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Toor Dal: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more


Toor dal is the local name of pigeon peas. Toor dal has many different names in different parts of India. It is also called Arhar dal  in Hindi, Adhaki in Sanskrit, and Tur in Bengali. It is a fundamental part of Indian cooking and staple food among vegetarian families in India. Toor dal is a rich source of proteins and fibres while low in calories.1 

Nutritional Value of Toor Dal: 

Toor dal is rich in the nutrients given below: 

A bowl of toor dal on table

Name Calculated per 100 g serving size 
Protein 22.86 g
Carbohydrates 62.86 g
Fat 1.43 g
Calcium 57 mg   
Fibre, total dietary 17.1 g
Sodium 86 mg      
Iron 3.09 mg  
Sugars 2.86 g
Energy 343 kcal
Table: 1 – Nutrient Value Chart of Toor dal.2 

Properties of Toor Dal:  

Toor dal is a legume with a rich source of nutrients with several potential health benefits.  

  • It may have hypolipidemic activity3  
  • It might show anti-diabetic properties3  
  • It may have anti-inflammatory properties4  
  • It may show antioxidant properties4
  • It might have properties that may benefit liver health5,6.  
  • It may show antimicrobial activity5  
  • It may be anti-hypertensive in nature  
  • It may have anti-obesity activity7

Potential Uses of Toor Dal:

In my experience, I have come across cases where toor dal has been used as a remedy for controlling sickle cell anaemia. It is believed that toor dal may help in managing the sickling of red blood cells in individuals with sickle cell disease.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Did you know ?

  • Toor dal is a good source of phosphorus, containing about 350 milligrams per 100 grams. source: USDA
  • Toor dal is a rich source of antioxidants, which help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation. source: USDA
  • Toor dal is gluten-free, making it suitable for individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. source: USDA
  • Toor dal can be included in the diet of pregnant women to prevent malaria and provide essential nutrients. source: ncbi
  • Toor dal can be a valuable addition to the treatment regimen for malaria patients. source: ncbi
  • Toor dal is a good source of thiamin, a B-vitamin that helps convert food into energy. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov

Potential Uses of Toor Dal for Wound Healing:

The anti-inflammatory activity of Toor dal may help to reduce inflammation in the wounded tissue and activates tissue formation. Thus, it helps in the re-modelling of tissue.  4 All these properties of mulberry need further studies to understand its potential use in humans.

Potential Uses of Toor Dal for Diabetes and Cholesterol:  

Toor dal is rich in protein that might help avoid type 2 diabetes. It is found that in patients with diabetes and cholesterol, regular intake of toor dal may lower their blood sugar and cholesterol. It may decrease in total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) due to its antioxidant activity and high fibre content.3  This information is insufficient and require more human trials to suggest the uses of toor dal. Therefore, people should speak to their concerned doctors and only have toor dal for its health benefits if prescribed.

Potential Uses of Toor Dal for Malaria:  

Over the years, I have observed that water extract of toor dal may have potential in improving systolic and diastolic blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. It is believed that certain components in these extracts may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure regulation.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

The leaves of toor dal consist of a component called chalcone. Chalcone is an active compound that may have anti-malarial benefits to treat jaundice. Thus, toor dal may be helpful as an anti-malarial agent.8 Moreover, these condition should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.

Other Potential Uses for Toor Dal

Toor dal (the seeds), its flowers and leaves can be used to prepare tea that is might help for soothing inflammation and blood disorders.5  Toor dal tea made using its flower may be helpful for upper respiratory infections and pain.5  Toor dal tea using leaves may help to overcome anaemia, yellow fever, cough, fever, urinary tract infections, and ulcers.5  

Also Read: Rosemary – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Although studies show the benefits of toor dal in different health conditions, this information is insufficient. Hence, there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of toor dal on human health. Furthermore, every person may respond differently to these herbs. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor before using toor dal for any medical condition.

How to Use Toor Dal? 

Based on my experience, I have found that that toor dal, known for its hepatoprotective function, has the potential to up-regulate and counteract the inflammatory process in the liver. This potential mechanism could help minimize liver damage, delay disease progression, and reduce complications.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.
  • Toor dal leaves extract for jaundice  6
  • Toor dal leaf paste for topical application.1  
  • Cooked toor dal, toor dal soup, curry9 toor dal flour10

However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking toor dal more than food dosage. Your doctor will examine you thoroughly and advise you on the dose and form accordingly. In addition, we recommend you do not replace or discontinue your ongoing medications with any ayurvedic or herbal preparations without seeking the medical advice of a doctor.

