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Lathyrus
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.

Related Terms

  • 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.

Background

  • 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.

Evidence

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Dosing

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.

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Safety

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.

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Interactions

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.

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Author Information

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References

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.

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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.