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Kulthi - Horse Gram - Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits and Uses

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Horse Gram/Kulthi

Horse gram / Kulthi

Latin name : Macrotyloma uniflorum

General Information

Kollu, kulthi, kulath, muthera, gahat, hurali and Madras gram are some other names by which horse gram is known.

Horse gram, indigenous to India and Africa, is a bean/lentil which has been a staple food for cattle and horses and has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of health issues from weight loss to kidney stones to heart disease and more. It is also called an Ayurvedic dal.

Ayurveda considers kulthi food with medicinal qualities. It is the most protein-rich pulse and for this reason, is fed to racehorses. Also, it provides a lot of warmth to the body being a high energy food. The excessive heat of horse gram can be balanced by eating mung beans if one eats it on a regular basis and especially in summer.

Though this legume has been used to feed horses & cattle, it has also been consumed as a food in India, since ages, the consumption being highest in South India followed by North India, Central and Eastern India.

The low popularity & consumer preference is probably due to the less acceptable taste & flavour of this lentil & its products.

Different types of dishes are prepared from kulthi, popular among them being its dal, rasam, sprouts, soup & water.

Sprouted kulthi seeds are excellent to reduce the risk of various diseases and these have more health-promoting effects.

Horse gram Chutney

Horse gram chutney in the foreground

Horse gram chutney in the foreground

Horse gram

The poor man's food - Miracle pulse - Superfood

The Horse gram Plant

An extremely hardy and drought-resistant, climbing & twining herb which grows well in mildly warm & dry climates. It can grow in the poorest of soils to rocky and can also bear soil salinity pretty well. However, it cannot bear water logging & frost and does not grow on high altitudes.

The pods bear seeds which mature as brown, light red or grey coloured seeds with some even mottled with a mix of these colours. A black variety of horse gram is also available.


  • a poor man's pulse because of its less than acceptable taste & flavour which is not preferred by most people, least of all by the rich
  • a miracle pulse as it can grow in poor quality soils unsuitable for other crops
  • a superfood since it is rich in iron, calcium, and protein, in fact, it is one of the richest vegetarian sources of protein and has the most calcium content among pulses. It is low in fat and high in carbohydrates. It is low in lipid and sodium and its slow digestible starch is a boon for the diabetic and obese people. It is especially rich in polyphenols and flavonoids

Horse gram Soup

Horse gram increases heat in the body as it has a body-warming property and therefore it is eaten cooked in the winter season only either as a dal or as a soup. Sprouting makes it easily digestible but because it is a tough pulse it takes a lot of chewing.

To obtain the health benefits of horse gram you can have horse gram soup. Check out the horse gram soup recipe video below. Horse gram soup also reduces body fat and helps in weight loss. If making the soup recipe as in the video here use 2 tsp butter only and skip adding the cream which has been used to garnish the soup.

Horse gram Soup Recipe

Nutrient Values of Kulthi

Source : Global journal of
Pharmacy & pharmaceutical Science

The nutritional value of the seeds of M. uniflorum (100g of dry seeds)

Macro Nutrients

Protein 24.24%

Carbohydrates 37.15 %

Fat 1.10 %

Unsaturated fat 72.49%

Saturated fat 27.51%

Starch 31.86 %

Sugar 5.81 %

Crude fiber 5.63 %

Ash 3.34%

Moisture 8.9%

Micro Nutrients

Calcium 0.34 %

Phosphorus 0.27%

Magnesium 0.17%

Manganese 37.00%

Zinc 0.28%

Copper 19.00 %

Ascorbic acid 0.7%

Vitamin A 2.1%

Vitamin C 1.4%

Iron 72.00%

Niacin (Vitamin B3) 1.5%

Ribloflevin (Vitamin B2) 0.09%

Thiamin (Vitamin B1) 0.42%

Black Horse gram

Horse Gram v/s Some Nutritionally Rich Foods

Horse gram provides :

3 times the calories in chicken

2 times the protein in egg

10 times the calcium of milk

as much potassium as soyabeans

Health Properties of Horse gram

Among the various health providing properties of kulthi are the following:

antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antihyperglycemic, astringent, diuretic, antilithiatic, antihepatotoxic and hypolipidemic

Horse gram and Non Conventional Medicine

Traditional folk/Ayurvedic, Unani & Siddha medicine systems have used various parts of horse gram for relief in various ailments among which are the following:

fever, common cold, throat infection, flatulence, piles, worms, asthma, weight/fat reduction, conjunctivitis, rheumatism, bronchitis, leucoderma, urinary discharge, kidney stones, heart disease, sexual problems of men, diabetes & menstrual troubles.

The majority of its antioxidant property is in its seed coat. Hence, consumption of whole grain is better than sprouts or the skinned pulse.

Some Health Benefits of Horse gram

The following are some health conditions in which use of horse gram is very beneficial.

