kundu R, Dasgupta S, Biswas A, Bhattacharya A, Pal BC, Bandyopadhyay D, Bhattacharya S, Bhattacharya S. / J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Aug 13;118(3):440-7. Epub 2008 May 15 /

Protective effect of stilbenes containing extract-fraction from Cajanus cajan L. on Aβ25–35-induced cognitive deficits in mice / Can-Jun Ruan et al / Neuroscience Letters, Vol 467, Issue 2, 25 December 2009, Pages 159-163
Hepatoprotective Activity of Methanol Extract of Some Medicinal Plants Against Carbon Tetrachloride-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats / Md. Rajib Ahsan et al / European Journal of Scientific Research, Vol.37 No.2 (2009), pp.302-310
Clinical Evaluation of Extract of Cajanus cajan (Ciklavit®) in Sickle Cell Anaemia / A O Akinsulie, E O Temiye, A S Akanmu et al / Journal of Tropical Pediatrics Volume51, Issue4Pp. 200-205
Evaluation of hypolipidemic and potential antioxideant effects of Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L>) Millsp. leaves in alloxan-induced hyperglycemic rats / Akinloye O A and Solanke O O / J. Med. Plant. Res.
Mechanism of the Antisickling Effects of Cajanus cajan and Phenylalanine / Chidi G. Osuagwu / Nigerian Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 25 (2): 68 - 71, 2010.
Cajanus cajan (L.) Huth (accepted name) / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Sorting Cajanus names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Cajanol, a novel anticancer agent from Pigeonpea [Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.] roots, induces apoptosis in human breast cancer cells through a ROS-mediated mitochondrial pathway. / Luo M, Liu X, Zu Y, Fu Y, Zhang S, Yao L, Efferth T. / Chem Biol Interact. 2010 Oct 6;188(1):151-60./ doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2010.07.009. Epub 2010 Jul 16.
Biological activities and medicinal properties of Cajanus cajan (L) Millsp. / Dilipkumar Pal, Pragya Mishra, Neetu Sachan, and Ashoke K. Ghosh / J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2011 Oct-Dec; 2(4): 207–214. / doi: 10.4103/2231-4040.90874

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