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.
Chick pea, chickling pea, chickling vetch, grass pea, grass-pea, green grass pea, khesari, kollo (Amharic), Lathyrus lectins, Lathyrus ochrus, Lathyrus odoratus, Lathyrus odoratus L., Lathyrus sativa, Lathyrus sativus, Lathyrus sativus L., Lathyrus sativus Linn., Lathyrus sativus flour extract, Lathyrus silvestris L., Lathyrus tingitanus lectin, legume, Fabaceae (family), lectin lath-O, nifiro (Amharic), shiro (Amharic), sweet pea, vetchling.
Lathyrus is a genus in the pea family and contains species such as Lathyrus savitus (grass pea) and Lathyrus odorata (sweet pea). Grass pea is used as a famine food, especially in India, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, because the plants are extremely hardy and the seeds are high in protein. However, chronic consumption of large quantities of the seeds can cause neurolathyrism, osteolathyrism, or angiolathyrism. Lathyrism is thought to be one of the oldest neurotoxic diseases and was well-described in India 2,000 years ago and again in France in 1829. It used to be prevalent throughout Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and some parts of Asia. Today, lathyrism is found primarily in India, Bangladesh, and Ethiopia, primarily during famine crises or droughts.
There is currently insufficient evidence available in humans to support the use of Lathyrus spp. for any medical indication.
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.
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 (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for lathyrus in adults.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for lathyrus in children.
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 individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to Lathyrus spp., their constituents, or members of the Fabaceae family. Lathyrus odoratus has caused occupational asthma. Exposure to Lathyrus sativus flour has caused rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma, including rhinorrhea, sneezing, itching, tears, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
Side Effects and Warnings
Lathyrus is likely safe when the seeds or leaves are eaten in moderate food amounts for short periods.
Lathyrus is likely unsafe when the seeds or leaves are chronically eaten in high amounts, especially in patients exhibiting beginning symptoms of neurolathyrism (neurological condition characterized by severe muscular rigidity and paralysis of the lower limbs) or osteolathyrism (a collagen crosslinking deficiency characterized by bone pain and skeletal deformities).
Use cautiously in patients with coagulation disorders as Lathyrus spp. may decrease coagulation time.
Use cautiously in patients with osteoporosis, those with abnormal calcium levels or those prone to kidney stones. Avoid high doses in growing patients, due to the possibility of skeletal deformations.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Lathyrus is not recommended in pregnancy or breastfeeding due to possible toxic effects.
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
Lathyrus 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, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Ingestion of Lathyrus sativus leaves or seeds may cause a disease called osteolathyrism, which includes bone pain and skeletal deformities, such as fusion failure in both vertebral and iliac epiphyses. In some humans taking lathyrus, urinary oxalate is very high. Caution is advised in patients taking osteoporosis agents.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Lathyrus 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.
Ingestion of Lathyrus sativus leaves or seeds may cause a disease called osteolathyrism, which includes bone pain and skeletal deformities, such as fusion failure in both vertebral and iliac epiphyses. In some humans taking lathyrus, urinary oxalate is very high. Caution is advised in patients taking osteoporosis herbs or supplements, including calcium.
Adequate zinc intake may reduce the risk of toxicity due to chronically high doses of Lathyrus sativus seeds.
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.
Anton Girones M, de la Hoz CB, Munoz MT, et al. Occupational rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma by exposure to Lathyrus sativus flour. Allergol Immunopathol (Madr.) 2005;33(6):326-328. View Abstract
Bell EA. Nonprotein amino acids of plants: significance in medicine, nutrition, and agriculture. J Agric Food Chem 5-7-2003;51(10):2854-2865. View Abstract
Carod-Artal FJ. [Neurological syndromes linked with the intake of plants and fungi containing a toxic component (I). Neurotoxic syndromes caused by the ingestion of plants, seeds and fruits]. Rev Neurol 5-1-2003;36(9):860-871. View Abstract
Conn HO, Rossle M, Levy L, et al. Portosystemic myelopathy: spastic paraparesis after portosystemic shunting. Scand J Gastroenterol 2006;41(5):619-625. View Abstract
Getahun H, Lambein F, Van der SP. ABO blood groups, grass pea preparation, and neurolathyrism in Ethiopia. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2002;96(6):700-703. View Abstract
Getahun H, Lambein F, Vanhoorne M, et al. Food-aid cereals to reduce neurolathyrism related to grass-pea preparations during famine. Lancet 11-29-2003;362(9398):1808-1810. View Abstract
Grela Eugeniusz R, Studzinski T, Winiarska A. Lathyrism in people and animals. Publication of the Polish Society of Veterinary Sciences 2000;56(9):558-562.
Lisiewska Z, Korus A, Kmiecik W. Changes in chemical composition during development of grass pea (Lathyrus sativus L.) seeds. Nahrung 2003;47(6):391-396. View Abstract
Melka A, Tekle-Haimanot R, Lambien F. Symptomatic treatment of neurolathyrism with tolperisone HCL (Mydocalm): a randomized double blind and placebo controlled drug trial. Ethiop Med J 1997;35(2):77-91. View Abstract
Porcel S, Leon F, Valero AM, et al. Occupational rhinitis and asthma by Lathyrus sativus flour: characterization of allergens. J Allergy Clin.Immunol 2001;107(4):743-744. View Abstract
Pratap Rudra MP, Singh MR, Junaid MA, et al. Metabolism of dietary ODAP in humans may be responsible for the low incidence of neurolathyrism. Clin Biochem 2004;37(4):318-322. View Abstract
Ravindranath V. Neurolathyrism: mitochondrial dysfunction in excitotoxicity mediated by L-beta-oxalyl aminoalanine. Neurochem Int 2002;40(6):505-509. View Abstract
Spencer PS. Food toxins, ampa receptors, and motor neuron diseases. Drug Metab Rev 1999;31(3):561-587. View Abstract
Warren BA, Patel SA, Nunn PB, et al. The Lathyrus excitotoxin beta-N-oxalyl-L-alpha,beta-diaminopropionic acid is a substrate of the L-cystine/L-glutamate exchanger system xc-. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 10-15-2004;200(2):83-92. View Abstract
Yan ZY, Spencer PS, Li ZX, et al. Lathyrus sativus (grass pea) and its neurotoxin ODAP. Phytochemistry 2006;67(2):107-121. 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