Family • Leguminosae - Dolichos lablab Linn. - HYACINTH BEAN - Pien-tou

Scientific names

Dolichos lablab Linn.
Dolichos purpureus L.
Glycine lucida Blanco
Lablab cultratus DC.
Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet
Lablab vulgaris Savi

Common names

Baglau (C. Bis.)
Batau (Bik., Bis.)
Bataw (Tag., Bik., P. Bis.)
Bulay (C.Bis.)
Itab (If., Bon,)
Parda (ilk.)
Parda-atap (ilk.)
Sibachi, sibatsi(Tag.)
Banner bean (Engl.)
Hyacinth bean (Engl.)
Lablab bean (Engl.)
Poor man’s bean (Engl.)
Pien-tou (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

AMBARIC: Amora-Guaya.
ARABIC: Lablâb, Lablab, Lubiah.
ASSAMESE: Urahi, Urchi, Uri, Urshi.
BENGALI: Rajashimbi.
CHINESE: Bian dou, Huo lian bian dou, Peng pi dou, Teng dou, Yan li dou, Que dou
DANISH: Hjelmbønne, Hjelmboenne.
DUTCH: Komak.
FINNISH: Hyasinttipapu.
FRENCH: Dolique D´egypte, Pois Nourrice.
GERMAN: ågyptische Fasel, Faselbohne, Gemeine Lablab, Helmbohne.
ITALIAN: Dolico Egiziano, Fagiolo D´egitto, Fagiolo Del Cairo, Fagiolo Egiziano.
JAPANESE: Fiji Mame, Fuji Mame, Ingen.
MALAY: Kacang Kara, Kara Kara, Kekara, Kerara (Java), Komak (Indonesia).
NEPALESE: Raaj Simii, Simii.
PORTUGUESE: Dólico Do Egipto, Feijão Cutelinho.
RUSSIAN: Lobija.
SINHALESE: Ho-Dhambala, Hodhambala, Kiri-Dambala, Kos-Ata-Dambala, Ratu-Peti-Dambala.
SPANISH: Carmelita, Frijol Caballero.
TAMIL: Avarai, Minni, Motchai, Motchai (Mochai), Tatta-Payaru.
TELUGU: Adavichikkudu, Tellachikkudu.
THAI: Thua Nang, Thua Paep.
TURKISH: Lablab.


Bataw is a smooth, twining, climbing or trailing vine, 4 to 6 meters long, often with smooth, usually purplish stems. Leaves are long stalked, 3-foliate with inequilateral leaflets. Leaflets are entire, ovate, and 7 to 15 centimeters long. Flowers are few to many, white to pink-purple in color, about 2 centimeters long, on erect, long peduncled racemes 15 to 25 centimeters long. Pods are oblong, flattened, purple-margined, flat, and elongated with a prominent beak, about 7 to 12 centimeters long and 2 centimeters wide, containing 3 to 5 seeds.



– Commonly cultivated throughout the settled areas in the Philippines.
– In some regions, naturalized.
– Now pantropic in cultivation.

– Young pods are fairly good source of calcium and iron.
– Seeds yield protein, 23%; fat, 1.8%: ash, 3.5%; hydrocyanic acid, emulsin, allantoinase, and vitamin C1.
– Flowers yielded 6 flavonoids: luteolin, cosmosiin, leteolin-4^-0-beta-D-glucopyranoside, luteolin-7-0-beta-D-glucopyranoside. rhoifolin, D-mannitol.
– Yields protein, sucrose, maltodextrin, stachyose, glucose, raffinose, L-pipecolic acid, phytoagglutinin, phytin, calcium, phosphors, iron, pantothenic acid.
– Pod exudate showed it to consist of homologous fatty acids and their methyl esters—42 in all—from C-11 through C-24, including odd carbon chain compounds. The major constituents of the oil were trans-2-dodecenoic and trans-2-tetradecenoic acids.
– Seed (fresh weight) yield: 334 calories per 100g; water, 12.1%; Protein 21.5g; fat 1.2g; carbohydrate 61.4g; fiber 6.8g; ash 3.8g; minerals: calcium 98mg; phosphorus 345 mg; iron 3.9 mg.

– Considered tonic, febrifuge, stomachic, antispasmodic.
– Boiled ripe seeds considered carminative.
– Seeds considered aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, antispasmodic, astringent, febrifuge and stomachic.
– Flowers considered emmenagogue.

