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Bambara Groundnut

Vigna Subterranea

Bambara Groundnut, also known as Vigna Subterranea, is a leguminous plant. Its seeds are highly nutritious and we can consider them a complete food. The health benefits of Bambara Groundnut are due to the abundance of some nutrients, which are present in them. It provides relief from general debility, weakness, prolonged or heavy menstruation, insomnia, malnutrition etc. It also promotes red blood cell production, so it is good food for people suffering with anemia. Bambara groundnuts are more nutritious when we compare them with Cow’s milk.

Botanical Description

Bambara Groundnut shares pea family (Fabaceae), which is also named as bean family, legume or pulse family.

Scientific Name Vigna Subterranea
Plant Family Fabaceae
Other Names Bambara-Bean, Bogor peanut, Congo Goober,  cokon, Earth Pea, Ground Bean, Hog Peanut, indlubu, kacangBogor, Nyimo bean

Botanical Classification (Taxonomy)

Division Angiosperms
Class Magnoliopsida
Subclass Eudicots
Super Order Rosids
Order Fabales
Family Fabaceae
Genus Vigna
Species V. Subterranea

Plant Description

Type of Plant Legumes
Native Range (Geographic Distribution) West Africa
Height (grows up to) 10 – 25 cm
Habitat (type of environment) 1. Tropical dry and wet  2. Subtropical dry summer
Optimal temperature Between 19°C to 32°C
Optimal soils Sandy soils
Roots Roots have many nitrogen-fixing nodules.
Pods 1. Round and wrinkled  2. About ½ inch long
Seeds Pod contains one or two seeds, which are round and smooth. Dried seeds are very hard. Seed color may be brown, cream and red.

Nutrition Facts

Bambara groundnut has a significant nutritional value, which is comparable with milk products. It is rich in protein, carbohydrates and fiber content. It is highly nutritious and a complete food.

Major Nutrients

Major Nutrient Value per 100 g
Total Calories 394
Calories from Fat 54
Total Fat 6 – 6.5 grams
   Trans Fat 0 mg
   Cholesterol 0 mg
Protein 20 grams
Total Carbohydrate 65 grams
Dietary Fiber 6 grams
Moisture Content 1.5 to 2.5 g


Minerals Value per 100 g
Calcium, Ca 14 – 18 mg
Iron, Fe 0.15 mg
Magnesium, Mg
Phosphorus, P 164 – 187 mg
Potassium, K 57 – 80 mg
Sodium, Na 19 – 25 mg
Zinc, Zn
Manganese 50 to 70 mg
Selenium 0 – 0.21 mg

Note: Information is based on 2000 calories diet and approximate values are provided.

Medicinal Parts

In medicines, seeds (also called nuts) are used for various health and nutritional benefits.

Medicinal Properties

Bambara groundnut has following healing properties.

  1. Nutritious tonic
  2. Anti-arthritic
  3. Aphrodisiac
  4. Probiotic

Therapeutic Indications

Bambara groundnut is helpful in following health conditions.

  1. Malnutrition
  2. Kwashiorkor
  3. General debility
  4. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  5. Physical exhaustion
  6. Insomnia
  7. Low bone mineral density
  8. Cancer
  9. Irritable bowel syndrome & Diarrhea
  10. Heavy or prolonged menstruation
  11. Ulcer
  12. Anemia
  13. Osteoarthritis

Health Benefits of Bambara groundnut

Bambara groundnut is beneficial in following health conditions.


Bambara groundnuts are nutritious nuts, which helps in malnutrition. These are considered as a complete food, which provide almost all major nutrients to compensate the daily requirement. 100 grams Bambara groundnuts can provide around 395 calories from which about 260 calories from carbohydrates, 54 calories from fat and 80 calories from protein content.


Bamabara groundnut flour is rich in protein content, so it is a good food for children suffering with protein deficiency, also called Kwashiorkor.

General debility

Bamabara groundnut gives strength to the body and reduces physical exhaustion. These effects are due to high protein content present in Bamabara groundnut.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Some people feel extreme fatigue without any underlying medical condition. It is known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Bamabara groundnuts are very effective for reducing fatigue and providing strength in such people.


Bambara groundnuts contains good amount of amino acid tryptophan, which helps in secretion of serotonin in the brain. It regulars healthy sleeping pattern and induces a good sleep.

Serotonin also has other effects on the activity related to the brain namely battles depression, alleviates mood swings and helps to control weight.

Low bone mineral density

Bamabara groundnut contains a good amount of lysine amino acid, which helps in proper absorption of calcium in the body and aids in increasing bone mineral density.


The antioxidant properties of seeds of Bambara groundnut plant help preventing cancer by restricting absorption and production of carcinogens in the body.

Irritable bowel syndrome & Diarrhea

Bambara groundnut is rich in beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics. Its milk is used for therapeutic purposes in diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. It reduces the frequency of passing stool and helps in maintaining consistency of stool.

Heavy or prolonged menstruation

Bambara groundnut is a good home remedy for heavy and prolonged menstruation. It can be used on regular basis for at least three months. Just eating 10 to 20 grams Bambara groundnuts with milk can help in this condition.

Stomach Ulcer

Bambara groundnuts help preventing damage to the stomach mucus linings. It action might be due to ulcer healing property. However, alone Bambara groundnuts would not help in this condition, other remedies might also require, but you can use it as anti-ulcer food.


Bambara groundnuts are good source of iron and other nutrients, which help in production of RBC’s (Red blood cells).

Other benefits

  1. It is good food for patient with osteoarthritis.
  2. Bambara groundnuts contain amino acid Valine, which is important for tissue repair and maintaining body’s nitrogen balance. It helps regulating proper muscle metabolism.
  3. It is also recommended in the treatment of irregular menstrual cycle, polymenorrhea and dysmenorrhea.


There is no defined therapeutic dosage for Bambara Groundnuts, but we recommend using it 10 grams to 20 grams a day for therapeutic purposes and should not take regularly more than 3 months.

Its use as food would be better because it is a complete food and beneficial for providing good nutrition all age groups.

Caution & Side Effects

Bambara Groundnuts are POSSIBLY SAFE when taken in food amounts. Medicinal value of Bambara Groundnuts is due to its nutritional value, but there is no defined therapeutic dosage for them. Thus, you should use it as a healthy food instead using it as medicine.

Allergic reaction

If you are allergic to other legumes, you might also have allergy with Bambara Groundnuts. Therefore, you should avoid taking them or consult your doctor before using them.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Bambara groundnuts are POSSIBLY SAFE in food amounts when used occasionally.


Excess and regular intake can put on weight, but it is reported only when you exceed daily calorie requirement. Otherwise, it can help you feeling full abdomen and help coping with food craving.

Drug Interactions

Interaction of Bambara groundnuts with other medicines are yet unknown.

Editor’s Comment

Although Bambara groundnuts are very familiar for its nutritional value, they are still thought as one of the importantly overlooked and undervalued food.

The seeds of the Bambara groundnuts are used for making flour, also utilized in the manufacturing of beverages in virtue of its high protein content and antioxidant properties.


  1. Potential of Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea)
  2. Nutritional composition bambara groundnut seeds (vigna subterranea)
  3. Nutritional attributes of Bambara groundnut

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