Sesbania facts and health benefits


Sesbania facts and health benefits

Sesbania Quick Facts
Name: Sesbania
Scientific Name: Sesbania grandiflora
Origin South Asia and Southeast Asia with possibly Indonesia
Colors White or deep pink to red (Flower)
Shapes Quite large, 7–9 cm long (Flower)
Taste Acrid, bitter, and astringent (Flower)
Calories 5 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Vitamin C (16.22%)
Vitamin B9 (5.00%)
Iron (2.13%)
Selenium (1.82%)
Vitamin B1 (1.42%)
Health benefits lower blood pressure and help keep arteries flexible, supports normal fetal development, beneficial for skin, boosts immunity, prevents Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, weakness
More facts about Sesbania
Sesbania grandiflora also known as agate or hummingbird tree is a small tree in the genus Sesbania and is believed to have originated either in India or Southeast Asia and grows primarily in hot and humid tropical areas of the world. Commonly it is known as caturay, katurai, corkwood tree, scarlet wisteria, sesban, vegetable hummingbird in English, agati a grandes fleurs in French, Ta-Hua in Chinese, Agasti in Nepali, Baculo in Spanish, A Ga Sta in Tibetan and lots more. Sesbania grandiflora belonging to family Leguminosae and contains plenty of sterols, saponins and tannins which are liable for its various pharmacological properties and has been widely used in Ayurveda for processing of several formulations in Rasashastra. Leaves, seeds, pods and flowers of S. grandiflora are edible. Flowers are the most widely used part, and white flowers are preferred to the red. The tree has a life span of about 20 years.


Sesbania grandiflora is a small, erect, quick-growing, open-branched, unarmed, perennial tree growing up to 15 m tall and 25-30 cm in diameter. It thrives under full exposure to sunshine and is extremely frost sensitive and grows well in wide range of soils including those that are poor and waterlogged. It tolerates saline and alkaline soils and has some tolerance to acidic soils.  Roots are heavily nodulated with large nodules. Trunk is nearly 30 cm long with drooping branches and bark is light gray, corky and deeply furrowed and the wood are soft and white. Its leaves are glaucous, deep green, pinnately compound up to 30 cm long with 20-50 leaflets in pairs. Leaflets are oblong, to elliptical, obtuse apex, about 2–3 cm long. Flowers are large, white, yellowish, rose pink or red, 7-9 cm long with a calyx 15-22 mm and corolla with standard and wings, staminal tube and glabrous ovary and style. Pods are pendent, slender, long (20-60 cm) and thin (6-9 mm) with broad sutures, cylindric, green, indehiscent containing 15–50 seeds. Seeds are beanlike, elliptical, red brown, 6-8 in a pod, 3.5 mm, and each weighting 1 g.


Leaves of the Sesbania grandiflora plant can be consumed in a number of ways. Leaves are glaucous, deep green, pinnately compound up to 30 cm long with 20-50 leaflets in pairs. Leaflets are oblong, to elliptical, obtuse apex, about 2–3 cm long. They are usually bitter, sour, and mildly tart in taste and are consumed as one of the staple food around the world. The dried leaves are used in some countries as a tea, which is considered to have antibiotic, anti-helminthic, anti-tumor, and contraceptive properties.  Young leaves are used in curries and soups, lightly fried, steamed or boiled.


Leaves, seeds, pods and flowers of S. grandiflora are edible. Flowers are the most widely used part, and white flowers are preferred to the red. Plants consist of large pea-like flowers and grow in clusters of 2-5 at the base of leaves. Flower is normally large, white, yellowish, rose pink or red colored and 7-9 cm long with a calyx 15-22 mm and corolla with standard and wings, staminal tube and glabrous ovary and style. They have acrid, bitter, and astringent taste and are eaten both cooked and raw, in salads, curries, and as a steamed vegetable.


Sesbania grandiflora is considered to have originated from South Asia and Southeast Asia with possibly Indonesia as the center of diversity. It is closely related to the Australian species, Sesbania Formosa. Today, agathi grows throughout Mexico and the US Southwest region, the warmer areas of South America, and parts of Africa. In West Africa, for example, agathi’s been cultivated for the past 150 years. It’s also an exotic plant in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Hawaii, and Nepal.

Nutritional Value

Apart from their acrid, bitter, and astringent taste sesbania is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 20 gram of sesbania offers 14.6 mg of Vitamin c, 20 µg of Vitamin B9, 0.17 mg of Iron, 0.2 mg of Selenium, 0.017 mg of Vitamin B1 and 0.016 mg of Vitamin B2. Moreover many Amino acids like 0.004 g of Tryptophan, 0.011 g of Threonine, 0.014 g of Isoleucine, 0.021 g of Leucine and 0.013 g of Lysine are also found in 20 gram of sesbania.

