Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens var utilis): A Cover Crop for Hot and Humid Areas

By: Justin Duncan
Published December 2021

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Mucuna, also known as velvet bean, is a subtropical legume that produces prodigious amounts of foliage and is most likely native to Southern Asia. There, it is widely consumed, after thorough preparation, and also used in medicinal preparations. Mucuna contains L Dopa, which is used for Parkinson’s disease therapy. It has also been called an aphrodisiac, used for scorpion stings, and utilized to treat arthritis. Mucuna has also been used as an anti-diabetic, anti-helminthic, and antibiotic, and it contains antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Although they have medicinal properties, velvet beans are more widely known to cause severe itching (Lampariello et al., 2012). The pods and some parts of the flowers are covered in stinging hairs that are used in itching powder.

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