Calabar Bean: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, and Other Important Information


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Calabar Bean’s scientific name is Physostigma venenosum. Calabar Bean is a plant indigenous to West Africa and has long been valued for its therapeutic benefits. In-depth information on Calabar Bean’s nature, health advantages, recommended dose, negative effects, possible drug interactions, and appropriate usage are all included on this page. Readers may learn more about the potential of the Calabar Bean as a nutritional supplement by using this article and diving into its chemistry and its physiological mode of action on the body and brain. Use the information within as part of your decision-making process as to whether trying Calabar Bean is right for you.

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Calabar Bean: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, and Other Important Information is an original (NootropicsPlanet) article.

Nature of Calabar Bean

The leguminous plant, Calabar Bean, or Physostigma venenosum, is indigenous to West Africa. It gets its name from the Nigerian Calabar area, where it was initially found. The plant normally develops into a vine and produces bean-seed-containing pods.

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Due to its main ingredient, physostigmine (eserine), the Calabar Bean has long been known for its therapeutic benefits. Benefits of consumption of it have undergone substantial research. Calabar Bean is a powerful alkaloid and reversible cholinesterase inhibitor, physostigmine. This substance is mostly present in the seeds of the Calabar Bean and is in charge of the pharmacological effects of the plant.

The Calabar Bean plant produces beans that are generally cylindrical in form and have a firm, dark-brown shell. The beans’ inside contains tiny, dark brown seeds. The seeds of the Calabar Bean are a good source of physostigmine due to their high physostigmine concentration.

Calabar Bean has a very concentrated amount of physostigmine, taking up to 1-2% of the weight of the seed. The plant’s cholinergic effects and its capacity to suppress the action of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, are caused by this powerful alkaloid.

In addition to physostigmine, the Calabar Bean also contains minor amounts of the alkaloids Calabarine, calabatannin, and venenatine. These substances add to the overall pharmacological profile of Calabar Bean, although less is known about their precise effects and modes of action than physostigmine.

Although Calabar Bean is well known for its therapeutic benefits, it also contains poisonous alkaloids, especially in the outer shell of the seeds. Therefore, before the beans are utilized for medical reasons, thorough processing and preparation are required to either eliminate or neutralize these poisons.

Calabar Bean’s substantial physostigmine content, which displays strong cholinergic effects and acetylcholinesterase inhibitory action, is what makes it unique as a medicinal herb. Calabar Bean’s medicinal potential is due to its distinctive chemical makeup, which is especially useful in the treatment of diseases including glaucoma, myasthenia gravis, and cognitive improvement. However, when contemplating the use of Calabar Bean for medical reasons, safe usage and professional assistance are important owing to its toxicity and potency.

Health Benefits of Calabar Bean

  1. Cognitive Enhancement: Calabar Bean is a good option for enhancing cognitive function due to its acetylcholinesterase inhibitory characteristics. Acetylcholine availability in the brain is increased, which improves memory, attention, and general cognitive function.
  1. Glaucoma Treatment: Physostigmine is used to treat glaucoma, a disorder marked by elevated pressure within the eye, as a result of its capacity to constrict the pupil and decrease intraocular pressure. The symptoms of glaucoma are helped by it, and it may also stop the disease’s development.
  1. Management of Myasthenia Gravis: Calabar Bean has shown effectiveness in the treatment of myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular condition that results in muscle weakening. The plant increases muscle strength by extending acetylcholine’s activity at the neuromuscular junction by blocking acetylcholinesterase.
Glaucoma Treatment.

Chemistry of Calabar Bean

Calabar Bean contains a number of active substances, with physostigmine (eserine) as the most prominent. Alkaloid physostigmine is a member of the group of substances referred to as reversible cholinesterase inhibitors. With a chemical formula of C15H21N3O2, it is a tertiary amine.

Physiological Mechanisms of Action

  1. Acetylcholinesterase Inhibition: Acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme that degrades the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, is the main mechanism of action of physostigmine in Calabar Bean. Physostigmine prolongs the action of acetylcholine by increasing its concentration in the synaptic cleft, boosting cholinergic neurotransmission, and blocking AChE.
  1. Cholinergic Effects: Acetylcholine is more readily available in the brain and peripheral nervous system, which results in a variety of cholinergic effects. This chemical improves memory, attention, and cognitive function in the central nervous system. It also activates neuromuscular connections in the peripheral nervous system, resulting in stronger muscles.
  1. Constriction of the pupil: Physostigmine interacts with muscarinic receptors in the iris sphincter muscle, causing the pupil to constrict (miosis). The use of this action to constrict the pupil lowers intraocular pressure in the treatment of glaucoma.
  1. Circulatory Effects: The circulatory system is likewise impacted by physostigmine. As a result, there is a drop in heart rate (bradycardia) and an increase in the force of contraction. It also enhances the release of acetylcholine at the cardiac parasympathetic nerve terminals.
  1. Effects on the Digestive System: The cholinergic qualities of Calabar Bean induce smooth muscle activity in the digestive system, aiding in digestion and peristalsis.

