Azuki beans — synonymous in Japan with celebrations — contain many healthful components whose benefits should not be underestimated.
The first, azuki saponin, is a component unique to azuki. Saponin, which is also found in soybeans, prevents the formation of lipid peroxides and helps to stall the aging process. The saponin in azuki, however, is also a diuretic.
Azuki beans contain large amounts of vitamin B1, which aids the body in energy metabolism, recovery from fatigue and building stamina. The beans also contain potassium, which aids the elimination of fiber and excess salt from the body.
Our ancestors used azuki to reduce swelling, to increase milk supply for nursing mothers with inadequate milk and to prevent hangovers.
Azuki Beans Can Improve Atopic Symptoms
Many people know azuki as the beans in sekihan (red-bean rice) or the beans with which rice-cake “jam” fillings are made of. But did you know it is also considered a Chinese herbal medicine?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, azuki are called “sekishozu” (literally “small red bean”). TCM practitioners use sekishozu to 1) reduce fever and eliminate excess, accumulated body moisture as urine; and 2) eliminate the body’s poisons by purging them from the body as urine.
Dr. Mitsuko Uematsu, pharmacist and doctor of international Chinese medicine at Uematsu Pharmacy which specializes in Chinese herbal medicines in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, has published a report on a study of how azuki, in combination with other natural medications, can help people suffering from “atopii” (eczema or atopic dermatitis).
Dr. Uematsu found “no significant difference” between treatments where Chinese herbal medicines were the only medications prescribed for this skin condition, versus treatments where azuki were prescribed in combination with other medicines. However, she did find that as a treatment for skin itching and redness, azuki in combination with other medications was 75 percent effective, versus 66 percent for azuki alone.
Chinese herbal medicine prescriptions are prepared as the patient watches. Azuki is most effective in combination with other medications on atopic patients whose skin suffers from swelling and oozing.
(Translated by Roy Mashima)
(The information provided should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Consult your physician before attempting any new program. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of developing serious medical conditions.)