Phaseolus Vulgaris.


[Translated for Ellingwood's Therapeutist by Dr. C. D. Isenberg, Hamburg, Germany]

For almost 25 years the tea from the pods of phaseolus vulgaris has been used with good success in different diseases. My own observations during this time and numerous communications on successful cures with it will be sufficient to allow us definite conclusions in regard to the value of this remedy.

My attention was called to the curative effect of the tea of bean-pods in the year 1881 by a woman who had suffered for several years from dropsy of the lower body in consequence of valvular disease. After accidentally drinking the warm water, in which she had boiled green young beans, she repeatedly felt a strong desire to urinate in the next hours and was surprised by the amount of clear, limpid urine which she evacuated. She then continued the drinking of bean water systematically, and when communicating with me she had been cured a long time of her dropsy.

Now I began to order the use of bean water, at first in cases of dropsy due to diseases of the heart and kidneys, and I was surprised to observe repeatedly, that enormous amounts of urine were evacuated, after very few days, and how quickly at times even the worst and most extended dropsy disappeared entirely and stayed cured. Then I made the observation that the urine, which up to that time had been found to contain regularly a large amount of albumen, became entirely free from it even after using the bean water a few days only, and that it remained free from albumen.

Through these experiments which I made in cases of albuminuria, I gradually learned the favorable effect of the remedy on inflammatory processes in the kidney, chronic kidney diseases, renal hemorrhage; in quickly dissolving and removing kidney stones and gravel, also in pyelitis, diseases of the ureters and the bladder. At the same time its surprising effect on acute and chronic gout and—at first in isolated cases, then as the years passed by, more frequently and without fail—on diabetes, was demonstrated.

As it was most difficult to get fresh young beans in the winter, and as preserved beans did not prove effective, I in time tried to use ripe beans with the pod instead of the fresh green ones, and had the satisfaction to find the remedial effect also in these. Still it was quite a while, and many experiments had to be made, before I could gain the experience and be quite sure, that the effective and curative substance is contained in the pods alone and not in the beans. Oft repeated control-experiments established the fact, that the tea made from the pods of ripe beans exercises a more constant, better and more lasting effect than the decoction of young green beans. Therefore I have used for many years only the pods of ripe beans under the name of "Bohnenhülsentee" (bean-pod-tea) .

As the experiments which were made in order to manufacture an extract from the bean pods, which would be equivalent in its curative effect to the fresh decoction, have not been successful so far, it is necessary always to prepare fresh tea from the pods. About 30-40-50 gramm (1 to 1 ⅔ ounces) of bean pods are boiled slowly with 4 liters (4 quarts) of water for three to four hours down to 1 or 1 ½ quarts; the decoction is then poured through a fine sieve or cloth into a high vessel which is kept in a cool place until the next morning or at least for a few hours when the tea is again poured through a fine cloth without having been stirred. It is now entirely clear and ready for use. It is necessary that all, even the smallest particles of the pods, are removed, because they spoil the taste and can give rise in rare instances, where the decoction is used for a considerable time, to slight intestinal disturbances. As the prepared tea will readily spoil, especially in the hot season, and its use then can produce violent diarrhea, it is necessary to prepare it fresh every day for the next one.

The tea is taken through the day, from morning to evening in small portions of 150 to 200 gramm (5 to 7 ounces) each. In order to improve the taste which will perhaps not be agreeable to everybody, a little hot milk or meat extract can be added. It is an absolutely harmless remedy and can be taken for years without any disagreeable effect whatsoever. Many who have been under a doctor's care for kidney diseases and dropsical states, for kidney-stone-colic, gout or diabetes, drink the tea with the same good results for twenty years, some of them though with shorter or longer intervals.

In gout, rheumatism, kidney-stones, gravel and during the last years also in many cases of gallstones I order the daily use of 1 to 1 ¼ quarts of tea, made from 30 to 50 gramm (1 to 1 ⅔ ounces) of the pods. In the most obstinate and intractable forms of gout a small addition of radix sambuci to the bean pods, when making the tea, increases its efficiency. The effect is generally slow in gout, rheumatism, and larger kidney stones. The improvement sets in very gradually, sometimes only after months of its use; smaller kidney stones and gravel are generally dissolved surprisingly quickly. After an improvement or a cure has been achieved, the continued use of the tea is sure to prevent a return of the affliction. In order to do this it is not necessary to drink the tea every day; it is sufficient to take it two or three times a week. It is also necessary to observe a strict diet and to regulate the mode of life according to the prescription of a physician.

In diabetes about a, quart of tea made from 1 to 1 ⅔ ounces of the pods should be taken. Even in the most severe cases—with rare exceptions—the sugar disappears from the urine through the use of the tea after about three weeks until only traces are left, and later on generally altogether. The tea has to be taken continually, although later on a weaker decoction (½ to ⅔ ounce to ½ to ¾ quart) will perhaps be sufficient. It is understood that during the first months a strict diabetic diet has to be kept, later on the sugar usually does not return, even without a strict diet, or merely in traces, if the use of the tea is continued.

Although two patients, who have been treated by me for diabetes twelve years ago, have not used the tea for many years, and have had no relapse, I strongly advise to continue for years to drink the tea every day even after a complete cure, as in cases, where the patient stopped the tea prematurely, the urine proved to contain a large amount of sugar after a few months.

