Side effects of Khesari dal (Lathyrus sativus)

In the recent events, the central government of India has decided to remove the ban from Khesari Dal or Kesari Dal (in Hindi). The ban was put for a long time by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) in 1961. There were many clinical tests, laboratory reports that supported the action and ICMR moderated the complete process.

Lathyrus sativus (English name) is also known by other names like Almorta, grass pea.

Khesari dal (also known as poor man’s dal) is a cheaper form of dal as compared to arhar and moog dal. Those people (specially the lower middle class) who could’nt afford moog daal or arhar dal to feed their families buys it at the first place. The dal was banned since it was found to be causing neurological disorders like Lathyrism or neurolathyrism – a very rare form of paralysis. The study also revealed that, Khesari dal is the root cause behind this form of paralysis.

Who banned this Dal ?

The dal was banned by ICMR in 1961 on several findings given by the FSSAI and Indian Institute of Toxicological research. It was followed by several studies which concluded that consumption of Khesari dal by people is not safe for their health.

However, the ban was not entertained by West Bengal and Chhattisgarh (after becoming state) and they continued to sell.

How to Identify khesari dal ?

You might not recognize this dal with the help of written description, but you may take closer look at the images below to memorize it by its physical appearance.

So, next time when you come over to any shop selling this dal, you just have to ignore it.

Grass pea - Lathyrus sativus - Khesari dal

Grass pea – Lathyrus sativus – Khesari dal Image 1

Grass pea or khesari dal, Lathyrus sativus

Grass pea or khesari dal, Lathyrus sativus image 2

Side Effects of Khesari dal ?

The possible side effects of Khesari dal are as follows :

1) Lathyrism or neurolathyrism : Its a diseases caused by a toxin named ODAP, Oxalyldiaminopropionic acid. It is responsible for the degeneration of pyramidal tract neurons in the spinal cord which controls the legs. In absence of such neurons, Lathyrism or paralysis in the lower body is caused. (Ref. 1)

2) Can induce Excitotoxicity : Consumption of this dal for a long time can increase the toxins in the body which can construct a doorway to many deadly diseases. Since, poor fellows lacks other resources and eatables that detoxifies their body naturally. It then leads to the cell damage. It can happen because of overreactions of neurotransmitters in the presence of glutamatergic storm. This disorder can lead to strokes, brain injury, hearing loss, or sometimes hypoglycemia. (ref. 2)

3) Malfunctioning of antioxidants in body : One more biological effect of Khesari dal is the oxidative stress. Its a neurological disorder where the antioxidants function is diminished. This can leads to various cardiovascular diseases as well as neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease or Huntington’s disease.(Ref .3).

You may call it poison dal or deadly dal now!!

2 Responses to Side effects of Khesari dal (Lathyrus sativus)

  1. Kanchan Dairashri says:

    Are the shop keppers mixing khesari dal with other dal?

  2. Payel Banerjee says:

    Informations are really appreciating.

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