Jequirity (Abrus precatorius)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
2,3,6-Tri-O-methyl-D-glucose, 2,3,6-tri-O-methyl-D-mannose, 3-O-[6'-methyl-beta-D-glucuronopyranosyl]-3beta,22beta-dihydroxyolean-12-en-29-oic acid methyl ester, 3-O-beta-D-glucuronopyranosylsophoradiol methyl ester, (20S,22S)-3beta,22-dihydroxycucurbita-5(10),24-diene-26,29-dioic acid delta-lactone, abrin, abrin-I, abrin-II, abrin-III, abrin A, abrin B, abrin C, abrine, abruoside A, abruoside B, abruoside C, abruoside D, abruquinone A, abruquinone B, abruquinone D, abruquinone E, abruquinone F, abruquinone G, Abrusabrus (L.) W.Wight, abrus agglutinin, Abrus cantoniensis, Abrus precatorius Linn., Abrus pulchellus, abrus seed, abrus-a, abrusgenic acid, abruslactone, abrusogenin, aivoeiro, AP-3, APA-1, APA-II, arraccu-mitim, Ayurvedic phytomedicine, bead vine, beta-cholanic acid, black-eyed Susan, blackeyed Susan, Buddhist rosary bead, cain ghe, Carolina muida, chapelet, colorine, coral bean, crab's eye, crabs eye, deadly crab's eye, degraded glucomannan, ellagic acid, essential amino acids, flavonol glycoside 7,3',5'-trimethoxy-4'-hydroxy flavone-3-O-beta-D-galactosyl-(l-->4)-alpha-L-xyloside, gallic acid, Glycine abrus L., graines reglisse (French), gunchi, gunja (Bengali, Hindi, Kannada), hint meyankoku, hung tou, hyaphorine, Indian bead, Indian licorice, Indian liquorice, isotoxic proteins, jequerit, jequirity bean, jequirity seed, jumble beads, juquiriti, lady bug bean, lady bug seed, lectins, legume, Leguminosae (family), liane reglisse (French), lipids, love bean, lucky bean, ma liao tou, methyl abrusgenate, ojo de pájaro, paratella, paternoster, peonia, peonia de St. Tomas, peronilla, phytoagglutinin, phytotoxin, pois rouge (French), prayer beads, prayer head, precatorine, precatory bean, rakat, ratti (Gujarati), reglisse, rosary beads, rosary pea, ruti, rutti, seminole bead, sophoradiol, tentos da America (Portuguese), temtos dos mundos (Portuguese), tento muido (Portuguese), to-azuki (Japnaese), tribal pulse, triterpenoid saponin-1, triterpenoid saponin-2, weather plant, weesboontje, wild licorice.
Note: The ingestion of Abrus precatorius seeds may be toxic. Side effects may include severe stomach symptoms and possibly even death.
In folk medicine, jequirity is taken by mouth to quicken labor, induce abortion, provide oral contraception, treat diabetes and kidney inflammation, and relieve pain in terminally ill patients. The whole plant has been used for eye inflammations.
Abrin, a constituent of jequirity (Abrus precatorius), is toxic, and ingestion of one bean by a child may be fatal. Boiling the seeds reportedly deactivates the toxins. Abrin is being investigated for the treatment of experimental cancers and is used as a "molecular probe" to investigate cell function.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Abdominal pain, abortifacient (induces abortion), abscesses, acne, allergies, animal bites, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, aphrodisiac, asthma, bleeding, blindness (night), blood thinner, boils, bronchitis, burns, cancer, colds, colic, contraceptive, cough, diabetes, diarrhea, diuretic, emetic (induces vomiting), epilepsy, expectorant (promotes coughing up of mucous), eye infections (pinkeye), fertility, fever, fractures (in animals), gastritis (inflamed stomach), gonorrhea (a sexually transmitted disease), headache, healthy hair (graying hair), high cholesterol, immune system regulation, insecticide, jaundice, laxative, leukemia, malaria, nephritis (kidney inflammation, chronic), pain relief, parasites (including single celled organisms, snails, slugs, and worms), rabies (prevention), rheumatism, sedative, seizures, skin care (skin softening), snakebite, sores, spermatorrhea (involuntary loss of semen without orgasm), tetanus, uterine tonic, vaginal discharge, vitiligo (loss of pigment in the skin), wounds.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (over 18 years old)
Jequirity has been traditionally taken by mouth as ground jequirity root paste, peeled or dried seeds, and ground seeds. Ground jequirity root has also been applied to the skin. However, there is no proven safe or effective dose for jequirity. Abrin, a constituent of jequirity seeds, is toxic, and its ingestion can cause death.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for jequirity in children. Abrin, a constituent of jequirity seeds, is toxic, and its ingestion can cause death.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to jequirity or related plants in the bean family.
Side Effects and Warnings
Jequirity may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders and in those taking any drugs, herbs, or supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Jequirity may increase blood pressure. Caution is advised in people with high blood pressure and in those taking any drugs, herbs, or supplements that may affect blood pressure.
Jequirity may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking any drugs, herbs, or supplements that may affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Use cautiously in people with sensitive skin, as jewelry made of the seeds may cause skin inflammation.
Avoid in people with known allergy or sensitivity to jequirity or related plants in the bean family.
Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women, in women trying to conceive, or in children.
