15 Top Benefits & Uses Of Gram Flour | Besan For Skin, Hair & Health

Gram flour also called besan in India has amazing health, hair and skin benefits. Since it is very rich in protein annd gluten free, it is amazing to include in our diet too. Apart form it’s wonderful use in cooking, we use it extensively for external applications like in face packs, hair packs and scrubs. Besan has been used for skin and hair care for centuries in India. It is so very gentle on the skin that we even use it on new born babies skin!  Gram flour thickens into a firm mask on the skin which makes it perfect for deep cleansing but at the same time, it doesn’t strip the skin of it’s natural oils.

What Is Besan Flour?

Besan is made from chick peas which is very very rich in protein. Besan is made from chick peas but chick peas is not made into besan directly. To make besan or gram flour, the outer skin of the chick peas is removed and then it is dried and polished. When it is dried and polished it is called channa dal. We use channa dal to season all our dishes and when channa dal is ground it becomes gram flour.

How To Make Besan Flour At Home?

You can also make gram flour at home easily, but to make the gram flour at home you need roasted channa dal. When channa dal is roasted instead of powdered, it becomes roasted channa dal which is famous for it’s use in making coconut chutney, we call it pottu kadalai in Tamil. We can eat roasted channa dhal as such as it is fried.

We can easily grind the fried gram dhal in a mixer to get homemade gram flour. Gram flour is also made from chick peas directly without frying but the flour made by frying the peas is more flavorful and that is the one we prefer and use here in India. I prefer to make my own chick pea flour by sun drying the roasted chick peas till crisp and then grinding to a fine flour in a mixer.

Besan Flour Common Names:

Besan is called by different names in English, it is called as chickpea flour, garbanzo flour, garbanzo bean flour and gram flour in diferent parts of the world. Besan is the Hindi name for gram flour and it is called Kadalai Maavu in Tamil, Senagapindi in Telugu, Kadle Hittu in Kannada, Kadala Mavu in Malayalam and it goes by besan in most of the North Indian languages like Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi and Bengali.

Besan Flour Nutrition:

100 grams of besan has around 387 calories, 7 grams of fat, 58 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of fiber and 22 grams of protein. It is rich in vitamin B6, magnesium, iron and calcium. Since besan is rich is protein, vitamins and fiber, it is good idea to include it often in our diet. It can also be used to replace white flour that is devoid of any nutrition. Since it is gluten free, people who are allergic gluten can use it in place of wheat flour.

15 Best Health Benefits Of Besan:

1. Aids Weight Loss:

Any dish made with besan is very filling and will keep one satiated for a long time, due to it’s high amount of protein and fiber content. Whenever I make besan dosa at home, it will take a good 4 to 5 hours for me to be hungry again so it is an amazing ingredient to use in weight loss diet.

2. Good For Diabetic Patients:

Besan flour is amazing for diabetic patients as it keep the blood sugar level stable. This is because of it’s high fiber content. This claim has been proven through research too. Instead of opting for dishes made with white rice for breakfast, try including besan dosas by mixing besan with lot of onions, chillies and coriander leaves. It will prevent blood sugar spikes and will keep one fuller till lunch.

3. Besan Flour For Kids:

Besan flour is amazing for growing kids as it is high in protein. I make small protein balls out of chick pea flour for my son by mixing homemade gram flour (pottukadalai maavu) with equal quantities of powdered sugar, nuts and enough homemade ghee to form small balls, it is such a healthy, tasty and popular snack here in India. We call this sweet pottukadali urundai in Tamil and in my personal opinion, these are the types of sweets that our children should be eating.

4. Besan For Heart Health:

All legumes including chickpeas are good for heart health. Any food that is loaded with nutrients and fiber is good for heart health. Besan is also good alternative to eggs, as it can be used to make tasty vegan omelettes. A tasty vegan besan omelette had everyday for breakfast instead of sugary cereals will go a long way in maintaining our heart health. To make vegan omelette, beat besan with little bit of turmeric powder and water till fluffy. Add in onion, tomatoes, chillies and lots of coriander leaves and make omelettes.

