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Kapikacchu Mucuna pruriens Benefits

Kapikacchu mucuna pruriens

Mucuna pruriens, commonly known as “kapikacchu,” has been established some thousand years ago for treating male infertility, nerve conditions, and several other health issues. Recent researches have evaluated its effectiveness in mental conditions. Because of the benefits and medicinal properties, several legends consider Mucuna pruriens as “magical velvet beans.”

What is Mucuna pruriens?

Mucuna pruriens is an annual climbing, tropical legume plant that belongs to the Fabaceae family. The plant is originated in Africa, Southern China, and Eastern India but now it is cultivated in the tropical and sub-tropical regions throughout the world. Mucuna pruriens is one of the popular green crops in the tropical region.

Mucuna pruriens is usually 15 meters tall with long and slender branches. It has lanceolate, ovate, tripinnate, rhombus-shaped alternately arranged leaves. It has white flowers with bluish-purple, butterfly-shaped corolla. The seeds are dark brown and are covered with hairy, thick, and leathery pods.

What are the benefits of Mucuna pruriens?

The leaves, roots and seed extract of Mucuna pruriens is widely used in the traditional medicine for the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Male infertility: Clinical trials have suggested that taking Mucuna pruriens extracts improves the level of dopamine (a type of chemical) in the brain. Improved levels of dopamine improve testosterone levels (male hormone), sperm motility, sperm count and treat male infertility.
  • Parkinson’s disease: Researches have shown that Mucuna pruriens extracts are known to have L-dopa as one of the chemical constituents. L-dopa mimics the action of dopamine and improves its levels in the brain. Thus, it helps in managing the symptoms of Parkinson’s diseases.
  • Anxiety: A study suggested that seed extract of Mucuna pruriens calms down the brain activity and inhibits the release of certain hormones that are responsible for anxiety.
  • Snakebites: According to certain scientific evidence, the powder extract of Mucuna pruriens seeds are known to have anti-venom property and are very effective in preventing the toxic effects of a snake bite.
  • Diabetes: According to studies, the phytochemicals present in the Mucuna pruriens extract mimics the action of insulin and controls the metabolism of glucose.
  • Skin diseases: Scientists believe that Mucuna pruriens extracts have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Presence of these properties prevents the cell damage and skin inflammation. Thus, it helps in the treatment of psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.

Apart from these uses, Mucuna pruriens extracts are also used in the treatment of seizures (fits), bacterial infections, sleep disorders, attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), depression, fever, scorpion stings, and arthritis.

What are the medicinal properties of Mucuna pruriens?

The following medicinal properties of Mucuna pruriens have been reported:

  • Anti-diabetic: The seed extract of Mucuna pruriens contain d-chiro-inositol, which is responsible for blood sugar lowering properties.
  • Antioxidant: The seeds and leave extract of Mucuna pruriens have flavonoids, polyphenols, and phenolic acids. These constituents inhibit the release of free radicals and prevent cell damage.
  • Anti-microbial: The leaves extract of Mucuna pruriens have tannins and phenols, which inhibit the activity of microorganisms.
  • Anti-inflammatory: The seed extract of Mucuna pruriens inhibits the release of certain chemicals that cause inflammation.
  • Neuroprotective: The seed extract of Mucuna pruriens improves the levels of certain chemicals in the brain and prevents the nerve cell damage.

What are the side effects of using Mucuna pruriens?

The plant extract of Mucuna pruriens is safe when used in recommended amounts for the prescribed duration of time. However, in some people, it may cause minor side effects, such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Abnormal movements of the body
  • Insomnia (sleeplessness)

The following are the rare, but serious side effects of Mucuna pruriens extracts:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

Topical application of Mucuna pruriens may cause severe skin irritation, swelling of the skin, and burning sensation of the skin.

Using Mucuna pruriens safely:

Mucuna pruriens are usually safe in most of the individuals. But, caution is advised in the individuals who have the following conditions:

Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Scientific information regarding the use of Mucuna pruriens is lacking in pregnant and breastfeeding women. So, it is advised to avoid these plant extracts.

Heart diseases: The chemical components present in this plant extract may cause orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure on standing), irregular heartbeat, dizziness, fainting and may worsen the existing heart condition.

Diabetes: The extract of Mucuna pruriens may lower blood sugar levels. Use of these extracts while on medicines to lower blood sugar levels may severely drop down blood sugar levels.

Surgery: The herb alters blood sugar levels during and after the surgery. So, stop using its extracts at least two weeks before undergoing a scheduled surgery.

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