Rabu, 20 November 2013

Bay Bean Uses

The bay bean is a pea-like bean obtained from the canavalia plant. The peas grow in pods on the plant and are harvested, dried and used as herbs and a tobacco substitute. The bay bean has a long history of medicinal and sacred use within the eastern Mexican states where it thrives.


    Canavalias are long vines that grow on undergrowth in hot, coastal and subtropical regions, particularly in the salty sand of Gulf Coast Mexico. The vines can grow up to 20 feet and produce light purple flowers approximately 2 inches in size. Bay beans, also referred to as the beach bean, seaside or coastal Jack-bean, and MacKenzie bean, grow in pods of 4 to 6 inches in length and can be harvested when they become rigid at the edges.


    The bay bean is only recently becoming popular in usage once again, however, the bean was once used in rituals conducted by Mazatecs Mexican natives. The leaves of the plant were placed around the edges of graves in death rituals to honor and protect the dead. Due to its mildly psychoactive effect, it was used in large, highly concentrated doses as a way to induce spiritual visions. The bean and leaves were both considered to have sacred, magical power in native Peruvian tribes and were ingested as a part of ceremonies and rituals.

Producing Bay Bean Products

    Bay bean plants are mostly harvested in the wild as they are very common and extremely hardy. Once harvested, the leaves and stems are dried to produce a tobacco-like mixture for smoking. The bay beans are dried and crushed into a fine powder. The powder is then added to the dried leaves and stems, or placed in capsules for oral ingestion. The leaf, stem and powder mixture is sold as a tobacco substitute and can be rolled into cigarette or cigar papers for smoking.

Contemporary Uses

    The bay bean as well as the remainder of the canavalia plant are commonly used as a tobacco substitute. The flavor of the plant is considered to be more rich than common tobacco. Within Mexico and other subtropical countries, smoking bay bean and canavalia plant is very common. Bay bean contains L-Betonicine, a mildly psychoactive drug that is legal in the United States, however, it can be combined with tobacco to lessen the mild effect of the drug. The effects of smoking or ingesting bay bean include a mild feeling of relaxation. In other countries, bay bean is also used as a potentiator for similar herbs.

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