Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume native to Africa and tropical Asia and widely naturalized and cultivated. Its English common names include Mucuna, Kapikachu, monkey tamarind, velvet bean, Bengal velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, Mauritius velvet bean, Yokohama velvet bean, cowage, cowitch, lacuna bean, and Lyon bean. The plant is notorious for the extreme itchiness it produces on contact, particularly with the young foliage and the seed pods.
The plant is an annual climbing shrub with long vines that can reach over 15 metres in length. When the plant is young, it is almost completely covered with fuzzy hairs. It bears white, lavender, or purple flowers.
In many parts of the world Mucuna pruriens is used as an important forage, fallow and green manure crop. Since the plant is a legume, it fixes nitrogen and fertilises soil. In Indonesia, particularly Java, the beans are eaten and widely known as ‘Benguk’. The beans can also be fermented to form a food similar to tempe and known as Benguk tempe or ‘tempe Benguk’. It is a widespread fodder plant in the tropics.
It has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine.
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Cut herbs are herbs which have been harvested and then cut into smaller pieces, suitable for further processing. Cut herbs like Mucuna Pruriens / Mucuna (Kapikachu) Beans Cut can be used to produce tinctures or fluid extracts. They can also be used in herbal teas and infusions.