5. Treats Anemia:

So many of us indian women are suffering from anemia and the number keep increasing every year because of increase in consumption of processed foods and decrease in consumption of traditional foods and ingredients that we have been consuming for hundreds of years. Besan is an amazing ingredient for people who are suffering from anemia as it is rich in iron and calcium.

6. Good Alternative To Gluten:

People who are suffering from gluten allergy will greatly benefit including gram flour in their diet as it can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in certain recipes. Besan binds well to ingredients and also absorbs moisture making it a wonderful ingredient to add in savoury items too.

7. Prevents Inflammation:

Natural unbleached flours like besan that retains all of it’s natural goodness when consumed internally reduces inflammation which is said to be the leading cause of all major illnesses. Since it is rich in nutrients like vitamin B, it helps improve our immunity and greatly prevents fatigue that we women face often.

8. Regulates Blood Pressure:

High lentil based diets are proven to be very beneficial for lowering high blood pressure and besan is amazing to include in your diet if you are suffering from high blood pressure. It helps bring down the blood pressure and you can read the study that supports it here.

9. Besan For Removing Facial Hair:

Besan and turmeric face pack have been used for removing unwanted facial hair for a long time in India. As far as I have researched there is no ingredient in besan that helps remove unwanted hair growth but the act of scrubbing with besan and turmeric weakens facial hair and with regular use, stunts unwanted facial hair growth completely.

10. Besan For Acne:

Besan Face packs are amazing for treating acne and fading acne scars. Besan help reduce the inflammation and is soothing when applied during acne breakouts. At home, we mix besan with neem and holy basil extract and use it as a face pack. It is so very effective for treating acne. Regular use also helps fade scars.

11. Besan For Open Pores:

Besan when combined together with tomato juice and applied as a face pack helps reduce open pores. Besan dries firmly on the skin and helps shrink large pores. Tomato juice is also a mild astringent that helps shrink large pores. Try to use this pack after rubbing your face with ice cubes wrapped in a thin cloth for best results.

12. Removes Suntan:

Besan when combined together with orange peel powder and yogurt and applied as a face pack, helps remove suntan greatly. When you apply this face pack, it helps reduce the redness caused due to sunburn along with helping the skin return back to it’s original color soon. Try to use homemade curd for this pack for best results.

13. Good For Oily Skin:

Besan when combined together with any type of clay and rose water and applied as a face pack helps remove excess oiliness from the face. It is wonderful for people with very oily skin and helps brighten the skin greatly. The rose water in the recipe can be substituted with rice water too, both will work well.

14. Besan For Dandruff:

Besan hair pack made with lemon juice, aloe vera and besan is one of the best home remedies for dandruff. It helps reduce itchiness and greatly helps treat the infection fast. Since this pack helps treats dandruff, removes excessive oiliness and strengthens the hair roots, it helps in hair growth too

15. Besan For Cleaning Hair:

We also use gram flour for hair wash and it is perfect for people who are allergic to strong chemicals and perfumes found in most of the products now. Gram flour is especially useful for babies as it is so very gentle on the hair. Just mix it with rice water and use it to wash hair.

Besan Side Effects:

Besan generally agrees with everyone both when consumed internally and applied externally but please remember that besan is difficult to digest when compared to ingredients like rice and if over consumed will cause severe stomach pain. Very few people might be allergic to besan when they apply it externally, if you experience any breakout after using besan stop applying it externally.

Where To Buy Besan?

You can buy besan from all the departmental stores in India as it is widely used. But when buying besan make sure to buy from reputed brands else it can be adulterated. Some besan we get in the markets are bright yellow in color but in my personal experience good besan is pale light yellow in color. If you don’t good quality besan from reputed brands try to make your own besan at home.

