Abrin, a constituent of jequirity (Abrus precatorius), is toxic and ingestion of one bean by a child may be fatal. However, the boiled seeds of Abrus precatorius L. are eaten by the residents of the Andaman Islands in India; boiling the seeds reportedly deactivates the toxins. Abrin is being investigated for the treatment of experimental cancers and is used as a "molecular probe" to investigate cell function.
In folk medicine, jequirity is used orally to quicken labor, as an abortifacient (induces abortion), oral contraceptive, to treat diabetes and chronic nephritis (kidney inflammation), and as analgesic (pain reliever) in terminally ill patients. The whole plant has been used for ophthalmic (eye) inflammations.
Abrin, abrin A, abrin B, abrin C, abrus a chapelet, Abrusabrus (L.) W. Wight, Abrus cantoniensis, Abrus precatorius, Linn., Abrus pulchellus, abrus seed, aivoeiro, arraccu-mitim, ayurvedic phytomedicine, bead vine, black-eyed Susan, blackeyed Susan, Buddhist rosary bead, cain ghe, Carolina muida, colorine, coral bean, crab's eye, crabs eye, deadly crab's eye, Glycine abrus L., graines reglisse, gunchi, gunja, hint meyankoku, hung tou, Indian bead, Indian licorice, Indian liquorice, jequerit, jequirity bean, jequirity seed, jumble beads, juquiriti, lady bug bean, lady bug seed, legume, Leguminosae (family), liane reglisse, love bean, lucky bean, ma liao tou, ojo de pajaro, paratella, paternoster, peonia de St. Tomas, peonia, peronilla, phytotoxin, Pois rouge, prayer beads, prayer head, precatory bean, rakat, reglisse, rosary beads, rosary pea, ruti, rutti, Seminole bead, tentos da America, temtos dos mundos, tento muido, to-azuki, tribal pulse, weather plant, weesboontje, wild licorice.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.