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Urad dal: Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

By NS Desk | Herbs | Posted on :   23-Dec-2020

Urad dal (vigna mungo) is a very common variety of popular pulse in South Asian households. It has a white interior with black seeds on the exterior. The urad dal plant grows up to a height of 30-100 cm, and the seed pods have a size of 4-6 cm. The plant also has large and hairy leaves. Black gram is another name for Urad dal, and it's known as Masha in Ayurveda. Along with its nutritious benefits, it is also utilized for medicinal purposes in Ayurveda.
 
Urad dal helps improve digestion since it is rich in fibers and many people in Northern India prefer taking it in the form of curry to assist their digestive power. It also treats constipation because of its laxative quality.  Urad dal is also an aphrodisiac and helps in treating erectile dysfunction in men on its regular consumption. 
 
Urad dal promotes skin whitening when applied along with honey and rose water on the face. Urad hair masks are also very popular as it helps in strengthening and lengthening the hair and managing dandruff. Urad dal takes much longer to digest and hence should be avoided for consumption at night.
 
How did the 'Urad' word originate?
Urad is a Hindi word given to an Indian pulse with a small seed related to the Mung bean. It finds its name transcending to Urdu as urd. It is translated as Vigna mungo in English, and this term also means the same as that in Hindi.
 
Historical uses of Urad Dal
Urad dal has been used since time immemorial as an accompaniment to rice and Rotis. Its grounded form is used in the preparation of papad, idli, vada, and dosa. 
 
Urad dal has been used for skin care and hair care in older times. There weren't scientific studies to back the argument, but historically, urad dal has been used as an energy booster and heart protector. Because of high protein content, urad dal was also used to improve and manage bone health.
 
It is a highly values pulse in Southern Asia. Shri Madhaacharya, a Hindu philosopher, was believed to have made the dal as an offering in ceremonies as a substitute for sacrificing animals in the 13th century AD. 
 
It has been used as a substitute for meat in India's vegetarian diet due to its rich value of protein. The largest producers of this pulse commercial are India, Indonesia, United States, Brazil, and China.
 
Benefits of using Urad dal in Ayurvedic treatment
Many studies conducted till now have shown the beneficial effects of Urad dal in several ways. It is used to protect the heart, boost energy, strengthen the nervous system, improve bone health, reduce pain and inflammation, manage diabetes, and be good for skin and hair.
 
The minerals present in Urad dal, along with all the fiber, help maintain the cholesterol levels hence helping us maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. It helps in the prevention of a disease called atherosclerosis. The potassium present in dal helps improve blood circulation to prevent damage to arterial walls.
 
Urad dal helps in the reduction of acne, tan, and sunburn. Because of the presence of fatty acids, it helps in strengthening hair and reduces hair fall.
 
Treating diseases/health problems using Urad dal
● Constipation

Science

Ayurveda

Urad dal is high in fiber, and 49.12% of our daily fibers can be obtained by consuming 1 cup of cooked dal. Because being so rich in fiber, it helps in easy bowel movement and cleans the stool tract, and eases constipation.

Irritation in Vata dosha is responsible for constipation. Unmonitored coffee intake, sleeping late at night, neurological issues like stress and depression, and frequent consumption of junk food are some of the reasons we suffer from constipation. Because of these factors, Vata is irritated in the large intestine, which makes us feel constipated. Urad dal has a Rechana (laxative) nature, and hence it improves and manages and controls constipation.

 
● Malnutrition

Science

Ayurveda

Urad dal is extremely high in nutrients and proteins. The presence of minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus are responsible for improving the bone structure. It has high iron content as well that stimulates the production of red blood cells. Because of being so rich in nutrients, it helps in rectifying the problem of malnutrition.

Karshya disease in Ayurveda is responsible for malnutrition. This happens when the body lacks nutrients and has improper digestion. Urad dal has Kapha property, which gives strength to the body, and hence it instantly energizes the body and fulfills the daily requirement of the body's calorie.

 
● Wrinkle formation

Science

Ayurveda

Urad dal is rich in vitamins and minerals that help rectify any form of skin irritation. The vitamins and minerals present in the Urad dal help in more oxygenated blood flow through the system, which helps reduce the formation of wrinkles and gives radiant and glowing skin.

