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What are the Health Benefits and Uses of Mucuna Pruriens (Velvet bean)?

Mucuna Pruriens, Kaunch Beej

What is Mucuna Pruriens?

Mucuna pruriens grows all over India, specifically in tropical regions and also grows in tropical areas of Caribbean and Africa. It has velvet coating of hair which covers it and can cause irritation and itching on the skin if touched. Hence, also known as Velvet bean. Since ages, it is being used in Ayurveda for various diseases, particularly for Parkinson's disease. It is a like a plant that stimulates blood flow.

What are the Common Names Used for Mucuna Pruriens?

Velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, Bengal velvet bean, Mauritius velvet bean, Cowitch, Cowage, Lyon bean, and Lacuna bean.

How Mucuna Pruriens is Scientifically Classified?

  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Phylum - Angiosperms
  • Subphylum - Eudicots
  • Class - Rosids
  • Order - Fabales
  • Family - Fabaceae
  • Subfamily - Faboideae
  • Tribe - Phaseoleae
  • Genus - Mucuna
  • Species - M. pruriens

General Description of Mucuna Pruriens

Plant of Mucuna pruriens is a climbing shrub that grows up to 15 meters in length. It is almost covered with hair in young age but with time as it matures all the hair goes away. Leaves of this plant are ovate, tripinnate or rhombus shaped. Heavily grooved sides of its leaves have pointed tips. Leaflets have stems which are 2-3mm long and adjacent leaves are also present. Flowers heads have many flowers and have axillary arrayed panicles. Its shuttle and samples are of the same size. Fruit have lengthwise ridges. The husk of the plant has seven seeds and is hairy.

What is Mucuna Pruriens Effect on Tridosha?

According to Ayurveda, all the diseases are caused due to an imbalance of tri-dosha. This plant, i.e. Mucuna pruriens balances Vata and Pitta Dosha. It promotes body weight, muscle mass and can increase Kapha.

Which Part of the Mucuna Pruriens Plant Used for the Medicinal Purpose?

Whole Herb

What are Medicinal Uses of Mucuna Pruriens?

  • This herb has restorative and balancing effect on the whole nervous system. It eliminates the excess of Vata (one of the doshas according to Ayurveda). It provides strength to the nervous system or any other weak part of the body. It energizes, nourishes and revitalizes the neurons.
  • It improves sleep, memory, and learning.
  • Fruits and seeds of Mucuna pruriens increase libido and gives healthy sexual energy.
  • This herb promotes a healthy reproductive system of both men and women.
  • Mucuna pruriens facilitate smooth muscle contractions and so promotes healthy digestion and proper elimination.
  • It helps to treat diabetes as this herb maintains normal blood sugar levels.
  • This herb relieves anxiety and relaxes muscles.
  • Mucuna pruriens removes toxins from the body and provides strength to the body against various infections and diseases.
  • It relieves inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Relieves pain, redness, and swelling of the affected joint.
  • Fever and its associated complaints like weakness, fatigue, and loss of appetite can be treated with the help of this herb
  • It relaxes muscles and relieves pain.
  • This herb is also used to treat insect bites like snake bites and scorpion stings.
  • Blood flow is increased and blood circulation is maintained by the use of Mucuna pruriens.
  • Mucuna pruriens kills or eliminates worms from intestines or other body parts and prevent infections.
  • In homeopathy it is used under the name of medicine Mucuna urens which is used to treat primarily hemorrhoids. One of the characteristic symptoms for which this remedy is prescribed is generalized intense itching without eruption that becomes worse on scratching.

What can be the Side-Effects of Mucuna Pruriens?

  • Overdose can cause gastrointestinal disturbance resulting in nausea, abdominal bloating, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • People with an allergy can experience intense itching on its application as it is a strong irritant.
  • It may cause abnormal body movements and insomnia.
  • This herb can cause various other side-effects like a headache, severe headache, agitation, confusion, delusions, and hallucination.

What Pecautions Should be taken While Using Mucuna Pruriens?

  • People having cardiovascular disease should avoid it as it can cause orthostatic hypotension, i.e. low blood pressure on standing, and dizziness.
  • Diabetic patients should avoid taking it as it can cause low blood sugar worse.
  • Mucuna pruriens increases various chemical that causes damage to the liver. So in case of a liver ailment do not use it.
  • People having a history of melanoma should not use it as this plant increases the production of melanin.
  • This plant contains levodopa that can cause bleeding so patients with complaints of the stomach or intestinal ulcers should not take it.

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