Mung beans help to clear body heat, reduce skin inflammation and detox the body

Mung beans help to clear body heat, reduce skin inflammation and detox the body

In China, mung beans (Vigna radiata) are a very popular food, especially in the hot summer months. They are grown in almost all the provinces of China.

Mung beans are a legume that contain balanced nutrients, including protein, dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins, and significant amounts of bioactive compounds.

Most families in China eat mung beans in their diet and use them widely in different recipes, such as mung bean noodles, mung bean cake, mung bean rice, mung bean soup, mung bean desserts and even mung bean wine.

They are also commonly sprouted to make mung bean sprouts. Mung bean soup is an extremely popular family dish in China during summer.

The nutritional properties of mung beans

Mung beans are recognised for their high nutritive value, composed of about 20%–25% protein of total dry weight. The protein in the mung beans contains a greater quantity of essential amino acids, including phenylalanine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, tryptophan, arginine, methionine, and lysine.

Mung bean carbohydrates are easily digestible, which causes less flatulence in humans compared to other forms of legumes. Mung beans and sprouts produce lower calories compared to other cereals which are advantageous for obesity and diabetic individuals. Owing to its palatable taste and nutritional quality, mung bean has been consumed as an iron-rich dietary source for infants and children (Ganesan & Xu, 2018).

The health benefits of mung beans

In addition to the nutritional properties of mung beans, the Chinese medicine Compendium of Materia Medica “(Bencao Gangmu)” has recorded that it can be used as Chinese traditional medicine for its detoxification activities, recuperation of mentality, ability to alleviate heat stroke, and regulation of gastrointestinal upset (Hou et al., 2019).

Recent studies have identified many other potential health benefits of mung beans, such as its hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects and its antihypertensive, anticancer, anti-melanogenesis, hepatoprotective, and immunomodulatory properties (Hou et al., 2019).

Clear heat and prevent summer heat-stroke

Chinese medicine understands that the external environment has a strong influence on the body.

For example, in a hot climate, the body will absorb more heat from its external environment, and if the body cannot release this heat by itself, physical symptoms may occur including: feeling hot and sweaty, red face, thirst, dry skin, constipation, lack of energy, headache and/or dizziness.

Mung beans have been shown to regulate body temperature and prevent heat stroke. Cooked mung bean drink is best kept refrigerated which helps to keep it fresh and increase its health effects.

Mung beans have been consumed in several cuisines and in traditional medicine to treat heat stroke connected with thirst, irritation, and high body temperature, detoxification, and these health promoting effects of mung bean seeds and sprouts are believed to be associated with the inflammatory response in Asian countries (Luo et al. 2016).

Drinking two or three cups a day of this drink will help to release the summer heat and rebalance the body’s yin and yang.

During the hot seasons, traditional Chinese medicine recommends foods that are cooling in nature which can assist the body to release excess heat and cool down. Ideally, these types of foods should be part of the daily diet during summer.

Reduce skin inflammation

Traditional Chinese medicine texts categorise mung beans as sweet in taste and cooling in nature. Mung beans affect the Heart channel and clear heat and toxins from the skin, and cool heat in the blood.

Therefore, mung beans may help to reduce inflammatory skin symptoms, such as the common skin rash, cold sores, mouth ulcers, pimples and boils.

Scientific research has found that mung beans have strong anti-inflammatory properties and even antiviral effects against herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) that causes cold sores.

To benefit skin conditions, mung bean soup should be thick in consistency and consumed at room temperature (see the recipe below).

Clear toxins from the body

The proteins, tannins and flavonoids in mung beans are also considered effective for binding to and clearing pesticides and heavy metals like mercury and lead from the body.

Mung bean soup recipes

Here are two versions of mung bean soup recipes. The first is a popular home-made drink cooked by many Chinese families to keep cool in hot and humid summer weather. The latter is suitable for certain damp and heat syndrome skin conditions.

Mung bean drink recipe for summer heat and hot weather

This recipe is suitable to clear body heat and prevent heat stroke during a hot summer.

2 handfuls of mung beans 7 cups of water

Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes on low heat. Set the soup aside to cool (once cooled it can also be refrigerated).

Drink this thin soup as required. The beans can also be eaten if soft enough.

Mung bean soup recipe for skin conditions

This recipe can help to clear skin heat and reduce acne and other skin complaints as mentioned above.

2 handfuls of mung beans 4 cups of water

Bring to the boil for 3 minutes in a saucepan, then remove from heat and cover with a lid. Allow the beans to soak in the boiled water for 30 minutes then strain and drink the thick liquid soup.

This process can be repeated once more using the same batch of mung beans.

It is recommended to drink one cup of this soup twice a day in conjunction with regular treatment. Give yourself two days break from the soup after every five days.

3. Precautions and diet advice

Mung beans are generally not suitable for people who have a cold body constitution. Avoid eating mung beans if you have diarrhoea or often experience cold symptoms such as cold hands and feet.

If you are unsure of whether or not mung beans are suitable for you, or if your symptoms persist, please consult with your experienced traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.

Food as medicine (A disclaimer)

Our “food as medicine” articles share knowledge about health foods in the context of traditional Chinese medicine diet therapy and practices often dating back thousands of years. We also support this knowledge with references to published scientific research. Please keep in mind that scientific research into the health benefits of foods is still emerging and human research is limited.