5 Top Ways To Use Besan For Skin & Hair Care: 

1. Gram Flour For Skin Lightening (Fairness):  

I am sure, many of you must have tried this besan and turmeric face mask at least once. This mask is very popular because it is made with common kitchen ingredients, very effective and easy to make. This besan/ kadalai maavu face pack is very good for treating acne, skin whitening and it leaves your skin glowing. Regular use will also reduce the facial hair. Almost all Indian household will have besan and turmeric powder in the kitchen.

I don’t remember a day that I haven’t used turmeric in my daily cooking. We call besan flour “Kadalai maavu” in Tamil, try to make your own besan flour. If you don’t want to, try to buy chick pea flour from reputed brands. Please don’t buy gram flour that is bright yellow, as the gram flour might be artificially colored. You can also make your own chick pea flour by grinding dried chick peas in the mixer to a fine powder like I mentioned above. Chickpea flour is full of proteins and it is great for the skin. This face mask is very good for acne prone, oily skin.

This face pack can be used by people with very sensitive skin too, provided you use good quality ingredients. To make the face pack, first rub a piece of turmeric to get the paste. Now add the turmeric paste to the chick pea flour. Add the required amount of whole milk to get a thick spreadable paste. To use, wash your face, wipe dry and then apply a thin coating of the paste all over the face. Wait for it to dry and then wash it off.

2. Gram Flour For Daily Face Wash:

If you are allergic to harsh chemicals or if you are suffering from very dry skin you can easily substitute the soap with gram flour. During winter season, I switch over to besan and water mix to wash my face, sometimes if I am in the mood, I might add a few things like tomato puree or turmeric powder to it too. Besan mixture cleans the skin amazing well and since it’s very fine there is no damage to the skin at all even if you use it daily for longer periods of time.

I was using it almost daily last winter along with homemade bath powder as a face wash and this face cleanser saved my skin from dryness. If your skin is very tanned, you can mix the gram flour with little bit of fresh yogurt and apply on the tanned skin, this will remove the tan very effectively and will soothe skin of the irritation caused by sun exposure. You can also use besan flour for babies during winter season, but don’t add anything to the besan mixture when you are using it for babies except pure turmeric powder.

For babies who are allergic to shampoos, you can use besan water mix to wash their hair. Please make sure the besan is of the highest quality or better still make your own flour from fried gram dhal at home especially if you are using it for babies. After using this gram flour to wash your face, you might be smelling of the gram flour for a little while, but I actually love the smell….:)

3. Gram Flour For Acne & Acne Scars:

Gram flour is great for treating acne and acne scars especially if it is combined together with herbal extracts. Both holy basil and neem leaves extracts are great for treating acne scars, but it is hard to apply the thin extract, especially homemade extracts on the face without a solid base and gram flour is perfect for that. To treat acne and acne scars, take a handful of fresh neem leaves and holy basil leaves in a mixer.

Add little boiled water to the herbs and grind to a smooth paste and strain to get the extract. Mix the extract with gram flour to get a thick paste. Apply this mixture on the face and wait for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off. This treatment is very very effective even for treating the worst kind of acne and above all it is a very safe treatment. But make sure to use the juice of the herbs immediately for best results.

4. Gram Flour For Hair Removal:

As I mentioned above, gram flour is great for using it on babies skin and if we use it with pure turmeric powder for their bath regularly, there will be gradual reduction in their body and facial hair. This gram flour and turmeric mixture is also one good alternative for mothers who can’t make the traditional bath powder at home.

For women and young girls there is an other method using gram flour that gives good relief and that is a paste made with alum, turmeric powder, besan and rose water. To make the paste, first get a piece of shaving alum or potash alum. It is also called as pickling alum and it is sold either in block form or powder form. If you have got it as a big piece break a small piece and powder it finely.

