Feb 12, 2014
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MUCUNA PRURITA

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Synonym ► M. pruriens Baker non DC.

Family ► Papilionaceae; Fabaceae.

Habitat ► Throughotu India, including Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

English ► Cowhage, Horse-eye Bean.

Ayurvedic ► Aatmaguptaa, Kapikac- chuu, Rshabhi, Adhigandhaa, Ajadaaa, Kacchuraa, Laan- guli, Rshyaproktaa, Svaguptaa, Shyaamguptaa, Markati, Kanduraa, Kevaanch, Shuukashimbi.

Unani ► Konchh.

Siddha/Tamil ► Poonaikkaali.

Action ► Seed—astringent, nervine tonic, local stimulant, used in impotence, spermatorrhoea, urinary troubles, leucorrhoea, traditionally used for male virility. Also used in depressive neurosis. Hair on fruit— vermifuge, mild vesicant; used for diseases of liver and gallbladder. Leaf—applied to ulcers. Pod— anthelmintic. Root and fruit—spasmolytic, hypoglycaemic. Root— CNS active.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia ofIn- dia recommends the seed in impotence and paralysis agitans; the root in vaginal laxity.

The seeds contain the alkaloids, mu- cunine, mucunadine, mucunadinine, prurieninine, pruriendine and nicotine, besides beta-sitosterol, gluthione, lecithin, vernolic and gallic acids. They contain a number of bioactive substances including tryptamine, alky- lamines, steroids, flavonoids, cou- marins and cardenolides. L-DOPA is present in the seed as well as in the stem, leaves and roots.

Major constituents of the hairs on the pod are amines such as 5-hydroxy- tryptamine (serotonin), and a proteolytic enzyme mucuanain. (Serotonin was present only in pods.)

Prurieninine slowed down heart rate, lowered blood pressure and stimulated intestinal peristalsis in experiments carried out on frogs. The spas- molysis of smooth muscles was caused by indole bases.

Seed diet produced hypoglycaemic effect in normal rats, however, such diet had insignificant effect on alloxan- treated rats.

There is some evidence that Cow- hage might be useful for chlorproma- zine-induced hyperprolactinemia in men. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.) (Males with hy- perprolactinemia frequently face im- potency.) (Cured seeds are used in Indian medicine for male sexual dysfunction.)

Mucuna cochinchinensis Cheval.; synonym M. nivea (Roxb.) DC.; Sti- zolobium niveum Kuntze (cultivated in Bengal and Bihar for edible pods and seeds) is known as Lyon Bean (Khamach in Bengal). The pod yielded L-DOPA (0.06%).

Dosage ► Cured seed—3-6 g (API, Vol. III); root—3-6 g powder for decoction (API, Vol. IV.)

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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