Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna is found in southern or tropical southeastern regions in Asia, but the actual native place is uncertain. It is also found in tropical and subtropical areas of South America, West Indies and Mexico. The plant can form woody thickets and develop a landscape like a green manure crop and a compelling cover. It possesses horticultural and agricultural value.

Origin & Types

The word mucuna originates from the Tupi Amazonian tribe and Portuguese word “mucunán.” The word prurire (pruriens) derived from Latin refers to the itchy substance in the pod hairs. Varieties of Mucuna Pruriens are sericophylla, utilis, pruriens and hirsuta. The utilis is a non-stinging variety of Mucuna Pruriens and is grown in Honduras region.

Mucuna Pruriens – Fact Sheet
Scientific Name Mucuna Pruriens
Other Names
  • Kooch or Kiwanch
  • Bieh
  • Alkushi
  • Ci mao li dou
  • Baahanakka
  • Devil Beans
  • Picapica
Plant Family  Fabaceae
Country of Origin Tropical southeastern regions in Asia
Plant Height 15 meters (50 ft)
Length of Leaves 12.5 millimeters (0.5 inches)
Years Nurtured before Harvesting   4. 5 months
Years of Mature
Parts of the Plant Used Seeds, flowers and leaves
Color White, brown and shiny black.
Best Time to Grow Early Spring

Description

The plant has long vines with the shrub reaching up to 15 meters.  The leaves have different shapes like reverse ovate, ovate, tripinnate, widely ovate or rhombus. The young plants have hairs on both sides of the leaves while the stems of the leaflets are 2 to 3 millimeters in length.  The flower heads contain many flowers that are axially array panicles and are 15-32 centimeters in length. The accompanying leaves are 12.5 millimeters in length and the axes of flower stand measure 2.5 to 5 millimeters. During the fruit-ripening stage, a leguminous fruit develops measuring 4-13 centimeters long and 1- 2 centimeters in width.

Medicinal Uses & Health Benefits

  1. Rich in saponin content, it absorbs the excess cholesterol and lowers the levels of cholesterol in our body due to its anti-cholesterol property. The saponin helps to bind bile acids
  2. The presence of flavonoids help to prevent the occurrence of free radicals and used as an anti-oxidation property
  3. People consume the herb to prevent premature ageing. This herb lifts the dull skin and regenerates the dead skin to maintain a healthy skin.
  4. Beneficial for digestion and used to treat diarrhoea
  5. The plant increases the libido which helps in improving a person’s sexual drive

 Possible Side Effects

  1. Excessive consumption leads to headaches and sleepiness
  2. We should intake not more than 500 mg per day
  3. Avoid consumption, when one is suffering from congestion, toxicity or in acute conditions.
  4. During pregnancy and breastfeeding, take the right amount of doses as it can affect the secretion of prolactin.
  5. If someone is allergic to any of the constituents of Fabaceae family, it is better to avoid.
  6. People suffering from schizophrenia or psychosis should avoid
  7. As the plant is rich in additive effects, the patients having diabetes or are under medication should be cautious

Cultivation & Propagation

Plough the field well so that the soil becomes porous to facilitate germination and sprouting. Add farmyard manure of 10 to 20 t/ha while preparing the land. The plantation takes about 180 to 200 days and sows during the last week of June before the onset of rainy season. The germination takes 8 to 10 days and the field is flourished with young vines in 9 months. For best growth and higher production of seeds, support the vines with bamboo sticks.

The spacing should be 1*0.75 m/ha or 1*0.6 m/ha depending upon the fertility of the soil. Mix fertilizers of 75, 50 and 50 kg/ha of NPK to get high yield seed.  The crop starts to produce mature pods after four months and collect 2 to 3 pickings of pods at an interval of 20 days at the time of pod maturing. Pluck the seeds when they become brown and dry.

Soil

Mucuna grows on different varieties of soil ranging from clays to sands but for best growth, it thrives on well- drained and acidic soil of light texture.

Best Time to Grow Mucuna Pruriens Plant

Unless the climate is tropical, the seedlings are put in the pots indoors. Plant them during the early springtime and then transplant the plants outdoors when there is no danger of frost unless.

Health & Security

During the initial stages of seedling, the collar of the herb gets rotten but we can control it by mixing 2 kilograms of Pseudomonas fluorescens and 2 kilograms of Trichorich which is a formulation of Trichoderma in neem cake. Add 500 kg FYM with the above two mixtures and apply in the root area. For controlling the pest, spray neem soap at 5 gm per litre.

Harvesting & Storage

Mucuna crop takes about four and a half months to mature after sowing.  We need to collect the seeds from the mature pods. During the time of harvesting, the pod becomes greyish brown indicating the pods have reached its maturity level. In a pod, there are a total of 3 to 7 seeds and 5 to 6 pods per inflorescence. We can harvest a total of 25 to 30 bunches per plant.

After harvesting the pods from the field, we need to dry them under the sun for 4 to 7 days. Store the seeds in gunny jute bags and cover with polythene so that the atmospheric moisture don’t absorb the seeds.

Marketing Mucuna Pruriens Plant

Importers, traditional practitioners, buyers within the country, Siddha and Ayurvedic drug manufacturers flock to the markets for procuring this plant every year. The international market has very high potential due to less production in India. Many government schemes are available to get a high profit as this cultivation provides tax-free high returns. The market for these medicinal plants is quite volatile and the economy may vary from time to time.

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