Weight Loss

Horse gram reduces fat as the phenols contained in it burn fat naturally. Besides, being low in calories and high in carbohydrates it a high satiety food which helps to keep one full longer, preventing one from frequent eating and overeating.

Weight loss drink recipe

To 2-3 tbsp of horse gram add 700 to 750 ml of water. Boil till water reduces to half. Strain out the water, add a pinch of asafoetida and salt. Mix well and drink on empty stomach every morning.

Horse Gram for Weight Loss

In Diabetes

Unprocessed, raw, horse gram seeds (unsprouted) have antihyperglycemic properties which help reduce postprandial blood sugar spikes as its starch is digested slowly. It also reduces insulin resistance as it inhibits the protein tyrosine phosphatase 1 beta enzyme.

For Kidney Stones

Horse gram not only breaks down kidney stones but also inhibits the formation of calcium oxalate stones as found in a study published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India in 2010.

This study found that kulthi/horse gram was more effective in lessening the recurrence of calcium oxalate stones than potassium citrate which is usually used.

Those with kidney stones should drink horse gram water 3 times a day daily. To make this water soak 4 tsp horse gram in 1.5 cups water overnight. Next morning on empty stomach strain out the water & drink it. Add 1.5 cups water to the seeds again & consume this water in the afternoon. This has to be likewise repeated at night. For the next day soak fresh horse gram seeds.

Take this horse gram water over the next few months and also reduce your calcium & phosphorus intake.

Horse Gram for Kidney Stones

For Skin Disorders

A face pack of horse gram seeds applied every day will provide relief from skin issues like boils, pimples, rashes etc because of its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

Soak a couple of tsp of horse gram overnight in water & grind them the next morning using some of this water. Apply this on the face and leave for 20 minutes. This clears skin issues.

In Leucorrhea

Soak a handful of horse gram in water overnight & boil them the next morning. Drink this water 3 times a day to get relief from leucorrhea.

For Menstrual Troubles

Ayurveda recommends a tsp of horse gram powder to be consumed every day in such cases.

Horse gram water, soup or sprouts too can be consumed every day to get this benefit.

Ayurvedic Uses of Horse Gram

In Ayurveda, it is called Kulattha. Being easy to digest it can be digested by almost everyone.

  1. A paste of its seeds relieves localized swelling as it increases sweating thereby expelling the toxins
  2. Inhalation of smoke from powdered and burnt seeds relieves hiccough
  3. 10-12 grams of powdered seeds consumed each day can be used to get relief in kidney stone problem
  4. A decoction of the seeds removes intestinal worms, relieves piles and constipation
  5. Regular use of horse gram is advised for menstrual disorders like delayed or irregular menses
  6. A cold infusion of the seeds is used to treat kidney stones, pain in bladder and difficulty in urination

Some Ayurvedic Formulations Containing Horse gram

  • Dhanvantram Ghritam - used in abscess, anaemia and haemorrhoids
  • Kolakulathadi Churnam - used in lumbago & inflammation of joints
  • Sukhprasava Ghritam - used for easy delivery
  • Sarvamayantaka Ghritam - used to treat gout, Parkinson's, neck stiffness


  • http://archive.unu.edu/unupress/food/8F161e/8F161E0c.htm
  • http://www.jocpr.com/articles/nutrients-and-functional-properties-of-horse-gram-macrotyloma-uniflorum-an-underutilized-south-indian-food-legume.pdf
  • http://dpd.gov.in/Horse%20gram.pdf
  • http://www.ijpbs.net/cms/php/upload/2721_pdf.pdf
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3899515
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4397296/


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or embarking on a new health regime.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2017 Rajan Singh Jolly


Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 08, 2019:

It is incredible no doubt, Treathyl. If only we revert to the food the earlier generation ate we would be far less sick. Thank you for stopping by.

Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on June 26, 2019:

It's incredible that the food so often referred to as “poor man's food” is usually always so very healthy for everyone – rich or poor.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 01, 2018:

This is a lesser known lentil Dora but nonetheless healthier than some others. Appreciate your stopping by.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 01, 2018:

Glad to know Devika that you believe in using natural remedies and I see more & more people turning to them. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 30, 2017:

Natural remedies work well for me. You enlightened me on interesting facts of Horse Gram

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 27, 2017:

Not sure that I've come across the horse gram lentil, but I bet the soup is good. Thanks as always for your information on the nutrients and various medical uses.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 25, 2017:

You're right torrilynn. Natural remedies are much safer being free of side effects most of the time. Thank you for stopping by.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 25, 2017:

Thank you manatita.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 25, 2017:

Thanks for your kind words Bill.

torrilynn on December 21, 2017:

I’ve always found that natural remedies or natural resources in general always tend to work best ! Very informational.

manatita44 from london on December 20, 2017:

So many properties of the horse gram! I think I've seen it here in Turkish/Indian shops. Very nutritious stuff. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 20, 2017:

it's a big world out there....learning things like this makes the world seem a little smaller. Thank you!

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