How is this True?

sarahbarah27(5)February 4, 2010

I was just getting a list together of plants that would be good to have in a childrens area of a garden. And I came across this website stating that green beans were poisonous if eaten raw! I have eaten raw green beans plenty of times and am still here! LOL. Are the leaves poisonous maybe?

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The Castor bean is extremely poisonous. But really, it's not a bean. It's more of a shrub, which grows wild in tropical and sub-tropical climates. I can remember when seed catalogs used to sell different varieties of castor bean seed, for "instant hedges, etc. I believe they no longer sell them, as it became fairly well known, that one single seed of this plant has enough toxicity to kill over 100 people. The moral of the story: don't eat things you don't know about.

We lived 14 years in Mexico, and castor beans grow wild, all along the paths and roads, there. Never heard of anyone dying from eating the seed.... No one eats it.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 10:29AM
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Ordinary bean seed contain lectins that are moderately poisonous if eaten raw. Do a search on Bean Lectin and you will find lots of articles. Cooking deactivates the lectins which makes them safe for eating. As far as I can tell, only the seed contain lectins so eating the immature bean husks of most snap beans should be harmless.

Do not confuse beans with peas. Peas are not poisonous raw.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 11:31AM
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It's my understanding that all common beans (phaselous vulgaris) form toxins after they have dried, but the fresh green and shelly forms are not toxic and can be eaten raw. That is to say, if you ate a handful of dry pinto beans, you might be poisoned, but they are harmless after soaking and cooking, and in the fresh undried state.

Castor beans and some other plants may be toxic at all stages, while some others form more toxins at maturity than can be deactivated by cooking.

There are variations in toxicity between bean species and cultivars of same species. For instance, red limas have more toxins than white limas.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 6:50PM
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Just looked at the link and the author does say
Potatoes, Green Beans
Potatoes are poisonous if they store in light. Cooking destroys the poison, but green skin should first be peeled away. The small, tomato-like fruit of the potato plant is very poisonous. Green Beans are poisonous when eaten raw."

All I can say is write the author and ask him where he is getting his information from. He includes full contact information here. If green beans are poisonous, it's news to me.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 6:57PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

A lot of people eat peas raw from the garden, they are poisonous? Sometimes I slice them in salads raw, sometimes I lightly steam them. I guess I better steam them always then?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 10:54AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

If green beans were poisonous, I'd be dead by now. ;-) I munch them constantly while picking, and I pick a lot. My kids grew up loving fresh green beans for snacks, and are none the worse for wear. I can't imagine a children's garden without them.

The ripe seeds of all Phaseolus beans (common beans, runner beans, limas) are mildly to moderately poisonous, with limas being the worst. Wax beans, since their seeds are more developed, might not be good for children.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 1:24AM
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I would be dead too! I just thought it was kinda strange! Maybe I will write him to ask what the heck hes talking about! LOL! All the years growing up i ate beans, no one ever told me too be careful, and I never remember getting sick.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 7:37AM
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I don't think "poisonous" is the righ term. Call them toxic.
As mensioned, most beans when ripened and dried contain some minute amounts of toxins. That is why you soak them, throw away the water. Even, boil for a few minutes and throw away the water. This I know is true about yellow split peas, which is a kind of chick pea. Actually you can taste that it is bitter.

Another bean that is said to be toxic , WHEN RIPE/HARD (Not young and tender) is hyacinth pole bean. That you have to cook them well once hardened or semi hardened.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 2:56AM
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Cyrus, do you know of any beans that are toxic or poisonous when eaten young, green and raw?

Besides the lima bean that is. It's my understanding that the lima pod should not be eaten and even the fresh bean should be cooked. But the author did not mention limas specifically.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 5:01AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Not the first time castor "beans" have found their way into this forum. It's a misnomer with potentially fatal consequences, since someone unfamiliar with them might think the "bean" in the name means that they are edible.

For the record, castor beans are Ricinus communis, are not legumes, do NOT belong on this forum, and are highly toxic. They should not be grown anywhere that children might have access to them.

Stanley, given that "bean" is part of the name, I am sure this was an innocent mistake on your part. You should post about castor beans on a non-edible plant forum, such as Foliage Plants. Also be aware that seed sales are prohibited here.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 12:59AM
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A) there are commercial castor bean operations, it is a legitimate major agricultural product, but not an edible one without processing.
B) castor bean seeds are commercially available from USA suppliers, prohibitions are regional.
That being said, they still don't belong in this particular forum.

And no, I haven't died yet from eating uncooked beans either, but improperly cooked beans might make you wish you had...

Here is a link that might be useful: Bean there, done that

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Here is an some what out dated text, but the tables name beans by name.
I have eat peas ,beans, white & sweet potatoes, corn, tomatoes all my life.
I have eat COOKED poke weed too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Beans & leaves you can eat, table 1

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 7:45PM
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spacetogrow(4 MN)

I also was surprised when I first read that edible beans are toxic when raw, so I did an internet search and found a lot of stuff, including a lot of disagreement about it.

It looks like most or maybe all raw beans have at least a trace amount of toxin. Kidney beans are said to have quite a lot more of it and apparently shouldn't be eaten raw by anyone, even as bean sprouts. Many other types of edible beans are fine for most people to eat raw but a small percentage of people are apparently unusually sensitive to the toxin and can get sick from just a little bit. Maybe best not to include raw beans in salads, etc. if you're having guests over, or are bringing potluck...

My concern is that evidently there are some few other varieties of bean that are more toxic raw, similar to the kidney bean, but I haven't been able to find a list of them. I deal with it by only taking 1 or 2 bites of a new variety of bean, than wait a while to see if my stomach starts to feel funny. So far, so good, but it would be nice if someone knows where to find good scientific research.

I've never seen where anyone said that raw peas have any toxicity.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 2:28PM
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I have searched Peterson Field Guides Venomous Animals & Poisonous Plants:
Fava or horse bean, Vicia faba L. on pg 134
Castor bean, Ricinus communis L. on pg 144
Mescal bean, Sophora secundiflora on pg 182
But no a word about garden beans & peas.
This is the book I used to teach the Boy Scouts poison plant class.
I always take it & Feasting Free on Wild Edibles by Bradford Angier camping.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 6:06PM
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All parts including castor seeds (they are not beans) of castor plants are poisonous for living beings.They may not kill you right away but make you feel very seek right away.Castor oil has many industrial applications.Castor seeds do not belong to legume family.Refer to for more information.
Some online vendors do sell these seeds.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 6:36AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Back in the day, castor oil was notorious as a powerful laxative. I doubt it is available any longer as a pharmaceutical.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 10:50AM
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There are many sources including Walgreens. People use it to induce labor, as a poultice and as a treatment for many conditions. - Dick

Here is a link that might be useful: Uses for castor oil

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 8:58AM
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chaman, you are right.
Peterson list castor seeds as caster bean in the common name because many people know it by bean.
My point was that running beans,string beans, butter beans & peas are not listed as poisonous.
I have ate many vegetable raw & never been sick from them.
Tomato vine are poisonous, but never heard of a child being poisoned by the vine.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 2:22PM
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