Health benefits of Sesbania

The health benefit of Sesbania include lower blood pressure and help keep arteries flexible, supports normal fetal development, beneficial for skin, boosts immunity, prevents Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, weakness. The health benefits of Sesbania make it an important constituent of any diet.

1. Lower Your Blood Pressure and Help Keep Arteries Flexible

Including vitamin C rich food in your normal diet plays a strong role in heart health. People who eat a diet rich in antioxidants like vitamin C may have a lower risk of high blood pressure. Sesbania is one of the best options for getting vitamin c as one cup of sesbania consists of 14.6 mg of vitamin c which is 16.22% of the daily recommended value.

Vitamin C also plays an important role in slowing down the progression of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). It may help keep your arteries flexible and prevents damage to LDL cholesterol. People with low levels of vitamin C are at increased risk of heart attack, peripheral artery disease, and stroke, all of which can stem from atherosclerosis.

2. Supports Normal Fetal Development

Folate present in sesbania plays an essential role in fetal development and is beneficial for pregnant women. Folate deficiency during early pregnancy may lead to neural tube defects. It is a serious problem that may result in pregnancy termination or a baby born with spina bifida. Studies have found increased folate levels from one month prior to conception to 3 months afterward can reduce the chance of these defects by 50%. Including folate rich foods like sesbania help to overcome this problem since it contains 20 µg of vitamin B9 which is 5.00% of the daily recommended value.

3. Beneficial for skin

Pale skin and dark circles are the most common signs of anemia caused due to iron deficiency. The lack of iron causes hemoglobin levels to decrease, resulting in the subsequent reduction of RBCs. The reduced oxygen flow can deprive your skin of its color, making it look sallow. A healthy dose of iron-rich foods in your daily diet can give your skin a pinkish glow. Since sesbania consists of iron therefore it is best to include sesbania in your to get considerable amount of iron regularly.

4. Boosts Immunity

Selenium is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, and can also be a key nutrient in lessening the development of viruses including HIV. In patients who already contracted HIV, selenium has been shown to also be useful in slowing down the progression of the disease into AIDS. Sesbania is among the best alternative to obtain selenium from your normal diet.

5. Prevents Alzheimer’s disease

Sesbania consists of vitamin B1 which is thought to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. People suffering from this disease have benefited when treated with vitamin B1 supplements of 100 mg per day. Therefore including sesbania in your regular diet is beneficial for getting vitamin b1. There are placebo-controlled trial researches that are ongoing to determine more about the mechanism by which this occurs.

6. Migraine

People who don’t get enough riboflavin tend to experience regular headaches and even migraines. However, when a person gets sufficient riboflavin, the number of headaches is reduced. Research on 55 patients displayed that those who took 200-400 mg of riboflavin had considerably fewer migraines and headaches than those given the placebo. This reduced both the frequency and intensity of the headaches. Therefore vitamin B2 rich food must be consumed to solve the migraine problems and remain healthy and happy life.

7. Weakness

Sesbania has the ability to remove minor health problems like muscle weakness, numbness, fatigue and similar ailments because it consists of considerable amount of phosphorus. Normal amount of phosphorous in the body are a great way to remain fit and active. According to the experts and suggestions of various health practitioners a normal amount can be around 1200 mg for adults. Apart from that sexual weakness can also be cured with healthy supplementation of phosphorous into the body, so issues like impotence, loss of libido, frigidity, and sperm motility can be boosted by having a sufficient supply of phosphorus in your system.

How to Eat

  • Young leaves, flowers and young pods are used in curries and soups, lightly fried, steamed or boiled in Asia.
  • Young, tender pods are cooked similarly to other green beans.
  • Leaves and young tender pods are used as flavoring items in the cuisine of South India.
  • Leaves are added to ‘sodhi’, widely eaten, thin coconut gravy in Sri Lanka.
  • Tender leaves, young green pods and flowers are eaten alone as a vegetable or mixed into curries or salads in India.
  • Young leaves are chopped and sautéed, perhaps with spices, onion or coconut milk.
  • Seeds are high in protein (33.7 %) and are eaten as famine food in India.
  • Flowers may be dipped in batter and fried in butter in India.
  • Flowers after removal of the bitter stamens are consumed as vegetables raw or cooked in Southeast Asian countries, namely, Thailand, Laos, Kampuchea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Ilocos region of the Philippines and also in Bihar, India.
  • Young shoots and leaves are blanched and eaten with chili paste ‘nam prik kapi’ or ‘nam prik plaa raa’ in Thailand.
  • Young flowers are used as an ingredient in sour curry soups such as ‘kaeng som’.
  • Flowers are also consumed raw.
  • Unopened white flowers are a common vegetable, steamed or cooked in soups and stews after removal of the stamen and calyx in Philippines.
  • Flowers are used in soups or stir-fry with meat in Vietnam.
  • Leaves are cooked in coconut milk or curry, and the flowers are commonly used raw in ‘ulam’ or cooked as vegetables as are the young pods in Peninsular Malaysia.
  • One popular dish is ‘duan turi’ cooked in coconut gravy with shrimp paste, dried pounded shrimps, pumpkin and chilies in Sarawak.
  • In Indonesia young leaves and pods eaten as sepan (steamed vegetables) and the flowers are used for making sayor or lalab.
  • ‘Petjel’ (sauce) can be made of the flowers by adding ‘sambal kacang’.

