Known for its distinct taste and texture, horse gram is a widely used legume in many cuisines.

It’s also known for its impressive nutrient profile and medicinal properties.

In fact, some claim that this powerful legume can promote weight loss and help treat a wide range of ailments.

This article reviews some of the benefits and side effects of horse gram and takes a closer look at how to use it.

horse gram in a bowl with spatulaShare on Pinterest
Ajaykampani/Getty Images

Horse gram, also known as Macrotyloma uniflorum, is a type of legume that’s native to certain parts of Southeast Asia.

Notable for its dry, hard texture and unique flavor and aroma, horse gram is considered a staple in many cuisines.

Typically, the seeds are sprouted, boiled, or fried and enjoyed in a variety of recipes.

It’s an especially popular ingredient in India, as well as in countries like Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

It has also been used in traditional medicine to treat many conditions, including fever, infections, hemorrhoids, and kidney stones (1).


Horse gram is a type of legume native to Southeast Asia. It’s enjoyed in a variety of recipes and used medicinally to treat several conditions.

Horse gram has been associated with several health benefits, including promoting heart health and weight loss.

Rich in important nutrients

Horse gram is a great source of many key nutrients.

Like other legumes, it’s especially high in protein and fiber, both of which may support healthy blood sugar levels and decrease appetite (1, 2, 3, 4).

It also contains a variety of other essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, phosphorus, and vitamin C (1).

Iron is involved in oxygen transport and DNA production, while vitamin C plays a central role in immune function and skin health (5, 6).

Meanwhile, phosphorus is a crucial component of bones and teeth and necessary for energy production and muscle function (7).

May help promote weight loss

Horse gram is loaded with fiber and protein, two important nutrients that play a key role in weight management (1, 3, 4).

Interestingly, one review of 28 studies tied increased legume intake to a lower risk of obesity, suggesting that legumes like horse gram may benefit weight management (8).

Although limited human research is available, some animal studies also suggest that horse gram may help support weight loss.

For example, one animal study administered extracts of the leaves and seeds of horse gram to rats on a high fat diet and found it helped protect against weight gain (9).

Another animal study observed similar findings, reporting that rats that consumed horse gram extract for 5 weeks experienced a significant reduction in body weight (10).

Plus, another study showed that the intake of horse gram extract reduced both body weight and food intake in rats with obesity (11).

However, keep in mind that research on horse gram specifically is limited to animal studies that used highly concentrated extracts. More studies are needed to determine how this legume affects humans.

May improve heart health

Some studies indicate that horse gram may improve heart health and reduce several risk factors for heart disease.

According to a 5-week study in rats with high cholesterol, horse gram extract reduced levels of total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides, high levels of which are associated with an increased risk of heart disease (10).

Other animal studies show that horse gram and its components may reduce several markers of inflammation, which may contribute to chronic conditions such as heart disease (12, 13, 14, 15).

What’s more, human research has linked increased legume intake to a lower risk of heart disease (16).

That said, further human studies are needed.


Horse gram is rich in nutrients, including protein and fiber. Some studies suggest that it may promote weight loss and improve heart health, but more research in humans is needed.

Although horse gram is highly nutritious and associated with several health benefits, there are a few potential side effects to consider.

First, horse gram contains a specific type of carbohydrate called raffinose oligosaccharides, which may cause gas and bloating during digestion, especially when eaten in large amounts (1, 17).

In rare cases, allergic reactions to horse gram have also been reported (18).

Additionally, horse gram contains antinutrients like phytic acid, which may inhibit the absorption of certain minerals (1).

However, cooking, soaking, and sprouting seeds prior to consumption may help significantly decrease the content of phytic acid to improve nutrient absorption (19).


Horse gram may cause allergic reactions in some people and contains a type of carb that may cause gas and bloating. It also contains phytic acid, although its content can be reduced by cooking, soaking, and sprouting.

Horse gram is featured in a variety of dishes, thanks to both its unique flavor and distinct texture.

In fact, horse gram is often used in dishes like soups, stir-fries, curries, and dals.

Most recipes involve soaking or sprouting the seeds before boiling or pressure cooking and adding spices.

The seeds are also sometimes roasted, mixed with other herbs and spices, and ground into a fine powder to be sprinkled over rice.


Horse gram is featured in a variety of recipes. The seeds are typically soaked or sprouted and then boiled, pressure cooked, or roasted.

Horse gram is a nutritious legume that’s often featured in many Southeast Asian dishes.

Although research in humans is lacking, animal studies suggest that horse gram may help support weight loss and improve heart health.

However, it may cause gas and bloating in some people due to a specific type of carb it contains. Also, it contains phytic acid, which can inhibit nutrient absorption. That said, its phytic acid content can be decreased through soaking, sprouting, or cooking the seeds.

Horse gram can be prepared several ways and enjoyed in a variety of recipes, including soups, curries, stir-fries, and more.