Mucuna Pruriens is a Latin name for tropical Ayurvedic Indian herb which produces bean pods covered in prickly velvet hair. The seeds present inside these pods are the most valuable part of the plant from the medicinal point of view. Mucuna Pruriens, also known as Kapikachhu, cowhage, and velvet bean, has been used for centuries in many traditional cultures as a healing plant for the treatment of various diseases. (Mucuna Pruriens, 2016). It grows all over India and in the tropical regions of Africa and Caribbean. (Mucuna Pruriens, n.d.). Its English common names include velvet bean, Bengal velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, Mauritius velvet bean, Yokohama velvet bean, cowage, cowitch, lacuna bean, and Lyon bean. (Mucuna Pruriens, n.d.).
Naturally, it is sweet, hot and oily and can be used as a food product. But cooking is necessary to remove protein inhibitors from the beans.
Historically, Mucuna Pruriens has been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for Parkinson's disease. Today, the seeds, beans, and hair of mucuna Pruriens are used medicinally for treating a variety of conditions and diseases. It is still utilized for treating Parkinson's disease, as well as anxiety, parasitic infections, arthritis, and a condition called hyperprolactinemia, in which the blood levels of a hormone called prolactin are too high. (Cowhage, 2017). Additionally, mucuna Pruriens is also used to relieve pain and fever, to induce vomiting and to treat snakebite.
The use of mucuna Pruriens also builds fertility in men and women. It increases semen volume, sperm count, and sperm motility. (Mucuna Pruriens, 2009). This herb can also be used as a natural antidepressant. It helps improve mental function and mood by elevating dopamine levels. At the same time, due to increase in dopamine level, mucuna Pruriens also becomes helpful in overall sexual enhancement. (Mucuna Pruriens, n.d.).
In addition, mucuna Pruriens can help accelerate digestive function and promote proper elimination of waste material due to its spreading quality. Moreover, it is also thought to support healthy blood sugar levels. (Mucuna Pruriens, n.d.).
Mucuna Pruriens. (2016). Superfood profiles. Retrieved from http://superfoodprofiles.com/mucuna-pruriens-benefits-uses. Accessed on 10 march 2017.
Mucuna Pruriens. (n.d.). Banyan botanicals. Retrieved from https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/herbs/mucuna-pruriens. Accessed on 10 march 2017.
Mucuna Pruriens (n.d.). Mucuna Pruriens. Retrieved from http://mucunapruriens.net/. Accessed on 10 march 2017.
Cowhage. (2017). WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1020 cowhage.aspx?activeingredientid=1020&activeingredientname=cowhage. Accessed on 10 march 2017.