Other Traditional uses and benefits of Sesbania

  • S. Grandiflora is described to be aperient, diuretic, laxative, emetic, emenagogue, febrifuge, and tonic and used as a folk remedy for bruises, catarrh, dysentery, sore throat, eyes, fevers, stomatitis, headaches, smallpox and sores.
  • Bark, roots, leaves, gum and flowers are considered medicinal.
  • Sesbania grandiflos is extensively used in Ayurveda for the treatment of diseases and for processing of numerous formulations in Rasashastra.
  • Ayurvedics, prescribe S. grandiflora for anaemia, bronchitis, fever, pain, thirst, ozena and quartan fever.
  • Yuani considers the tonic levels useful in biliousness, fever and nyctalopia.
  • In the indigenous system of medicine in India, Sesbania grandiflora is claimed to be useful for various ailments, and one such use is for the treatment of renal calculi.
  • One traditional use of S. grandiflora is in the treatment of smoke-related diseases.
  • Sesbania grandiflora is extensively used in Indian folk medicine for the treatment of liver disorders.
  • Various parts of this plant are used in Indian traditional medicine for the treatment of a broad spectrum of illness like rheumatism, leprosy, gout and liver disorders.
  • Bark is described to cure diarrhea, snakebite, dysentery, paludism, malaria, eruptive fever, smallpox, scabies, and ulcer and stomach disorders in children.
  • Indians apply the roots in rheumatism and the juice of the leaves and flowers for headache and nasal catarrh.
  • The Yanadi tribe in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh used the flowers for cataract, conjunctivitis, kidney and bladder stones and alopecia.
  • The bark is considered tonic and is bitter the bark extract acts as aperient and larger doses are emetic, and small doses are prescribed for dysentery and other bowel complaints.
  • Bark extract is recommended for ulceration of the tongue and alimentary tract.
  • In Java, it is used for thrush and infantile disorders of the stomach.
  • Dried powdered bark is used as cosmetic in Java.
  • An infusion of the leaves is used as aperients, leaf juice suggested for dim vision and the leaves boiled in vinegar or arrack applied to sprains.
  • Bark is used in infusions for smallpox.
  • An herbal preparation of dried powered leaves mixed with leaves of Citrus lime, Parkia seeds and wood ash moistened with vinegar is rubbed on the abdomen for a fortnight after confinement.
  • Leaf juice is taken to reduce nose inflammation and cough and to expel mucus in Malaysia.
  • Cortex is used to treat dysentery, indigestion and diarrhea in Vietnam.
  • Pounded bark is employed for haemoptysis; the powdered bark is also recommended for ulcers of the mouth and alimentary canal in Philippines.
  • Leaves are chewed to disinfect the mouth and throat.
  • A tea made from the leaves is believed to have antibiotic, anthelmintic, anti-tumor and contraceptive properties.
  • Leaf juice extract is used for nasal drops to relieve headache, coryza, fever associated with indigestion and heaviness, and remittent fever.
  • Leaf juice extract is also used in the treatment of epilepsy.
  • In cases of snake bite, the bark of white flower variety grinded with water and administered internally.

Other Facts

  • grandiflora is an important source of firewood, forage, pulp and paper, food, medicine, green manure and shade tree and has potential for reforesting eroded and grassy wastelands throughout the tropics.
  • Small tree is often grown as a light shade tree for companion plants such as turmeric, galangal and ginger and as a live support tree for climbing plants such as black pepper and betel vine.
  • It is also grown as an ornamental in home gardens, as living fences and as windbreak.
  • Tree is also grown around fields, eroded hill slopes and wastelands as it is planted to ameliorate soils and improve their fertility, especially their nitrogen content.
  • In South Asia and Southeast Asia, its foliage is appreciated as fodder for cattle and goats.
  • The fast-growing seedlings and the tree foliage make excellent green manure.
  • In Java, the tree is expansively used as a pulp source.
  • The trunks may be used for light construction like bamboos and have been used as poles for temporary shelters and sheds, but they may not last very long due to rots and insect infestation.
  • The bark yields a tanning agent.
  • The gum exuding from a cut in the bark has properties of gum Arabic and is used by fisher-folks for toughening nets and lines.
  • An aqueous extract of bark is said to be toxic to cockroaches.
  • The inner fibrous bark and the white, soft wood can be used for cork.
  • The leaves also have medicinal value and are reported to cure night blindness in cattle.
  • S. Grandiflora is widely planted for beautification because of its giant showy flowers and long pods.


  • Consumption of large quantities of leaves can cause diarrhea.