Herb: White Lupin

Latin name: Lupinus albus

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of White Lupin:

The seeds, taken internally, are diuretic, emmenagogue, hypoglycaemic and vermifuge. When bruised and soaked in water they are used as a poultice on ulcers etc.

Description of the plant:


120 cm
(4 feet)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Disturbed ground on acid soils.

Edible parts of White Lupin:

Seed - cooked. Used as a protein-rich vegetable or savoury dish in any of the ways that cooked beans are used, they can also be roasted or ground into a powder and mixed with cereal flours in making bread etc. If the seed is bitter this is due to the presence of toxic alkaloids and the seed should be thoroughly leached by soaking it and then discarding the soak water before cooking. Seeds contain 32 - 40% protein, 8 - 12% oil. The roasted seeds can be used as a snack in much the same way as peanuts. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. The roasted seed is used as a coffee substitute.

Other uses of the herb:

The seed contains up to 12% oil. This is used in making soap. A fibre obtained from the stems is used for making cloth etc. A cosmetic face-mask can be made from lupin flour, this is used to invigorate tired skin. A useful spring-sown green manure crop, especially on light soils. It is deep rooting, fairly fast growing, produces a good bulk and fixes atmospheric nitrogen.

Propagation of White Lupin:

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and sow in mid spring in situ. You may need to protect the seed from mice. Germination should take place within 2 weeks.

Cultivation of the herb:

Disturbed ground on acid soils.

Known hazards of Lupinus albus:

The seed of many lupin species contain bitter-tasting toxic alkaloids, though there are often sweet varieties within that species that are completely wholesome. Taste is a very clear indicator. These toxic alkaloids can be leeched out of the seed by soaking it overnight and discarding the soak water. It may also be necessary to change the water once during cooking. Fungal toxins also readily invade the crushed seed and can cause chronic illness.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.