Rosary pea, the poisonous yet medicinal plant.

Botanical Name: Abrus precatorius.

Common Names: Jequirity bean, Crabs eye, Love bean, Lucky bean, Prayer beads, Indian licorice, Gunga, Rosary pea, and Wild licorice.

African names:

  • Hausa – Da marzaya
  • Igbo – Anya nnunu
  • Yoruba – Iwere_jeje / ojuologbo
  • Tiwi – Dammabo
  • Mozambique – Cessane, mpanamene, mini_mini
  • Swahili – Mtipitipi
  • South Africa – minie-minies
  • Ewe – Dedekuade / adekude.


Jequirity is a climbing plant that has beautiful red seeds with black spots on them. The roots, leaves, and seeds have been used as medicine. But there is no evidence that it works to treat any condition.
Rosary pea is known for containing a toxic substance ‘abrin.’ The common symptoms of its toxicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and trouble breathing. In some cases, it can also cause anuria (inability to urinate) and heart disease. The unwise use of any part of the Rosary plant can lead to those side effects. Therefore, Rosary peas are not used in the raw form in traditional medicine. It is processed to detoxify and to eliminate its toxic effects.
The purified (detoxified) Rosary Peas exert stimulatory and strengthening actions on nerves. Due to this action, it is used to treat paralysis. However, it acts as a sedative when used in the high dosage.

Rosary pea plant
Rosary pea plant

The rosary peas also have aphrodisiac action. Detoxified rosary seeds are dried and then ground to make a coarse powder. The coarse powder is then used to boil in milk. This milk is filtered and advised to drink for improving erection, stamina, and performance. Leaves and roots of the rosary plant are beneficial in the treatment of a cough, bronchitis, and sore throat.

Rosary pea
Rosary pea

Traditional Health Benefits of Rosary pea.

Acne Vulgaris

The sesame oil mixed in detoxified rosary pea is applied on the acne at night before sleep, and the application should be left overnight. This application helps to treat acne in a few days. *Before applying the rosary pea Oil on the face, it should be tested on the arm for any allergic reaction.

Alopecia Areata (Baldness or Hair Loss)

The powder of detoxified seeds and roots of the rosary plant is mixed with water to make a paste. This paste is applied to the spots of the scalp affected by the baldness. It stimulates the hair re-growth. You can also Apply the seed paste on the scalp along with honey.

Skin Diseases

The sesame oil processed in detoxified rosary pea oil is applied to affected parts of the skin with eczema and psoriasis. It is also used on the scalp to reduce dandruff.


The dried seeds are used orally as an aphrodisiac.


The root and dried leaves are used orally as a tonic for nerves.

Rosary pea or jequirity bean
Rosary pea or jequirity bean


The extract made from hot water and seeds is used orally to treat malaria.

Central Africa:

  • The chewing of the root is an aid for snake bites.
  • Central African tribes use seeds orally to treat the intestinal worms.

East Africa:

  • The decoction made from aerial parts helps to treat gonorrhea.
  • The juice of fresh leaves is an aid for stomach problems, bilharziasis and used as an antiemetic (a drug that prevents or alleviates nausea and vomiting)
  • The powdered form of leaves is used in swellings and cuts.
  • The leaf decoction is used for chest pains.
  • The steam of boiling leaves helps to cure inflamed eyes.
  • The extract of dried seeds is used for eye infections.


The men use the leaf pulp as an aphrodisiac, and the women use it to ease childbirth.


Orally the leaf decoction helps to treat flu and coughs.


  • The water extract made from dried roots and leaves is used for eye ailments.
  • The decoction made from dried seeds helps to promote abortion.
  • In Ayurveda, the plant is used to promote hair growth.


The decoction of the dried leaves and root in milk is used to make a tonic.


The leaf juice is used as an aid for coughs.


The hot water extract made from the roots is used as an aphrodisiac.


The extract of the fresh root is considered as antimalarial and anticonvulsant.


The decoction made from roots or leaf sap helps to treat asthma and is also used as an aphrodisiac.


  • A decoction of the leaves, root, and lemon is used for rheumatism, arthritis, and joint pains.
  • For low sperm count and impotence, the root, leaves, and soybeans are dried and blended to powder form. Three tablespoons are mixed with hot water and drank every morning.
  • For snake bite, the fresh leaves are ground/crushed with palm and placed on the wound.

How to Detoxify or Purify Rosary peas:

The Raw seeds are not suitable for medicinal uses, as discussed above.

Method 1:

The coarse powder of Rosary Peas (seeds) is taken in a cotton pouch and boiled in the cow’s milk for 3 to 6 hours.

Method 2:

The seeds are boiled in Brown Rice Water for 3 to 6 hours.

*Milk or Rice water used for detoxification should be discarded. Boiling rosary peas in cow’s milk or rice water reduces the toxic effects and make it usable for the medicinal purposes.

    Abrus precatorius ( rosary pea or jequirity bean)Abrus precatorius ( rosary pea or jequirity bean)

The antidote for Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius) Poisoning.

Amaranth leaf juice, along with sugar, is the best antidote for Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius) Poisoning. It immediately reduces the toxic effects of Rosary Pea. For the treatment of rosary pea toxicity, 10 ml Amaranth leaf juice, along with 5 grams of sugar, should be used 2 to 3 times a day for seven days.

In addition to Amaranth, pomegranate juice and grape juice are beneficial for reducing toxicity and restoring health.

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