Mucuna pruriens

From - Plant Encyclopedia and Gardening wiki
(Redirected from Cowhage)
Jump to: navigation, search
Mucuna pruriens
Fossil range: {{{fossil_range}}}
Plant Info
Common name(s): {{{common_names}}}
Growth habit: {{{growth_habit}}}
Height: {{{high}}}
Width: {{{wide}}}
Lifespan: {{{lifespan}}}
Exposure: {{{exposure}}}
Water: {{{water}}}
Features: {{{features}}}
Poisonous: {{{poisonous}}}
Hardiness: {{{hardiness}}}
USDA Zones: {{{usda_zones}}}
Sunset Zones: {{{sunset_zones}}}
Scientific classification
Domain: {{{domain}}}
Superkingdom: {{{superregnum}}}
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: {{{subregnum}}}
Superdivision: {{{superdivisio}}}
Superphylum: {{{superphylum}}}
Division: Magnoliophyta
Phylum: {{{phylum}}}
Subdivision: {{{subdivisio}}}
Subphylum: {{{subphylum}}}
Infraphylum: {{{infraphylum}}}
Microphylum: {{{microphylum}}}
Nanophylum: {{{nanophylum}}}
Superclass: {{{superclassis}}}
Class: Magnoliopsida
Sublass: {{{subclassis}}}
Infraclass: {{{infraclassis}}}
Superorder: {{{superordo}}}
Order: Fabales
Suborder: {{{subordo}}}
Infraorder: {{{infraordo}}}
Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Supertribe: {{{supertribus}}}
Tribe: Phaseoleae
Subtribe: {{{subtribus}}}
Genus: Mucuna
Subgenus: {{{subgenus}}}
Section: {{{sectio}}}
Series: {{{series}}}
Species: M. pruriens
Subspecies: {{{subspecies}}}
Binomial name
Mucuna pruriens
(L.) DC.
Trinomial name
Type Species

Mucuna pruriens (syn. Dolichos pruriens) is a tropical legume known by a multitude of common names, including velvet bean, cowitch, cowhage, kapikachu, nescafe, sea bean, kratzbohnen, konch, yerepe (Yoruba) and atmagupta. The plant is an annual, climbing shrub with long vines that can reach over 15 m.

It bears white, lavender, or purple flowers and pods that are covered in loose orange hairs which cause a severe itch if they come in contact with skin. The beans are shiny black or brown. It is found in tropical Africa, India and the Caribbean.

Mucuna pruriens seed powder contains high concentrations of levodopa, a direct precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine and has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for diseases including parkinsonism[1][2]. In large amounts (30 g/dose) it and has been shown to be equally effective in the treatment of parkinsons disease as pure levodopa/carbidopa medications but no data on long-term efficacy and tolerability is available[3]. Another benefit of Mucuna is that it can increase the production of human growth hormone, and extracts are commonly sold as body-building supplements.[citation needed]

Mucuna has also been shown to have diuretic effects. It increases tissue resiliency and improves coordination.[citation needed]

The hairs lining the pods contain serotonin and are very dangerous as they can cause severe irritations. In Africa these hairs are used to murder people by sprinkling them on to the food of the unsuspeting victim, who would then die from internal bleeding as the sharp hairs slice into the stomach and the intestinal lining.

In history, Mucuna has been used as an aphrodisiac[4]. It is still used to increase libido in both men and women due to its dopamine inducing properties. Dopamine has a profound influence on sexual function[5][6].

In addition to l-Dopa, Mucuna allegedly also contains 5-HTP, Nicotine, N,N-DMT, Bufotenine, and 5-MeO-DMT. As such, it wotld have psychedelic effects, and has purportedly been used in ayahuasca preparations.[7]


  1. Manyam BV, Dhanasekaran M, Hare TA. Effect of antiparkinson drug HP-200 (Mucuna pruriens) on the central monoaminergic neurotransmitters. 2004. Phytother Res 18:97-101. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.1407 PMID 15022157
  2. Manyam BV, Dhanasekaran M, Hare TA. Neuroprotective effects of the antiparkinson drug Mucuna pruriens. 2004. Phytother Res 18:706-712. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.1514 PMID 15478206
  3. Katzenschlager R, Evans A, Manson A, et al. Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson's disease: a double blind clinical and pharmacological study. 2004. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 75:1672-1677. DOI: 10.1136/jnnp.2003.028761 PMID 15548480 free full text
  4. Sexual function improving effect of Mucuna pruriens in sexually normal male rats
    "The seeds of M. pruriens are widely used for treating male sexual dysfunction in Tibb-e-Unani (Unani Medicine), the traditional system of medicine of Indo-Pak sub-continent."
  5. Giuliano F, Allard J. Dopamine and male sexual function. 2001. Eur Urol 40:601-608. PMID 11805404
  6. Giuliano F, Allard J. Dopamine and sexual function. 2001. Int J Impot Res 13 Suppl 3:S18-S28. DOI: [ 10.1038/sj.ijir.3900719 ] PMID 11477488 free full text
  7. Erowid entry(2002), [1]


blog comments powered by Disqus
Personal tools
Bookmark and Share