Irritated Vata is broadly responsible for forming wrinkles on our skin, and Urad dal helps in managing exactly this dosha. It has Snigdha (oily) nature due to which helps moisturize the skin and control wrinkles' formation. It can also be used to remove spots and marks when used with honey.

 
● Joint Pain

Science

Ayurveda

Urad dal contains minerals like phosphorus, potassium, iron, and magnesium, which play a very important role in increasing and improving bone mineral density. Because of the increased density, the joint pain can be improved, and the bone can remain healthy.

The joints and bones are the sites of Vata in the body, according to Ayurveda. Urad dal helps balance Vata and reduces joint and bone pain when its oil is massaged on the affected area.

 
● Hair loss

Science

Ayurveda

Urad dal is rich in vitamins and minerals that help rectify any form of hair related disease, mainly hair loss. People use urad dal hair masks as it both moisturizes and strengthens the root of the hair.

Hair fall is caused by an irritated state of Vata in the body, and urad dal helps rectify it. It has Snigdha (oily) and Ropan (healing) properties that promote hair growth and reduce excessive dryness.

 
Nutritional Information for Urad Dal
• Dietary Information for 1 Cup of Urad Dal 
• One Cup of Urad Dal is 210 grams, which comes from 105 grams crude Urad Dal.
RDA represents the Recommended Daily Allowance. 
• 364 Calories 
• 62.58 grams of Carbs 
• 1.47 grams of Fat
• 25 grams of Protein 
• 12.28 grams of Fiber = 49.12% of RDA (around 25 grams) 
• 161.70 mg of Calcium (Ca) = 26.95% of RDA (around 600 mg) 
• 404.25 mg of Phosphorus (P) = 67.37 % of RDA (around 600 mg)
• 136.5 mg of Magnesium (Mg) = 39% of RDA (around 350 mg) 
• 41.79 mg of Sodium (Na) = 2.19% of RDA (around 1902 mg)
• 2.1 mg of Vitamin B3, Niacin = 17.5% of RDA (around 12 mg) 
• 3.99 mg of Iron (Fe) = 19% of RDA (around 21 mg) 
• 138.60 mcg of Folic Acid = 69.30% of RDA (around 200 mcg) 
• 3.15 mg of Zinc (Zn) = 31.50% of RDA (around 10 to 12 mg) 
• 840 mg of Potassium (K) = 17.87% of RDA (around 4,700 mg) 
 
Forms of Urad Dal in Ayurveda and Recommended Dosage 
Urad Dal in the Ayurvedic treatment is used in cooked and uncooked powdered form. If you have not consulted with your doctor regarding the dosage amount for each Urad dal form, you can then follow these dosage recommendations:
• Cooked Urad dal
⮚ Around 200 g of Urad dal is to be soaked in water for about 3-4 hours.
⮚ The dal then has to be pressure cooked in about 2-3cups of water in a cooker for 3-4 whistles.
⮚ 1 tbs of desi ghee has to be added to a pan and then heated for a while.
⮚ Some ghee has to be put in a different dish, and cumin seeds, red chilies, garlic, onion, and salt has to be added to the dish. After you observe that it is cooked a bit, add urad dal to it and continue cooking for a while.
⮚ It can also be garnished with coriander leaves.
 
• Urad dal flour
⮚ ½-1 cup of urad dal is to be soaked for 2-3 hours in the water after being washed.
⮚ After draining the water, you can grind urad dal with some water to make a smooth paste out of it. 
 
Side effects of Urad Dal
Observationally, there aren't any such side effects or Urad dal, but since it takes higher than normal to digest, it is recommended not to consume it at night if you suffer from constipation.
 
It tends to increase uric acid content in the blood, which can lead to kidney stones accumulation.
 
Precautionary guide while using Urad Dal?
It is advised for the pregnant ladies who deal with constipation to avoid consuming Urad dal dishes. It is also advised that if you have any allergic reaction to the pulse, you should consult the doctor before adding it to your diet. It is generally fit for consumption by people.
 
