Mucuna pruriens or Kaunch is a tropical legume. The herb belongs to the family Fabaceae. The seed pods and the new leaves of Kaunch cause extreme itching or irritation on contact. The plant is native to tropical Asia, India, China and Africa. Kaunch is a climbing herb that is naturally covered with the orange coloured hairs when the herb is young. The mature or old plant does not contain any hair. Leaves are oval in shape and hairy on both the sides. The plant bears purple or lavender or white flowers. The seeds are brown and black in colour and have a glossy surface. The herb is well-known for its long and lavish stinging hairs on the leaves and pods.
Mucuna pruriens is a Latin word for a climbing and creeping shrub and grows in entire India involving the tropical region. Kapikacchhu which means ‘Itching like a monkey’ and Atmagupta which refers to secret self are the two Sanskrit names given to the Kaunch seeds. All the parts of the plant have medicinal properties but the seeds are often used for the therapeutic purposes.
The hairs on the seed pod lining contain serotonin and mucaine, which cause severe itching when the pods are touched.
The other names of Kaunch are Velvet beans, Cowage, Lacuna bean, Lycon bean, mad beans, and Devil’s bean.
Mucuna pruriens is a useful herb that balances all the doshas including pitta, vata and kapha. It is a warming herb with bitter and sweet taste. The seeds have been widely used in Ayurveda and Unani Medicine systems to treat various dysfunctions related to the male reproductive system. It is also effective in managing Parkinson's disease.
Kaunch or Velvet beans seeds contain unusual natural chemicals, mainly L-DOPA 3-(3,4- dihydroxyphenyl)-l-alanine, phenols, tannins and tryptamines including gallic acid, mucunadine, mucunine, prurieninine prurienine, N-dimethyl tryptamine and indole-3-alkylamines-N in all parts. The pods also contain serotonin and other oils such as stearic, linoleic, oleic and palmitic acids.
Mucuna pruriens possess valuable pharmacological activities including aphrodisiac, anti-microbial, anti-epileptic, anti-neoplastic and anti-diabetic.
The seeds are widely used as aphrodisiac, to manage male infertility and various nervous disorders since they also has neuroprotective property.
Benefits of Kaunch Seeds
M.pruriens is a traditional Indian plant which has been used in medicinal science since the time of Vedas. They have been included as an ingredient in Vitalboost Tablets to improve male reproductive system.