Take 1/4 tsp of the powdered alum and add it to 2 tsp of pure gram flour, 1/4 tsp of pure turmeric powder and make it into a paste using rose water. The paste should neither be too thick nor too thin. Apply this paste all over the face as a face pack and regular use gradually reduces the facial hair growth. Alum and turmeric are both very good for hair removal and this is one of the best natural treatment for hair removal at home. But try to use pure homemade rose water for making the paste, you can find the recipe for rose water in the blog….

5. Gram Flour For Hair Growth:

The best way to use besan for hair is by making a hair pack with it. Besan hair pack improves circulation in the scalp, removes the grime and dirt and strengthens the roots. I was searching for a good hair pack recipe to make good use of the besan that I had made freshly a week back. Many of the recipes I read, suggested using it with water. Besan, if used alone can be quite drying, so I decided to use it along with fresh Aloe Vera gel.

This mask is super conditioning and leaves your hair soft and very manageable. It also strengthens the hair roots. Aloe Vera and lemon are both good dandruff fighters and will greatly reduce reduce dandruff from your scalp. This pack is great for people with normal and oily hair. If you have got dry hair, you can substitute lemon with sour yogurt/curd. Good quality besan is available everywhere now, so try to get the best and also if you are not able to get fresh Aloe Vera, you can use store bought Aloe Vera gel too. To make this hair pack, first take a fresh Aloe Vera leaf, wash and cut the thorns on both sides.

Make sure to clean the green juice (you can see it in the picture above) that flows out of cut Aloe Vera leaf. Add the gram flour, lemon juice to the Aloe Vera gel and blend it to get a smooth puree. The mixture should neither be too thick nor too thin. Apply it all over the scalp and wait for it dry on your scalp, before washing it off with a mild shampoo. For best results, make sure that your scalp is not greasy before applying this pack. I tried this same mask with multani mitti too, though I liked both the hair masks, I liked the hair mask made with besan better….



  1. Prairiecactus
    April 5, 2015 / 10:01 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes…I really enjoy your blog.

  2. Anonymous
    April 7, 2015 / 1:52 am

    which manjil do you want us to use for the face pack, the kasturi manjil or regular manjil?for the hair pack and face pack which maavu do you want us to use, the fried gram that is ground or regular channa dal that is ground?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 7, 2015 / 5:54 pm

      You can use any type of pure turmeric for the face pack, though I would prefer kasthuri turmeric. For the packs, try to get and use good quality gram flour from the shops. If you don't get good quality gram flour in your place, simply grind fried gram and use that………..

    • Anonymous
      March 24, 2018 / 3:52 pm

      Should we dry roast the pottukadalai until fragrant or there is some color change then grind? It tastes raw and bland to me when I eat it as is….Or no need just grind? I ask because there are some things we roast until we get the color change and other things we roast until aroma comes but there should be no color change like some dals I forgot which dals. I just remember some aunties shouting on this point.

  3. Anonymous
    April 8, 2015 / 4:16 pm

    The regular gram flour sold is not roasted, correct? So the roasted gram flour will never be sold that you have to make yourself, correct? And for hair and face the roasted is better, correct?

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 9, 2015 / 6:51 am

      What you are saying is correct but if the quality of store bought gram flour is good, both store bought and homemade will work equally well for hair and face….

  4. Anonymous
    April 12, 2015 / 1:21 am

    Hi Ramya like you have a tab for health and beauty can you also have a tab for pregnancy pre and post. Like we take methi ladoo, jeera and ajwain water, aaliv seeds, kamar kas gaund, char gaund, and have a mothers massage and some yoga postures must after 45 days. Bless you. Ekta.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      April 12, 2015 / 4:53 pm

      Thanks a lot for your wonderful suggestions, Ekta. I will try my best…:)

    • Anonymous
      April 13, 2015 / 1:45 am

      And to prepare before, during and after monthly cycle time so we have enough iron and other essentials…

  5. Unknown
    January 26, 2016 / 6:56 am

    Is kadalai maavu and potukadalai maavu s same ??