Propagation by seeds. Cultivated for market produce. Pods are harvested about 4 months after planting.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Hypocholesterolemic effect of diet supplemented with Indian bean (Dolichos lablab L. var lignosus) seeds/ Vadde Ramakrishna et al /Journal: Nutrition & Food Science / 2007 Volume: 37 Issue: 6 Page: 452 – 456 / ISSN: 0034-6659 / DOI: 10.1108/00346650710838117

(2) Peptides derived from dolicholin, a phaseolin-like protein in country beans (Dolichos lablab), potently stimulate cholecystokinin secretion from enteroendocrine STC-1 cells / Journal of agricultural and food chemistry (J Agric Food Chem) / 2007-Oct; vol 55 (issue 22) : pp 8980-6

(3) Effect of Different Processing Methods, on Nutrient Composition, Antinutrional Factors, and in vitro Protein Digestibility of Dolichos Lablab Bean / Lablab purpuresus (L) Sweet / Magdi A. Osman / Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 6 (4): 299-303, 2007

(4) Anti diabetic activity of Dolichos lablab (seeds) in Streptozotocin- Nicotinamide induced diabetic rats. / Krishnaveni kante and Challa Srinivas Reddy / Hygeia.J.D.Med.vol.5 (1), April 2013

(5) In vivo study on the effect of dolichos lablab (bataw) beans extract against Iron-deficiency in rattusnorvergicus (wistar rat). / S A Somulung et al / Cebu Doctors’ University

(6) Chemical study on the flower of Dolichos lablab L. / Liang Qiaoyu, Ding Lingsheng / Journal of China Pharmaceutical University [1996, 27(4):205-207]

(7) Screening for Anti-Diabetic Activity of the Ethanolic Extract of Dolichos Lablab Leaves / Ranjit Singh* and Sankar C / PhTechMed, Vol 1/Issue 5/Sept-Oct 2012

(8) Chemcal Constituents of Dolichos lablab (Feld Bean) Pod Exudate / Albert A. Fernandes and Gopalpur Nagendrappa / J. Agric. Food Chem., 1979, 27 (4), pp 795–798 / DOI: 10.1021/jf60224a031

(9) Comparison of Efficiency of some Natural Coagulants-Bioremediation / Sonal Choubey, S.K.Rajput, K. N. Bapat / International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering, Volume 2, Issue 10, October 2012

(10) In vivo study on the effect of dolichos lablab (bataw) beans extract against Iron-deficiency in rattusnorvergicus (wistar rat). / S A. Somulung et al / Cebu Doctor’s University / Herdin Record #: NCR-OLFU-14041514340642

(11) Comparison of Efficiency of some Natural Coagulants-Bioremediation / Sonal Choubey, S.K.Rajput, K.N.Bapat / International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering Website: Volume 2, Issue 10, October 2012

(12) Affinity purification, physicochemical and immunological characterization of a galactose-specific lectin from the seeds of Dolichos lablab (Indian lablab beans). / Latha VL, Rao RN, Nadimpalli SK / Protein Expr Purif. 2006 Feb;45(2):296-306. Epub 2005 Jul 18.

(13) Legume lectin FRIL preserves neural progenitor cells in suspension culture in vitro. / Yao H, Xie X, Li Y, Wang D, Han S, Shi S, Nan X, Bai C, Wang Y, Pei X / Clin Dev Immunol. 2008;2008:531317. doi: 10.1155/2008/531317

(14) Dolichin, a ew chitinase-like antifungal protein isolated from field beans (Dolichos lablab) / Ye XY, Wang H X, Ng T B / Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 Mar 5;269(1):155-9. 

(15) Lablab purpureus – (L.)Sweet. / Plants For A Future

(16) Comparison of Efficiency of some Natural Coagulants-Bioremediation / Sonal Choubey, S.K.Rajput / K.N.Bapat / International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering, Volume 2, Issue 10, October 2012

(17) SOME IMPORTANT MEDICINAL PLANTS USED IN THE TREATMENT OF ASTHMA – A REVIEW. / Sheela Kumar, V. K. Agnihotri, Sunita Thakur, Anita Verma, R. C. Saxena and Kapil K. Soni* / International Journal of Pharma Sciences and Research, Vol 3 No 10 Oct 2012 [Soni Kapil K, Uikey J & RC Saxena (2006).Smooth muscles relaxant activity of herbal drug isolated from Dolichos lablab. Research Hunt 1(1):60-4.]

bataw3Parts used 
Leaves, bean, roots.

Edibility / Nutritional
– Tender pods, seeds and young leaves used as vegetable.
– Young leaves and pods are good sources of calcium, iron, vitamin C, and other minerals.

