Herb: Peanut

Latin name: Arachis hypogaea

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Peanut:

The oil from the seed is aperient, demulcent, emollient and pectoral. The seed is used mainly as a nutritive food. The seeds have been used in folk medicine as an anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac and decoagulant. Peanuts play a small role in various folk pharmacopoeias. In China the nuts are considered demulcent, pectoral, and peptic, the oil aperient and emollient, taken internally in milk for treating gonorrhoea, externally for treating rheumatism. In Zimbabwe the peanut is used in folk remedies for plantar warts. Haemostatic and vasoconstrictor activity are reported. The alcoholic extract is said to affect isolated smooth muscles and frog hearts like acetylcholine. The alcoholic lipoid fraction of the seed is said to prevent haemophiliac tendencies and for the treatment of some blood disorders (mucorrhagia and arthritic haemorrhages) in haemophilia.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild state.

Edible parts of Peanut:

Seed - raw, cooked or ground into a powder. Peanuts are a staple food in many tropical zones and are widely exported to temperate area of the world. The seeds have a delicious nutty flavour and can be eaten on their own either raw or roasted. The seeds are commonly ground up and used as peanut butter in sandwiches etc. They can also be cooked in a variety of dishes and are also ground into a powder when they can be used with cereals to greatly improve the protein content of breads, cakes etc. The seed is very rich in protein and oil, it is also a good source of minerals and vitamins, especially the B complex. A nutritional analysis is available. A non-drying edible oil is obtained from the seed. This is one of the most commonly used edible oils is the world. It is similar in composition to olive oil and is often used in cooking, making margarines, salad oils etc. The oilseed cake is said to be a good source of arginine and glutamic acid, used in treating mental deficiencies. The roasted seed makes an excellent coffee substitute. Young pods may be consumed as a vegetable. Young leaves and tips are suitable as a cooked green vegetable. Javanese use the tips for lablab, and germinating seeds to make toge.

Other uses of the herb:

The seeds yield a non-drying oil that has a wide range of uses including the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, soaps, cold creams, pomades and lubricants, paints, emulsions for insect control, and fuel for diesel engines. Peanut hulls are used for furfural, fuel, as a filler for fertilizers or for sweeping compounds.

Propagation of Peanut:

Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and sow the seed in mid spring in a warm greenhouse. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots of fairly rich soil and grow them on fast, planting them out after the last expected frosts and giving them some protection (such as a cloche) until they have settled down and are growing well.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in a truly wild state.

Known hazards of Arachis hypogaea:

Of greatest concern is possible contamination of damaged or spoiled seeds with the teratogenic, carcinogenic aflatoxins. Two principal toxins, aflatoxins B, and G, and their less toxic dihydro derivatives, aflatoxins B2 and G2 are formed by the aflatoxin producing moulds (Aspergillus flavus et al). Prevention of mould growth is the mainstay, there being no satisfactory way to remove the toxins from feed and foods (however, peanut oils are free of aflatoxins because of alkaline processing).

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.