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      March 1, 2016 / 5:05 am

      no kadalai maavu and pottukadalai maavu are not same. Kadalai maavu is made from the unroasted gram and pottukadalai maavu is made from the roasted channa dal…

    • Bhuvana C
      May 5, 2016 / 6:54 am

      Hai mam this is Bhuvana .Thank you so much for sharing your recipesI had a pimple problem but i am not sure is this pimple or not, it look like a small small dots and black mark on forehead and cheeks.nowadays i am not using any soap or face wash in my face i am using paachai parrupu and vatti verru and kadalai maavu pack daily.please suggest me to get rid of this dots and black mark problem mamThank you.

    • Ramya Venkateshwaran
      June 6, 2016 / 2:53 pm

      I think the dots you are referring to are . Try upping the intake of water along with reducing stress to get rid of blackheads (I have personally experienced it). Also continue doing the home treatments…

    • arthi kirthi
      August 30, 2016 / 11:15 am

      We can use the mixture of gram flour, sandalwood powder and rose water to clear the acne and acne scar

  6. Anonymous
    October 5, 2016 / 5:13 pm

    Hii mam this is shree I am suffering from acne scars ando I am using kadalai mavu with kaa Thursday manual daily will this help me???

  7. Anonymous
    October 22, 2016 / 2:38 pm

    Hi Ramya mam.. I thank you for d wonderful recipies of home remedies. I'm 24. I have fine lines under the eyes and dark circle too. I sleep normally and don't have much problems either to worry about. What could you suggest me to cure the darkness and for the wrinkle under the eyes… Thank you.

  8. Anonymous
    November 18, 2016 / 10:33 am

    Hello Ramya. Can you please suggest a daily face wash made with natural ingredients for oily skin. Thank you

  9. Anonymous
    November 18, 2016 / 10:34 am

    Hello Ramya, can you please suggest a daily face wash made with natural ingredients for oily skin. Thank you

  10. Anonymous
    January 8, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    Hi.Tq for the tips. I have oil skin, n due to used of chemical cream..my face become darker n started having pimples end up with scars. Lately i start using kadalai flour over night. After reading ur blog will start trying neem & basil juice.

  11. Anonymous
    February 27, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    hi mam i am sudha…i am having dark complection then my body ..i am fair but my face alone getting black ..kindly suggest any..and i am using kadala mavu foe face instead of soap from past one month due that problem but it remains same..

  12. deepak yogi
    June 19, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    HI MA

  13. Anonymous
    June 27, 2017 / 3:05 pm

    Hi.how can gramflour be helpful in hair growth and removal

  14. Anonymous
    May 24, 2018 / 2:48 am

    I wrote this comment and pottukadalai is already roasted so there is no need to do this. However it tastes so bland on its own. I am wondering how they made this pottukadalai themselves in the home compared to store bought one. There is also a kind of roasted snack red chickpea with red skin on it which you rub off and eat but that tastes entirely different and that is sold as roasted. That is roasted over sand or sea salt.

    “For babies who are allergic to shampoos, you can use besan water mix to wash their hair.”

    I made my own flour from 2 handfulls of pottukadalai by pounding it in a granite mortar and pestle and then mixed it with warm water into a light not thick paste and then applied it on the head then washed it off with water right away, I didn’t let it dry. I oiled the hair with coconut oil 30 min. prior. Bits of dal remained in the hair which I tried to rub off with my hands. The hair after it got dried became dry. Maybe if I mixed it with yogurt a different result could happen. Or I should try oiling with sesame oil before hand. (we don’t get good oil, we get mosum ennai not nalla ennai)….I didn’t try using aloe vera because they sell it by the leaf which is huge and not sure how to save the rest for how long without it spoiling in the fridge. I boiled and drained the WHITE basmati rice water and it cooled and is now fermenting. Perhaps this water could be added to the flour and used instead…..My hair is chest length….

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