Mucuna pruriens, the plant that cures neurological problems

mucuna pruriens

Mucuna pruriens, also known as velvet bean, velvet bean, pica, picapica, chiporro, bull’s eye and many other names, is a tropical legume. But what else do you know about her?

Here is a guide to get to know this shrub and you will be able to discover its characteristics, its properties and the reasons why it is widely known and used today.


Characteristics of Mucuna pruriens

mucuna pruriens flower

Let’s start by clarifying everything you need to know about Mucuna pruriens. This is a annual climbing shrub (which means that it loses its leaves in winter only to remove them again in spring). Its vines are quite long, even reaching reach 15 meters in length.

Its natural habitat is India, from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. However, the truth is that it is widely distributed in all parts of Asia and the tropics. Even now, it can be found in other places due to the properties known to it and its increasingly widespread use.

Something striking about the plant is that, when it is young, you will see that it is completely covered with hair and, as the years pass, one could say that she is bald.

As for the leaves, they are oval, tripenate and rhomboid in shape.

Mucuna pruriens is a curiously flowering plant. To start, its flowers can be white, purple or lavender. They are arranged in axillary panicles which can measure between 15 and 32 centimeters and each one can have a minimum of two flowers, or find that it has several. Next to them you will also see small leaves growing, smaller than the usual ones, since they are about 12.5 cm.

The flowering period of Mucuna pruriens is quite fast. From planting to flowering, it takes only 120-125 days, or about 4 months. Besides, It will continue to bloom until after 180-200 days it begins to bear fruit.

However, you have to be careful with the flowers and the pods (where the seeds are) because these are covered with white or cream hairs and in contact with the skin it stings a lot. It is a defense mechanism available to the plant. Therefore, if at any time you wish to take the seeds, you must try to do so with good gloves to avoid skin problems.

As for the pods, you should know that they can measure from 4 to 10 centimeters long and 1 to 2 centimeters wide. Inside you will find a maximum of 7 seedsall round or flattened and measuring between 1 and 1.9 cm long and between 0.8 and 1.3 cm wide.

Mucuna pruriens treatment

close up view of mucuna pruriens

Having Mucuna pruriens is not common. But the truth is that its maintenance is not too complicated and it could serve as a climbing plant while you enjoy its properties.

For them, The most important care you need to provide are::

  • A land to be able to be loamy-sandy. It likes it to have good drainage and a soil pH between 5.50 and 7.50.
  • An average temperature of 15°C in winter and 38°C in summer. It adapts to all climates, from the most humid to the driest. That’s why you shouldn’t worry.
  • Water monthly in winter and twice weekly in summer.
  • Subscribed to improve pod and seed production.
  • Fight pests and diseases, such as the hairy caterpillar (this is the one that can do the most damage).

As for reproduction, there is no doubt that the way to do this is through seeds. These need to be cleaned when they are out of the pod and allowed to dry out for planting out in the spring which will be when you can put them in and in about 4 months they should be ready to start flowering. Even so, they will continue to grow and expand, so you will need to prune them to control that they don’t invade the space of other plants (or areas where you don’t want them to be).


Supersmart mucuna pruriens seeds

Source: Super Smart

Within the plant kingdom, there is no doubt that Mucuna pruriens is one of the most widely used plants, not only decorative, but above all medicinal.

Traditionally it was used (and is used) in Indian medicine. It is known to have been used for years, if not centuries. For example, there are writings which state that one of the uses of Mucuna pruriens is as an aphrodisiac. But also as a geriatric tonic, as a vermifuge, to treat menstruation, in constipation, fever, for tuberculosis…

Moreover, more than 4500 years ago, Ayurvedic physicians in ancient India used Mucuna pruriens to treat Parkinson’s disease. And if we get closer, in the native drug formulations, in more than 200 this plant is present.

But what does it offer us?

  • Its seeds contain L-DOPA, which is a non-protein amino acid that affects mood, sexuality and also movement.
  • In addition, they contain other equally important amino acids, such as serotonin, nicotine…
  • As for the leaves, they also contain L-DOPA, although in less quantity than the seeds.

All this makes it possible to use this plant (especially in the case of seeds) for treat various health problems. For example:

  • Urinary tract problems.
  • Neurological problems. Not just Parkinson’s disease. In fact, it is said that with just 30 grams of seed powder, patients can be seen to improve, not to the point of curing them, but of treating and keeping disease at bay.
  • Treatment of menstruation.
  • Edema.
  • Ulcers.
  • Elephantiasis.
  • Helminthiasis.
  • antidepressant problems. Especially in case of depressive neurosis.
  • Reduces blood sugar. May help better control diabetes in people who have it (or are about to develop it).
  • It works against poison. Especially, and according to studies, that of snake bites.
  • Aphrodisiac. In the case of men, improved psychological stress, sperm count and motility. It also improves sperm quality and sexual activity.

The current form of consumption of Mucuna pruriens is in capsules (they are taken once a day during menstruation) and although it is not well known, for now it attracts attention for all its properties. Have you ever tried them?

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