Also Read: Kaunch Beej – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Side Effects of Toor Dal: 

 The most common side effects are 

  • Allergic reactions – Scratching or hives or respiratory illness.11  
  • Gastrointestinal tract inflammation due to allergic reactions.11    
  • Bloating      

If you notice any such reaction is noticed on using it, seek immediate medical attention. Consult your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you; they will be able to identify the cause and treat it effectively.

Precautions to Take with Toor Dal:  

Toor dal is rich in protein, hence people with digestive disorders must exercise precaution while consuming it in excess.11 General precautions, as followed on taking any medication, should be followed while consuming toor dal more than food quantity. Care should be taken, especially by pregnant women and lactating mothers while taking it. It must be taken only if prescribed by your doctor. Extra caution should be taken while giving it to children and elderly individuals.

Also Read: Sabudana – Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

Toor dal may interact with phenolic compounds and not found interacting with carotenoids.10  

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Should I soak the toor dal before cooking?

Yes, soaking toor dal helps to reduce the cooking time. It requires soaking of at least 24 hours for best results.10

Is toor dal a good source of protein? 

Toor dal soup or curry is a very good source of fibre, protein and carbohydrates.9

Does toor dal cause flatulence? 

Toor dal consists of a class of carbohydrates called oligosaccharides that is difficult to digest. So, it may cause flatulence when consumed in excess.9 

Does Toor dal have a laxative effect? 

Fresh juice or boiled toor dal leaves have a laxative property. Therefore, fresh juice of toor dal leaves could be used to treat constipation.  1 Consult a doctor before using toor dal for its laxative effects.

What is toor dal? 

Toor dal is also called pigeon peas and belongs to the family of legumes. It is rich in proteins and fibres. Toor dal is dried and split peas (seeds) of pigeon peas plant.5 

Also Read: Sal Trees – Uses & Benefits


  1. Pal D, Mishra P, Sachan N, Ghosh A. Biological activities and medicinal properties of Cajanus cajan (L) Millsp. Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research 2011;2:207. https://doi.org/10.4103/2231-4040.90874. 
  2. FoodData Central n.d. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/565000/nutrients (accessed February 4, 2022). 
  3. Roosdiana A, Fitri Hendrawan V, Wulandari M, Ariviani S, Affandi DR, Listyaningsih E, et al. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science The potential of pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) beverage as an anti-diabetic functional drink The potential of pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) beverage as an anti-diabetic functional drink. IOP Conf Ser: Earth Environ Sci 2018;102:12054. https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/102/1/012054. 
  4. Motiwala MN, Gupta RA, Dumore NG, Danao KR. In vivo wound healing activity of Cajanus cajan on burn wound model in mice by regulating antioxidant and inflammatory mediators. Journal of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems 2015;02:5. https://doi.org/10.4172/2376-0419.C1.008. 
  5. Saxena KB, Kumar RV, Sultana R, Saxena KB, Kumar RV, Sultana R. Quality nutrition through pigeonpea-a review. Health 2010;2:1335–44. https://doi.org/10.4236/HEALTH.2010.211199. 
  6. Yarqaan (Jaundice) | National Health Portal of India n.d. https://www.nhp.gov.in/yarqaan-jaundice_mtl (accessed February 4, 2022). 
  7. Polak R, Phillips EM, Campbell A. Legumes: Health Benefits and Culinary Approaches to Increase Intake. Clinical Diabetes : A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 2015;33:198. https://doi.org/10.2337/DIACLIN.33.4.198. 
  8. Ajaiyeoba EO, Ogbole OO, Abiodun OO, Ashidi JS, Houghton PJ, Wright CW. Cajachalcone: An Antimalarial Compound from Cajanus cajan Leaf Extract. Journal of Parasitology Research 2013;2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/703781. 
  9. Optimum domestic processing and cooking methods for reducing the polyphenolic (antinutrient) content of pigeon peas – PubMed n.d. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10768410/ (accessed February 4, 2022). 
  10. Syed Rabia and Wu Ying. A review article on health benefits of Pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan (L.)  Millsp). International Journal of Food and Nutrition Research 2018. 
  11. Kumar Gupta R, Kumar S, Gupta K, Sharma A, Roy R, Kumar Verma A, et al. Cutaneous exposure to clinically-relevant pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) proteins promote T H 2-dependent sensitization and IgE-mediated anaphylaxis in Balb/c mice 2016. https://doi.org/10.1080/1547691X.2016.1205159. 

Also Read: Kachnar – Uses, Benefits & Nutritional Value


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