FAQ's about Urad Dal
 
1. Is Urad dal a rich source of protein?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: Urad dal is a very rich protein source, and about 25 g of protein is present in 100 g of urad dal.
 
2. For how long should the Urad dal be soaked? 
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: The type of urad highly determines the time for which it has to be soaked. The entire dark Urad dal should be soaked overnight. The split highly contrasting black and white Urad dal should be soaked for 15-30 minutes.
 
3. Can Urad dal cure osteoarthritis? 
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: Urad dal is proved to be good to handle the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Degeneration of the cartilage is involved in Osteoarthritis. It causes inflammation, stiffness of joints, and pain. This causes a restriction to the movements of joints. The degeneration of cartilage is slowed down by Urad dal. It has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant properties. It additionally improves movements of the joints and strength. 
 
4. Does Urad dal help in diabetes?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: Urad has been proven good to rectify people with diabetes. It prevents the quick increase in glucose level in the blood because it has a low glycemic index.
 
5. Can Urad dal rectify piles?
AYURVEDIC VIEW: Urad dal has a Guru (heavy) nature that helps rectify and control piles. It should be taken in small quantities since it takes longer to digest.
 
6. Can Urad dal cure constipation?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: There isn't much scientific evidence that proves that Urad dal can be used to cure Urad dal, but there is a possibility since it has laxative properties.
 
7. Can Urad dal treat indigestion?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: There aren’t any scientific proofs that back up the argument that Urad dal is good enough to treat indigestion. 
AYURVEDIC VIEW: Urad dal can be consumed in case of indigestion. Ushna (hot) nature of the stomach is removed by Urad dal as it helps balance it. It should be taken in small quantities since it takes time to digest due to its Guru (heavy) nature. 
 
8. Can Urad dal be used to manage bloating/gas?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: Urad dal has laxative properties, and although there aren't many scientific pieces of evidence, it may come into use.
AYURVEDIC VIEW: Ushna (hot) is responsible for bloating, and correcting it helps rectify bloating and gas. It also has Rechana (laxative) property. It can cause gas if it's taken in high quantities as it takes a lot of time to digest because of its Guru (heavy) nature.
 
9. Is Urad dal responsible for acidity?
AYURVEDIC VIEW: Due to its Ushna (hot) nature, Urad dal improves digestive power and corrects indigestion. It can cause acidity due to its Guru (heavy) nature as it takes time to digest.
 
10. Is Urad dal good during pregnancy?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: Urad dal can be consumed during pregnancy because it has no severe side effects. If the woman deals with constipation, it should be avoided because it takes longer to digest.
 
11. Is Urad dal beneficial for skin and hair?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: Skin whitening and hair growth is promoted by Urad dal. It contains an enzyme called tyrosinase, which reduces melanin production. Urad dal promotes whitening of the skin and reduces hyperpigmentation. Urad dal helps in strengthening and lengthening the hair. It helps in maintaining the color of the hair and manages dandruff.
 
12. Does Urad dal help lower pain and inflammation?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: Urad dal has anti-inflammatory properties, and it helps in lowering the pain. Urad processed herbal oil helps reduce inflammation and pain when massaged on the affected area with it.
AYURVEDIC VIEW: Taking Urad dal internally and applying it externally helps reduce it has proven to be effective in managing pain and inflammation. Urad dal has Vata balancing and Ropan (healing) properties that reduce inflammation and pain when its oil is massaged on the affected area.
 
13. Can Urad dal prevent kidney stones?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: There is not enough scientific evidence that proves that urad dal helps prevent kidney stones.
 
14. Can Urad dal boost bone mineral density?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: Urad dal has minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium to improve bone mineral density. With a good and high amount of minerals, it can maintain bone health.
AYURVEDIC VIEW:  The requirements of the body are fulfilled by regular consumption of Urad dal. Urad has Balya (strength provider) properties that help maintain bone density. 
 
15. Can urad dal lead to an increased weight?
MODERN SCIENCE VIEW: There aren't enough medical pieces of evidence that prove and support Urad's role in weight gain.
AYURVEDIC VIEW: Urad dal fulfills the body's nutritional requirements if consumed daily, which helps gain weight due to its properties like Balya (strength provider) and Guru (heavy).

NS Desk

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