Last update:


Arch Hellen Med, 29(2), March-April 2012, 258-263


A brief history from the "abstain from beans" of Pythagoras to the present

J. Meletis
Department of Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation Unit,
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Medicine, "Laiko" General Hospital, Athens, Greece

Favism is a form of hemolytic anemia and jaundice following the intake of fava beans and other legumes and various drugs. It is caused by a hereditary abnormality of the red cell enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). The condition is common in the Mediterranean basin. Various disturbances caused by fava beans, and especially toxic hemolytic anemia, have been recognized even from the period of Pythagoras, and the adage "be far from the consumption of fava beans" constitutes part of his consultations.

Key words: Favism, Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, G6PD, Pythagoras.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine