Scientific names   
Phaseolus lunatus L.      
Phaseolus inamoenus Blanco      
Phaseolus ilocanus Blanco      
Phaseolus tunkinensis Lour.      
Phaseolus vexillatus Blanco      
Phaseolus vulgaris Blanco      

Common names

Bulai-patani (Tag.)
Buni (Bag.)
Buriñgi (Tag.)
Butiñgi (Tag.)
Gulipatan (Ibn.)
Haba (Span.)
Other vernacular names

BURMESE : Htawbat pe, Kal beir kan, Kawl be, Pe bra, Pe byu gyi, Pe gya, Santagu pe, Tim sin, Tunoran.
CHINESE: Xue dou.
CZECH : Fazol barmský, Fazol měsíční .
DANISH : Limabønne, Månebønne, Sukkerbønne.
DUTCH : Indische maanboon, Lima-boon.
FRENCH : Fève créole, Haricot de Lima, Haricot lima à gros grains, Haricot de Madagascar, Haricot du Cap, Pois de 7 ans, Pois de Java, Pois du Cap, Pois souche.
GERMAN : Indische Mondbohne, Limabohne, Mondbohne.
ITALIAN : Fagiolo del Capo, Fagiolo detto di Lima, Fagiolo di Lima.
JAPANESE: Rai mame, Aoi mame.
MALAY : Kacang China, Kacang Jawa, Kacang kara, Kacang s'ringing, Kekara (Indonesia), Koro legi (Indonesia), Kratok (Indonesia).
PORTUGUESE : Feijão-de-Lima, Feijão-fava.
RUSSIAN: Fasol' lima, Fasol' limskaia, Fasol' lunoobraznaia, Fasol' lunovidnaia lima, Limskaia fasol'.
SLOVAKIAN : Fazuľa mesiacovitá .
SPANISH : Alubia de Lima, Chilipuca, Chilipuco, Frijol de Lima, Frijol de luna, Frijol lima, Frijol manteca,, Frijol mantequilla, Fríjol reina, Frijol viterra, Garrofó, Haba pallar, Judía de Lima, Judía de manteca, Judía, Layo) Palato, Pallar (Peru), Poroto manteca, Torta.
THAI: Thua rachamat.

Patani is a climbing, slender, annual, smooth, sparingly hairy, herbaceous vine reaching a length of 4 or more meters. Leaves are thin, compound with three leaflets which are ovate, 6 to 12 centimeters long, rounded at the base and pointed at the tip. Flowers are greenish or pale yellow, about 10 to 13 millimeters long, on axillary and solitary racemes 8 to 20 centimeters long. Pods are oblong and slightly curved, 6 to 12 centimeters long, about 2 centimeters wide, containing 1 to 4 large, variously colored, white, greenish or purplish seeds.


- Thoroughly naturalized.
- A wild variety is common in thickets at low and medium altitudes, ascending to 2,000 meters.
- Extensively cultivated for its edible seeds.
- Introduced from tropical America.
- Now pantropic.


• The seeds of the wild lima variety, especially the dark purple beans, yield phaseolunatin, C10H17O6N, a cyanogenetic glucoside, in dangerous amounts; very minimal in the cultivated variety.
• The leaves and stems also contain phaseolunatin, but not in the roots.

• Study of hydrocyanic acid content of patani varieties grown in Philippines showed: Wild variety, 0.060-0.240; semiwild, 0.049-0.055; cultivated variety, 0.030; green beans, wild variety, 0.030; and green beans, cultivated, 0.011 percent HCN.
• High in carbohydrate and protein, fair in iron, and deficient in calcium.
• In isolates, protein content was found to be 71%.
• Contains a number of anti-nutrients. Raw lima beans contain cyanide, trypsin-inhibitor, lectin, phytin and tannin. Autoclaving removes all of the antinutrients except tannin. Soaking removes trypsin inhibitors and lectin.
• Contains linamarin, a cyanogenic glucoside; safe when cooked.


• The seeds of the wild lima variety may be poisonous.


Edibility / Nutritional
• Edible: Leaves, seeds, seedpods.
• Usually eaten as a green bean or before it becomes dry and hard.
• The cultivated patani is a popular vegetable; the white variety considered the best. The colored variety should be boiled in several changes of water.

Toxicity concerns

• A form of patani with dark-colored seeds is common in thickets in parts of the Philippines. Seeds are edible, but sometimes may be poisonous, and deaths have been reported.
• A wild lima bean or dark-colored variety may be poisonous with dangerous amounts of phaseolunatin. The cultivated bean is free or contains very small quantities of this glucoside.


