Given its focus on fighting and high-octane action, it makes sense that the warriors of the Dragon Ball franchise can quickly become exhausted. Thankfully, an ever-present vegetable treat is typically around to fill them up and regenerate their depleted strength: the Senzu Bean.
Senzu Beans not only recoup a fighter's strength, but they also help them recover from incredibly traumatic injuries. These magical beans are grown by a talking cat of all things and have been vital in keeping Goku and his friends alive long enough to take down their toughest opponents. Here's the full history of the Hermit Beans and what all they can do.
How Senzu Beans Work
Senzu Beans debuted in the original Dragon Ball anime and manga, showing up when Goku seeks training from Korin. They look like normal lima beans and are even referred to as such in some dubs of the anime. Despite their innocuous appearance, these legumes hold incredible power inside for whoever eats them.
Eating a single Senzu Bean grants the consumer's body the equivalent of ten days' worth of food and sustenance, quickly relieving hunger and fatigue. This can result in becoming overstuffed, however, as shown by the portly Yajirobe. He ate several beans before learning their magical properties, growing excessively full and gaining more weight. Beings such as Saiyans, who require excessive amounts of food and energy, may fight off the beans' fullness effect faster than others.
Beyond sustenance, they can also greatly heal an injured fighter. Eating a Senzu Bean restores one's ki and fighting spirit, as well as some of their most grievous wounds. Examples of this include fighters regrowing missing teeth and Yamcha's impaled torso being restored. They seem to mainly be adept at healing physical injuries, however, with diseases such as Goku's heart virus remaining unaffected by a Senzu Bean. Apparently, they taste like fish, possibly reflecting the crop's feline farmer Korin. Goku is known for passing them around not only to allies but even to enemies such as Cell whom he wishes to fight fairly against.
The Origin of Senzu Beans
The Senzu Beans were created by Korin, a legendary martial arts master in the Dragon Ball universe. Despite being a rather diminutive 800-year-old talking cat, Korin is incredibly skilled, with his power earning him the right to be sent from his world to assist Kami. He held in his possession the mystical Sacred Water, which greatly increases a fighter's speed and strength. This caused him to be sought out by a young Master Roshi and, much later, Goku.
Korin is the only one who grows the Senzu Beans, and his tower is the only known location where he does so. The beans are notoriously hard to grow and are limited in number as well, so they are only supplied in desperate times of need. Despite this scarcity, Korin's only real role in the franchise from Dragon Ball Z onward is to supply the Z Fighters with Senzu Beans before or during an arduous battle. This continued all the way from the Buu Saga into more recent arcs in Dragon Ball Super.
He also developed a rapport with Yajirobe, which culminated in the latter becoming a Senzu Bean farmer in Dragon Ball Online. Neither Yajirobe nor Korin are major players in current parts of the franchise such as Dragon Ball Super, but the empowered vegetable they peddle continues to aid Goku and the others in their most difficult battles.