Herb: Chick Pea

Latin name: Cicer arietinum

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Chick Pea:

An acid exudation from the seedpods is astringent. It has been used in the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation and snakebite.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Unknown in the wild.

Edible parts of Chick Pea:

Seed - raw or cooked. The fresh or dried seed is cooked in soups, stews etc. It has a somewhat sweet flavour and a floury texture somewhat reminiscent of sweet chestnuts. The mature seed can also be sprouted and eaten raw. Parched seeds can be eaten as a snack. The seed can also be ground into a meal and used with cereal flours for making bread, cakes etc. The seed is a good source of carbohydrates and protein. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute. The roasted root can also be used. Both the young seedpods and the young shoots are said to be edible but some caution is advised. See the notes above on toxicity. A refreshing drink can be made from the acid dew that collects on the hairy seedpods overnight.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow April/May in situ under cloches. Chick peas can germinate at lower temperatures than broad beans. Could an early spring or even autumn sowing outdoors be successful?

Cultivation of Chick Pea:

Unknown in the wild.

Known hazards of Cicer arietinum:

The foliage and seedpods contain oxalic acid and can irritate the skin. There is also one report that the foliage is poisonous - this might relate to the oxalic acid. Oxalic acid can lock up certain nutrients in the diet, especially calcium, and therefore heavy use of foods that contain this substance can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Cooking will greatly reduce the oxalic acid content. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since the oxalic acid can aggravate their condition.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.