Hypolipidemic: In dietary-induced hypercholesterolemic rats, there was a significant reduction of serum lipids in rats fed the lima beans Legume Diet and Saponin diet which was attributed to the saponin in the legume.The resuts suggest the consumption of lima beans can be recommended to lower cholesterol and promote cardiovascular health. (1)

Lunatusin / Antimicrobial / Antimicrobial / Antiproliferative: Lunatusin, an anti-fungal peptide was purified from the seeds of Chinese lima bean. It exhibited anti-fungal and antibacterial activities, anti-proliferative activity in a breast cancer line among other effects. (3)

Estrogen-like Activity: Study suggested molecular mechanisms and different pathways in the estrogen-like activities of the ethanol extracts of Adzuki bean and Lima bean. (4)

Trypsin Inhibitors / Reverse Transcriptase Inhibition: Study showed the trypsin inhibitor from P lunatus was able to inhibit HIV-1 reverse-transcriptase. (5)

Lectin: Lectin-related polypeptides are a class of defense proteins found in the seeds of Phaseolus species. Such proteins and their genes have been characterized in lima bean. (7)

Toxicity: Raw lima beans in a feeding broiler starter diet trial hindered growth in chicks and produced serious histopathological changes in the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen and lungs. (8)

Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic / Hepato-Nephroprotective: Study evaluated the effect of heat-treated lima beans on serum glucose and some biochemical parameters in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Results showed heat-treated lima beans has a significant hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects in diabetic rats. In addition, study showed protection of liver and kidney functions. (10)

Hypoglycemic / Alpha-Amylase Inhibiting Activity: The common white bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) produces an alpha-amylase inhibitor. A specific proprietary product, Phase 2 Carb Controller, has the potential to induce weight loss and reduce sugar spikes in blood sugar caused by carbohydrates through it alpha-amylase inhibiting activity. (11)

Weight Loss / Alpha-Amylase Inhibiting Activity / CHO Blockers: The mechanism of weight loss from taking bean extract was attributed to alpha-amylase inhibiting activity. In vitro study of the extract has shown inhibition of alpha-amylase, promoting weight loss by interfering with digestion of complex carbohydrates to simple absorbable sugars, with potential reduction of carbohydrate-derived calories. (12)

Lima Bean Protein Hydolysates / Antihypertensive / ACE-1 Inhibitory Activity: Lima bean protein hydrolysates prepared with Alcalase or pepsin-pancreatin are a potential ingredient in the production of physiologically functional foods with antihypertensive activity. In the study, pepsin-pancreatin hydrolysates exhibited the highest ACE inhibitory activity. (13)

Wild and cultivated.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1)The Effects of Heat Treated Lima Beans (Phaseolus lunatus) on Plasma Lipids in Hypercholesterolemic Rats / H A Oboh and C O Omofoma / Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 7 (5): 636-639, 2008 / ISSN 1680-5194

(2)Functional Properties of Flours and Protein Isolates from Phaseolus lunatus and Canavalia ensiformis Seeds

(3)Lunatusin, a trypsin-stable antimicrobial peptide from lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus L.) / Jack Ho Wong and Tzi Bun Ng / Peptides / Volume 26, Issue 11, November 2005, Pages 2086-2092 / doi:10.1016/j.peptides.2005.03.004

(4)Effects of ethanol extracts from adzuki bean (Phaseolus angularis Wight.) and lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus L.) on estrogen and progesterone receptor phenotypes of MCF-7/BOS cells / Zhao Qing-Wei et al / PTR. Phytotherapy research • 2007, vol. 21, no7, pp. 648-652

(5)Examination of Lectins, Polysaccharopeptide, Polysaccharide, Alkaloid, Coumarin and Trypsin Inhibitors for Inhibitory Activity Against Human Immunodeficiency Virus Reverse Transcriptase and Glycohydrolases / H X Wang and T B Ng / Planta Med 2001; 67: 669-672 / DOI: 10.1055/s-2001-1735

(6)Lima bean • Allergens within Food of Plant Origin / ImmunoCAP Allergens

(7)Lectin and lectin-related proteins in lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus L.) seeds: biochemical and evolutionary studies / Sparvoli F et al / Plant Mol Biol. 2001 Mar;45(5):587-97

(8)Toxicity of raw limabeans [Phaseolus Lunatus L.) and limabean fractions for growing chicks / A D Ologhobo et al / British Poultry Science, Volume 34, Issue 3 July 1993 , pages 505 - 522 / DOI: 10.1080/00071669308417606


(10)BIOCHEMICAL EVALUATION OF LIMA BEANS (Phaseolus lunatus) IN ALLOXAN INDUCED DIABETIC RATS / Ojo Rotimi Johnson, Segilola Lanre Isaac, Ogundele Olalekan Michael, Akintayo Christopher Oloruntoba and Seriki Samuel / ARPN Journal of Agricultural and Biological Science, VOL. 8, NO. 4, APRIL 2013

(11)A proprietary alpha-amylase inhibitor from white bean (Phaseolus vulgaris): A review of clinical studies on weight loss and glycemic control / Marilyn L Barrett and Jay K Udani / Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:24 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-24

(12)Enhanced Weight Loss From a Dietary Supplement Containing Standardized Phaseolus vulgaris Extract in Overweight Men and Women / Xiangming Wu MD, Xiaofeng Xu MS, Jianguo Shen MD, Nicholas V. Perricone, Harry G. Preuss, MD / The Journal of Applied Research • Vol.10, No. 2, 2010.

(13)Lima Bean (Phaseolus lunatus) Protein Hydrolysates with ACE-I Inhibitory Activity / Luis Chel-Guerrero, Mario Domínguez-Magaña, Alma Martínez-Ayala, Gloria Dávila-Ortiz, David Betancur-Ancona / Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2012, 3, 511-521 511 / doi:10.4236/fns.2012.34072