This subshrub which has hairy twigs grows up to 1,5-3 m high (5 to
10 feet). The trifoliolate leaves are 5-15 cm long, the flowers are
racemes clustered in the form of pseudopanicles. They are bright
yellow sometimes stripped red. The fruit is a linear-oblong pod
hosting rounded cream colored edible seeds with a dark hilum.
Widely grown in tropical areas as a crop plant, moreover in India
and tropical Africa, this plant starts producing the first year,
yielding a better crop the following year and then starts fading
away. it is indeed a nutritious food, containing 19 to 20 % of
nitrogenous matter, 62 to 64 % of carbohydrates and 1,10 to 1,12 of
fat content. The tea made with its fresh leaves is used against
diarrhoea and the raw seeds have an action against enuresis. This
species will grow easily even in poor and dry soils.
Medical use:In India and Java, the young leaves are applied to
sores. Indochinese claim that powdered leaves help expel
bladderstones. Salted leaf juice is taken for jaundice. In Argentina
the leaf decoction is prized for genital and other skin irritations,
especially in females. Floral decoctions are used for bronchitis,
coughs, and pneumonia. Chinese shops sell dried roots as an
alexeritic, anthelminthic, expectorant, sedative, and vulnerary.
Leaves are also used for toothache, mouthwash, sore gums,
child-delivery, dysentery. Scorched seed, added to coffee, are said
to alleviate headache and vertigo. Fresh seeds are said to help
incontinence of urine in males, while immature fruits are believed
of use in liver and kidney ailments.