Overall, acetylcholinesterase is inhibited by Calabar Bean’s physiological processes, which are principally mediated by physostigmine. As a consequence, acetylcholine levels and cholinergic neurotransmission in the central and peripheral nervous systems are boosted. Additionally, it positively impacts the digestive and cardiovascular systems.

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Although Calabar Bean has shown therapeutic advantages, its strong cholinergic activity necessitates prudent usage to prevent any negative effects and interactions with other drugs or substances.

Heart beat.

Optimal Dosage of Calabar Bean

Calabar Bean’s potency necessitates your careful attention while determining the best dose. It is essential to speak with your medical practitioner or an authority in herbal medicine. The intended result, individual characteristics, and possible drug interactions may all affect dosage recommendations.

  1. Professional Advice: Consult with a licensed healthcare provider or herbal medicine specialist who is knowledgeable and experienced with Calabar Bean. To provide individualized dose recommendations, they may evaluate your particular requirements, medical background, and ongoing drugs.
  1. Start modestly and Slowly: Start with a modest dose and gradually raise it over time, paying careful attention to how your body reacts. This method aids in determining the ideal dose that delivers the intended results without producing undesirable side effects.
  1. Take Physostigmine Content into Account: Calabar Beans might contain varying amounts of Physostigmine. If you’re utilizing Calabar Bean supplements or extracts, pay close attention to the dose recommendations provided by the manufacturer. These recommendations are often dependent on the amount of physostigmine in the particular product.
  1. Individual Factors: The ideal dose may vary depending on your age, weight, general health, and sensitivity to the substance. Calabar Bean processing and response in the body may be influenced by variables including metabolism and liver function.
  1. Balanced Approach: Compare and contrast the risks and side effects with any possible advantages. Finding the dose that produces the desired results while reducing the possibility of negative responses is crucial.
  1. Monitoring and Adjustment: Keep a close eye on how Calabar Bean is working for you and note any changes in your symptoms or general wellbeing. Consult a medical expert if you encounter any adverse effects or pain so they can assess the situation and maybe change the dose.

Side Effects of Calabar Bean

Calabar Bean has several health advantages, but it’s important to be aware of any possible negative effects as well. If you ingest it excessively or improperly, adverse effects might happen. Typical negative consequences include:

  1. Nausea and vomiting: The herb’s direct actions on the digestive tract may cause these symptoms.
  1. Increased Salivation: The cholinergic effects of Calabar Bean may cause excessive salivation, which some people find irritating.
  1. Sweating and Flushing: The autonomic nervous system is affected by physostigmine, which might result in more sweating and skin flushing.
Skin allergy.

Substance Interactions

It is essential to get medical advice before using Calabar Bean since it may interact with certain drugs and substances. Interactions that might occur include:

  1. Anticholinergic Drugs: The acetylcholinesterase inhibitory qualities of Calabar Bean may interact with drugs that have anticholinergic effects, resulting in an imbalance in the activity of neurotransmitters.
  1. Other Cholinergic drugs: When Calabar Bean is used with other cholinergic drugs, the danger of adverse effects may rise, or the pharmacological effects may be enhanced over the acceptable level.
  1. Beta-Blockers: Beta-blockers used to treat hypertension or cardiac disorders may interact with the effects of Calabar Bean on the cardiovascular system, such as elevated heart rate.

Responsible Uses of Calabar Bean

This article advises you to observe the following rules while using Calabar Beans to guarantee safety and responsibility:

  1. Consultation: Seek advice from a medical practitioner or herbal medicine specialist who can evaluate specific situations and provide the right dose.
  2. Monitoring: It’s essential to assess symptoms regularly and probable side effects in order to spot any negative responses and change the dose as necessary.
  3. Individual Variations: Be aware that everyone will react to Calabar Bean differently, and the ideal dose may change depending on things like age, weight, and general health.

Calabar Bean:


Calabar Bean is a powerful plant that has a long history and high potential for facilitating health.  With the power of this plant, comes great responsibility in ingesting and administering it as part of your diet.  The positive effects can be great, such as improvement in certain brain functions.  The dangers are also severe, as without proper preparation and inattention to dosages, consuming it can be hazardous/poisonous. Substances within the plant can help the eyes, brain, digestive system, cardiovascular system, and more.  Proceed with caution as you consider consuming this native African plant as a supplement.

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Nuts for healthy brain.


  1. “Effects of adaptogens on the central nervous system and the molecular mechanisms associated with their stress-protective activity.” Retrieved From:
  2. “The Calabar bean and physostigmine: from African ethno-jurisprudence to medicinal discovery and modern pharmacotherapeutics.” Retrieved From:
  3. “The Properties and Uses of the Calabar Bean – Translated for the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal.” Retrieved from:

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

Regarding Nutritional Supplements Or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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