MUCUNA, Mucuna pruriens


Latin name: Mucuna pruriens

English names: Cowitch, Cowhage, Velvet Bean, Cow-itch

Sanskrit name: Kapikachhu, Atmagupta, Kiwanch

Indian name: Kaunch, Kevanch

Medicinal parts used: Seeds, Root, Legumes

Mucuna pruriens is an annual vine that grows up to 30 ft. The leaves are alternate with three large, rhomboid-ovate leaflets. The flowers are large white to dark purple colour and hang in long racemes. Mucuna pruriens produces clusters of pods that are curved, 4 to 8 cm long covered with very small velvety hairs of reddish-orange colour. The pods hairs are readily dislodged and can cause intense irritation to the skin. Each pod contains 2-6 seeds.

It is one of the popular medicines of India and it constitutes more than 200 indigenous drug formulations. Mucuna is a native of India, West Indies, tropical America, Africa, and the Pacific Islands.

Therapeutic use:

  • Ayurveda Classical text describes this herb as a powerful nervine tonic and aphrodisiac applicable to the treatment of disorders of the male or female reproductive system.
  • A clinical study confirmed the efficacy of the seeds in the management of spasms associated with Parkinson’s disease for its high L-Dopa content, the precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine.
  • Mucuna pruriens increases the production of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and testosterone levels. This in turn increases the body’s ability to build lean muscle and break down fat. Mucuna can be a very beneficial supplement for bodybuilders.
  • Infusion of the pods is a good remedy for dropsy. Cowhage has also been used for fevers, edema, and elephantiasis.
  • The seeds are used in leucorrhoea, menorrhagia, spermatorrhoea; Cowhage is one of the best tonics to improve vitality.
  • The pods are anthelmintic and the root powder a laxative.

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