Mucunapruriens which is also known as kapikacchu is usually grown in India, Caribbean, and Africa. The legume is an annual and climbing shrub which has a height of about 13m to 15m, grown in the listed region. The younger mucunapruriens are characterized with hair as against the older ones which do not have hair and with tripinnate leaves.
It possesses purple, lavender, and white flowers with leguminous fruits. The seed pods of kapikacchu are 10 cm long, and they are enclosed in a hairy husk, seven seeds enclosed together in the pod. The covers are loose with orange hairs that have severe effect on skin by causing itching if the two come in contact. However, the itching chemical compounds are very useful as they contain serotonin, mucunain, and protein which are essential for its power as a shrub.
Mucunapruriens is also known as velvet bean, buffalo bean, cowhage, itchy bean, cowitch, and much more. Indians popularly called this plant kevancha, kavach, and kevanch in Hindi.
This plant has been grouped by Ayurveda acharyas under Balya, Vatasamshamana, and Madhuraskanda, which mean body strengthening herbs, vatadosha controlling herbs, and herbs with sweet taste respectively.
Based on the principles of Ayurveda, kapikacchu plant boosts tissues moistness and is heavy to digest while possessing both bitter and sweet taste. The potency of Mucunapruriens studied to be hot.
Ayurveda Medicinal Properties
Discussed below are the Ayurdeva medicinal properties of Mucunapruriens:
- Mucunapruriens is used in treating diseases resulted from vata vitiation because of its ability to regulate vata and boosts Pitta and Kapha.
- Mucunapruriens is useful in treating nerve disorders as it acts as nervine tonic due to its seeds and roots which contain medicinal properties to enhance the nervous system and as well as reduce stress and help overall health.
- The hairs found on the fruits (which can cause itching if contact skin) have medicinal properties which assist in intestinal parasites eliminations when used with jaggery, butter, and honey.
- The mucunapruriens seed functions as vrishya (known as an aphrodisiac) and praised as the most effective vrishya and vajikara which is useful in boosting health of male reproductive system and enhances men sexual performances. The seeds have been found helpful in sexual issues such as low sperm count, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction as well as boost men libido. The seeds have been found useful in vajikarana preparations, boost sperm motility and sperm count in men.
- In women, velvet bean is equipped with medicinal properties which are effective for gynecological pain during menstruation known as dysmenorrhea. Ayurveda also recorded that the seed is effective in strengthening vagina muscles.
- Velvet roots also contain diuretic properties which are essential for excretion system.
- This herb has also been recommended by Ayurveda acharyas to boost muscle bulk and stamina and as well as to enhance the overall body health.
- Mucunapruriens have been studied to enhance the male hormone testosterone; thereby increases libido, muscle mass and treats erectile dysfunction. It concentrates on male hormones to boost male fertility, semen quantity, and quality.
- Kapikacchu seeds contain dietary fiber, lipids, carbohydrates, protein, minerals, ash and also contain sterols, salonins, and alkaloids to a great quantity. Mucanine and serotonin are parts of the ingredients of L-dopa which boosts testosterone and functions as anti-Parkinson’s.
- The plant extracts also find their uses in treating different snake bites to act as anti-venom.
Conclusion: The medicinal properties of kapikacchu have an extensive list of benefits to treat and prevent many health conditions in both men and women. Ayurveda texts have expatiated on these uses and they have been enumerated above. However, the preservation of this plant is paramount to continue reaping and enjoying these benefits.