Consuming a wide variety of natural foods as part of a balanced diet is most beneficial for health, however, we don’t advise using food alone to treat diseases. Please consult with your doctor or health professional about which foods are suitable for your body or health issues.

What Does The Research Say?

The following insights are obtained from scientific studies, systematic reviews and analysis of clinical trials investigating the efficacy of Mung Beans.

Scientific References

Browse our collection of scientific research on Mung Beans. It includes recent and reputable papers published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years.


2019, May 9

Mung Bean (Vigna radiata L.): Bioactive Polyphenols, Polysaccharides, Peptides, and Health Benefits

The study highlights that mung bean contains abundant nutrients and bioactive compounds. These are polyphenols, polysaccharides, and polypeptides, various other pharmacological properties. Therefore, it is favourable to our daily nutritional benefits as well as nutraceutical.

Hou, D., Yousaf, L., Xue, Y., Hu, J., Wu, J., Hu, X., Feng, N., & Shen, Q. (2019). Full Article

Food Science and Human Wellness

2018, Mar

A critical review on phytochemical profile and health promoting effects of mung bean (Vigna radiata)
Food Science and Human Wellness

This article found mung beans to have high nutritional benefits in particular antioxidant, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial, anti-hyperlipidemic and antihypertensive effect. Further studies conducted also found it to have anti-inflammatory, and anticancer, anti-tumor and anti-mutagenic properties.

Kumar Ganesan, Bao junXu Full Article

Food & Nutrition Research

2018, Feb

Mung bean proteins and peptides: nutritional, functional and bioactive properties
Food & Nutrition Research

This scientific article has highlighted the health benefits of mung beans. In particularly the anti-fungal and antibacterial protein, which also has anti-mitogenic activities. Thus, it is a great source of bioactive nutritional protein in daily lives.

Zhu, Y.-S., Shuai, S., & FitzGerald, R. Full Article

Food Chemistry

2016, Jun 15

Phytochemical distribution in hull and cotyledon of adzuki bean (Vigna angularis L.) and mung bean (Vigna radiate L.), and their contribution to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic activities
Food Chemistry

The results indicated that the bean hulls were the most abundant in phytochemicals and largely contributed antioxidant activities, anti-inflammatory effects and anti-diabetic effects of whole grains.

Jiaqiang Luo, Weixi Cai, Tong Wu, Baojun Xu Full Article

BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies

2015, Jun 11

Novel antiviral activity of mung bean sprouts against respiratory syncytial virus and herpes simplex virus −1: an in vitro study on virally infected Vero and MRC-5 cell lines
BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies

MBS extract has potent antiviral and to a lesser extent, prophylactic activities against both RSV and HSV-1, and in case of HSV-1, these activities were comparable to Acyclovir. Part of the underlying mechanism(s) of these activities is attributed to MBS potential to remarkably induce antiviral cytokines in human cells. Hence, we infer that MBS methanol extract could be used as such or as purified active component in protecting and treating RSV and HSV-1 infections. More studies are needed to pinpoint the exact active components responsible for the MBS antiviral activities.

Hafidh, R.R., Abdulamir, A.S., Abu Bakar, F. et al. Full Article

BMC Chemistry

2014, Jan 17

A review of phytochemistry, metabolite changes, and medicinal uses of the common food mung bean and its sprouts (Vigna radiata)
BMC Chemistry

This article highlighted the importance of food as medicine with the findings of mung beans to have medicinal properties of antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antihypertensive, lipid metabolism accommodation, antihypertensive, and antitumor effects. Mung bean seeds and sprouts are excellent examples of functional foods that lower the risk of various diseases. Moreover, the seeds and sprouts have health-promoting effects in addition to their nutritive value.

Tang, D., Dong, Y., Ren, H. et al. Full Article

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Dr Ping Wang is the clinic founder and senior practitioner of Ping Ming Health. She has over 30 years of experience in traditional Chinese medicine teaching and practice. Dr Ping especially enjoys sharing her knowledge of Chinese medicine through our popular clinic articles, seminars and clinical training of students and practitioners.

  • Thank you for this article! As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, I have found the benefits of mung beans undeniable. For patients with heat toxin tumors–cancerous and benign–mung beans are a key superfood in my patients’ nutritional plans.

    22 July, 2012
  • AbdulRahman Ismail

    This is an interest article and very beneficial. thank you

    24 July, 2013

    This is a great article! Thanks so much.
    I noticed it warns not to eat if you have cold hands or feet, however I also suffer from heat related skin conditions/damp heat. Can I eat mung beans then?

    1 June, 2014
  • Anna

    Cooked 500 grams of mung beans today. Never know it has so many benefits. Afterall, it’s easy to find and not expensive at all!

    20 September, 2014
  • Karin Kelly

    Thanks sooo much for this article and recipe. I make the 2(i) recipe and I find it fantastic for my rosacea. Also it is good on my digestion because I find I can’t eat the whole bean without getting gas/abdominal bloating. I was thinking of letting the rosacea society know about this as I have found it fantastic for taking the redness from my complexion. Can I tell them of the benefits and suggest they provide a link in their website (if they are agreeable of course!!).

    5 January, 2015
    • Fede

      hi karin do ou onl take mung bean internall or applied to our skin? I got rosacea too thanks

      31 October, 2016