Avoid use of jequirity seeds by mouth in all patients due to the toxic abrin content. Taking five milligrams of abrin by mouth is considered toxic to humans. Ingestion of jequirity seeds has many toxic side effects including circulatory collapse, coma, cramping, diarrhea (possibly bloody), edema (swelling due to excess fluid), elevated brain pressure, elevated liver enzymes, encephalitis (brain inflammation), intestinal lining erosion, lowered central nervous system activity, nausea, ruptured red blood cells, fast heart rate, vascular leak syndrome, vomiting, or possibly even death. Eye contact with the seeds' contents may cause eye infection. Jequirity may also cause dehydration, difficulty breathing, emphysema, kidney or liver damage, bleeding in the lungs, or reduced appetite.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Jequirity is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of safety information. All people should avoid taking the seeds by mouth, as the toxin abrin is present in potentially lethal amounts in the seeds.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Jequirity seeds may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Jequirity seeds may cause high blood pressure, and they may interact with agents that alter blood pressure, such as ACE inhibitors or beta-blockers.
Jequirity seeds may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. People taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Jequirity seeds may damage liver and kidney cells. Caution is advised when using medications that may affect the liver or kidneys.
Jequirity may also interact with agents that affect blood vessels, agents that affect the lungs, agents that affect the nervous system, agents that expel worms, agents that regulate the immune system, antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory agents, antimalarials, antiparasitics, anticancer agents, antivirals, fertility agents, gastrointestinal agents, and lipid-lowering agents.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Jequirity seeds may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
Jequirity seeds may cause high blood pressure, and they may interact with herbs that alter blood pressure.
Jequirity seeds may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Jequirity seeds may damage liver and kidney cells. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may affect the liver or kidneys.
Jequirity may also interact with antibacterials, antihistamines, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antimalarials, antiparasitics, anticancer herbs and supplements, antivirals, fertility herbs and supplements, gastrointestinal herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements that affect blood vessels, herbs and supplements that affect the lungs, herbs and supplements that affect the nervous system, herbs and supplements that expel worms, herbs and supplements that lower lipid levels, herbs and supplements that regulate the immune system, and senna.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Adelowotan, O, Aibinu, I, Adenipekun, E, et al. The in-vitro antimicrobial activity of Abrus precatorius (L) fabaceae extract on some clinical pathogens. Niger.Postgrad.Med J 2008;15(1):32-37. View Abstract
Bagavan, A, Rahuman, AA, Kaushik, NK, et al. In vitro antimalarial activity of medicinal plant extracts against Plasmodium falciparum. Parasitol.Res 2011;108(1):15-22. View Abstract
Bhutia, SK, Mallick, SK, Maiti, S, et al. Antitumor and proapoptotic effect of Abrus agglutinin derived peptide in Dalton's lymphoma tumor model. Chem Biol Interact. 7-10-2008;174(1):11-18. View Abstract
Bhutia, SK, Mallick, SK, Maiti, S, et al. Inhibitory effect of Abrus abrin-derived peptide fraction against Dalton's lymphoma ascites model. Phytomedicine. 2009;16(4):377-385. View Abstract
Bhutia, SK, Mallick, SK, Maiti, S, et al. Abrus abrin derived peptides induce apoptosis by targeting mitochondria in HeLa cells. Cell Biol Int 2009;33(7):720-727. View Abstract
Bhutia, SK, Mallick, SK, Stevens, SM, et al. Induction of mitochondria-dependent apoptosis by Abrus agglutinin derived peptides in human cervical cancer cell. Toxicol In Vitro 2008;22(2):344-351. View Abstract
Cheng, J, Lu, TH, Liu, CL, et al. A biophysical elucidation for less toxicity of agglutinin than abrin-a from the seeds of Abrus precatorius in consequence of crystal structure. J Biomed.Sci 2010;17:34. View Abstract
Garber, EA, Walker, JL, and O'Brien, TW. Detection of abrin in food using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and electrochemiluminescence technologies. J Food Prot. 2008;71(9):1868-1874. View Abstract
Ghosh, D, Bhutia, SK, Mallick, SK, et al. Stimulation of murine B and T lymphocytes by native and heat-denatured Abrus agglutinin. Immunobiology 2009;214(3):227-234. View Abstract
Johnson, RC, Zhou, Y, Jain, R, et al. Quantification of L-abrine in human and rat urine: a biomarker for the toxin abrin. J Anal Toxicol 2009;33(2):77-84. View Abstract
Okoko, II, Osinubi, AA, Olabiyi, OO, et al. Antiovulatory and anti-implantation potential of the methanolic extract of seeds of Abrus precatorius in the rat. Endocr.Pract 2010;16(4):554-560. View Abstract
Ramnath, V, Rekha, PS, Kuttan, G, et al. Regulation of Caspase-3 and Bcl-2 Expression in Dalton's Lymphoma Ascites Cells by Abrin. Evid Based Complement Alternat.Med 2009;6(2):233-238. View Abstract
Reedman, L, Shih, RD, and Hung, O. Survival after an intentional ingestion of crushed abrus seeds. West J Emerg.Med 2008;9(3):157-159. View Abstract
Sahoo, R, Hamide, A, Amalnath, SD, et al. Acute demyelinating encephalitis due to Abrus precatorius poisoning--complete recovery after steroid therapy. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2008;46(10):1071-1073. View Abstract
Subrahmanyan, D, Mathew, J, and Raj, M. An unusual manifestation of Abrus precatorius poisoning: a report of two cases. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2008;46(2):173-175. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017