– Infusion of leaves used for gonorrhea.
– Poultice of leaves for snake bites.
– Leaves used for menorrhagia and leucorrhea.
– Juice of the leaves mixed with lime, applied to tumors and abscesses.
– Salted juice from the pods used for ear inflammation and sore throat.
– Used as stomachic and antiseptic; given for abdominal pains, diarrhea, and vomiting.
– The Malays make of poultice of the leaves mixed with rice-flowers and tumeric used for eczema.
– In Indo-China, Infusion of leaves for colic; flowers used as emmenagogue.
– Flowers prescribed for menorrhagia and leucorrhea.
– Seeds are considered aphrodisiac; also used to stop nose bleeds.
– In China, boiled ripe seeds used as tonic and carminative.
– Seeds used as febrifuge, stomachic, and antispasmodic.


Study Findings
• Stem Cell Preservation Factor: Stem cell preservation factor FRIL (Flt3 receptor-interacting lectin), a plant lectin extracted from Dolichos lablab was found to preserve hematopoietic stems cells in vitro for a month.
• Hypocholesterolemic: Diet supplemented with D. lablab seeds showed a hypocholesterolemic effect.
• Cholecystokinin Secretion: A peptide derived from dolicholin, a phaseolin-like protein from D lablab potently stimulated cholecystokinin secretion from enteroendocrine STC-1 cells and suppressed food intake.
• Antimicrobial / Antifungal: n-Hexane and chloroform extracts of Dolichos lablab exhibited significant antimicrobial and antifungal activity against B subtilis, S aureus, P aeruginosa, E coli and C albicans.
• Antidiabetic / Seeds: Study evaluated the antidiabetic activity of a methanolic extract of D. lablab seeds in STZ-Nicotimamide induced diabetic model. Results showed dose-dependent reduction of blood glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity: Study evaluated the in vitro anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cytotoxic properties of methanol extracts of two Bangladesh bean pods, Lablab purpureus L. sweet ‘white’ and ‘purple’. Results showed L. purpureus sweet ‘white’ and L. purpureus sweet ‘purple’ have significant anti-inflammatory activity as well as a potential source of natural antioxidants. L. purpureus sweet ‘white’ had concentration dependent potential cytotoxicity.
• Effect on Iron Deficiency: Study evaluated the effectiveness of D. lablab beans extracts against iron deficiency in rats. Results showed a significant increase in hemoglobin level. Standard drug used was ferrous sulfate.
• Anti-Diabetic / Leaves: Study of ethanolic extract of leaves of D. lablab produced significant decrease of blood glucose level in alloxan-induced diabetes in rats.
• Anti-Hyperglycemic / Anti-Hyperlipidemic: Study evaluated the antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activity of a methanol extract of D. lablab. Results showed lowering of blood glucose, serum lipids and liver enzymes in diabetic rats. Standard drug was glibenclamide.
• Natural Coagulants / Bioremediation: As natural coagulants, Moringa oleifera, Cicer arietinum, and Dolchos lablab significantly improved the removal of turbidity and total coliforms from synthetic raw water. The natural coagulants reduced 89-96% of total coliforms.
• Effect in Iron Deficiency Anemia: Study evaluated the effect of Dolichos lablab (bataw) beans extract against iron deficiency in wistar rats with induced anemia. Results showed a significant increase in hemoglobin level.
• Natural Coagulants / Bioremediation of Water Turbidity: Study evaluated the efficacy of extracts of Dolichos lablab, Moringa oleifera and Cicer arietinum as natural coagulants for the clarification of water turbidity. The three test extracts showed significant efficacy in removing turbidity and total coliforms from synthetic raw water.
• Galactoase- Specific Lectin: Study isolated a galactose-specific lectin from the seeds of D. lablab. Among various sugars tested for inhibitory activity of the lectin, galactoase was found to be a potent inhibitor. Rabbit polyclonal antibody to the purified lectin specifically reacted with the lectin subunits in Western blot analysis.
• Stem Cell Preservation: A plant lectin, stem cell preservation factor FRIL (Flt3 receptor-interacting lectin), was extracted from D. lablab and found to preserve hematopoietic stem cells in vitro. FRIL can also preserve neural progenitor cells in vitro by inhibiting both cell proliferation and differentiation.
• Dolichin / Antifungal / Antiviral: An antifungal protein was modified from the seeds of Dolichos lablab. The protein, designated dolichin, exhibited antifungal activity against Fusarium oxysporum, Rhizoctonia solani, and Coprinus comatus. Dolichin was capable of inhibiting HIV reverse transcriptase and alpha- and beta-glucosidases which are glycohydrolases implicated i HIV infection.
• Natural Coagulant / Antifungal / Antiviral: Study using locally available natural coagulants—Moringa oleifera, Cicer arietinum, Dolichos lablab—showed significant improvement in removing turbidity and total coiforms from synthetic raw water.
• Anti-Asthma: Dolichos lablab has been reported to cause smooth muscle relaxant activity.

Cultivated for market produce.