In acute and chronic nephritis, hemorrhage of the kidneys, pyelitis, disease of the ureters and bladder, also in dropsical states, due to diseases of the heart and other causes, the patient ought to take daily ¾ to 1 quart of tea made from 1 to 1 ⅔ ounces of the pods. In some cases of dropsy enormous amounts of urine are voided after a few days, and the effusions disappear quickly and for good. In other cases especially where the cause has been a chronic disease of the kidneys of long standing or where the strength of the heart has greatly been lowered, it takes from two to three weeks before a decrease of the dropsy is clearly evident. In rare cases, especially where a great accumulation of fluid in the abdomen impairs the function of the kidneys and ureters by mechanical pressure, the effect of the tea will only become apparent after the fluid has been removed to a large extent from the abdominal cavity through baths or an operation.

The albuminuria generally disappears quickly; in acute diseases of the kidney, especially in severe infectious diseases, in a few days, in chronic diseases of the kidneys more slowly, in incurable Bright's disease in small traces. In five cases of profuse hemorrhage from the kidney of long standing, also in one such case due to pregnancy, I have been able to effect a complete cure after a protracted use of the tea.

If it is impossible to drink the tea because of repugnance to its taste, vomiting, unconsciousness or uremic convulsions, the prepared decoction is given as an injection into the bowels in portions of 8 to 10 ounces with the addition of one per cent of salt, which dose is repeated every two to four hours as needed. This often directly saves the patient's life, for after twelve to eighteen hours an increased diuresis begins and then generally convulsions and vomiting cease. Even in cirrhosis of the kidney which as yet has not progressed too far, the use of the tea enables us to retard the progress of this incurable disease.

For children it suffices to give a decoction of one-third to two-thirds of an ounce of the pods to from 7 to 14 ounces of water according to their age. In one of my cases, a boy of three months, a universal dropsy caused by primary inflammation of the kidney, disappeared in a few days, after a decoction of one-third of an ounce to 7 ounces of water had been added every day to his milk instead of pure water.

In several cases of dropsy, where we want to bring about a quick decrease of the water by an increased secretion of urine, we can add to the pods 75 to 150 grains of ilex (paraguaensis.C. D. I.) when preparing the tea. In the treatment of dropsy due to heart disease I have noted that the symptoms which are produced by a beginning sclerosis of the heart-valves and arteries, are mitigated by the use of the tea and that the process of sclerosis is inhibited in its progress.

While the decoction of bean pods exerts a sure curative effect on the above named diseases of the kidneys, it can be used with the same, if not greater assurance as a preventive measure in all conditions where in consequence of general debility after protracted diseases like typhoid fever, scarlatina, diphtheria, etc., a disease of the kidneys with its deleterious consequences is imminent. But quite indispensable the decoction has proven to me during many years in the last months of pregnancy; in not a single case, where it was taken conscientiously, have I observed albuminuria or a uremic state before, during or after the confinement."

Note by C. D. I.—I wish to add to the above, the history of a case which I could examine a short time ago. I did not treat the case myself; the examination proved, though, that he was free from rheumatic trouble, although he did not live on a uric-acid-free diet. The history is translated from the gentleman's manuscript prepared at my request:

"About 9 years ago, in 1897, I began to suffer from a very disagreeable feeling of pressure in the region of the bladder, which increased to an intense pain through excitement, or psychic depression. In the course of the next years this state very slowly became worse, until in 1906 violent pains appeared in the right ureter. At the same time the pain in the bladder suddenly increased considerably. My physician diagnosed an inflammation of both organs, but none of all those I consulted were able to give me any relief. The urine showed pus, sometimes in considerable quantity. In 1905, some time before these last symptoms developed, others had appeared which consisted of severe pains in the small of the back (the so-called kidney pains— C. D. I.). They tormented me constantly, and often I could not fall asleep. Cold rubs and liniments only brought a temporary improvement. The pains constantly increased in the spring of 1906 and muscular rheumatism set in. This was so violent, that I could hardly wash myself in the morning and evening. Rubbings with water and plasters hardly brought any relief. These various ailments finally became so very bad, that I was never free from pain; and they increased constantly in violence.

At this time—in the summer of 1906—the tea from ripe bean pods was recommended to me, and my attention was called to the pamphlet of Dr. Ramm of Preetz in Holstein. So I sent for five pounds of the bean pods and began the treatment according to directions. I did not have to wait long for results; large masses of uric acid crystals and albuminous matter were excreted, and that initiated a decrease of the pain in the bladder and kidneys. The pain in the bladder disappeared entirely in about three weeks, the muscular rheumatism also diminished in the next few weeks to disappear entirely in seven or eight weeks.

"I was soon entirely free from my very great sufferings, and have not had any trouble since, as I have been using the tea off and on. The enormous excretion of uric acid crystals during the use of the tea was really remarkable (they often covered the bottom of the night vessel) and also the very mild effect of the tea though its diuretic power is very great."

It is very rare to find a practically unknown remedy the field of which has been worked out so thoroughly. Dr. Ramm gives perfectly definite indications. There may be many American remedies, like for example eupatorium purpureum (gravel weed), which may be able to do the same as the bean pods, but for persistence in their use and sufficient dosage. But the bean pods are such a very simple remedy that I hope it may be tried in some indicated cases.

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.