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Mucuna pruriens - Kapikachchu

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Kapikachuchu, Cowhage, Mucuna pruriens

Kapikachuchu is a tropical legume native to Africa and tropical Asia and widely naturalized and cultivated. The plant is notorious for the extreme itchiness it produces on contact, particularly with the young foliage and the seed pods.


Nervous system problems, Stress, Parkinson’s disease, Brain disease, Prolactin levels, Male Infertility, Diarrhoea, Sore throats, Piles, Swelling, Worms[1].


Mucuna pruriens can be used in Food. Leaves and seeds are cooked as vegetable.[2]

Parts Used

Root, Leaf, Seed[1].

Chemical Composition

There are many ingredients in mucuna pruriens, while L-dopa is the main content that we care about. Mature seeds contain typically 3.1-6.1% Levodopa, although up to 12.5% has been recorded. The leaves tend to contain around 0.5%.[3]

Common names

Language Common name
Kannada Nayisonanguballi, Kadavare, Nayisonku balli
Hindi Kewanch
Malayalam Naicorna
Tamil Punaippidukkan
Telugu Pilliadugu
Marathi NA
Gujarathi NA
Punjabi NA
Kashmiri NA
Sanskrit Atmagupta
English Velvet bean, Cowitch



Reference: Dravya - Substance, Rasa - Taste, Guna - Qualities, Veerya - Potency, Vipaka - Post-digesion effect, Karma - Pharmacological activity, Prabhava - Therepeutics.



Tikta (Bitter), Kashaya (Astringent)


Laghu (Light), Ruksha (Dry), Tikshna (Sharp)


Ushna (Hot)


Katu (Pungent)


Kapha, Vata


Nutritional components

Mucuna pruriens Contains the Following nutritional components like - Vitamin- A, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), B6 and C; Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc[2]





Kind Shape Feature
Simple Trifoliate Lateral leaflets conspicuously asymmetrical, 7–15 cm long, 5–12 cm wide, terminal leaflet symmetrical, somewhat smaller



Type Size Color and composition Stamen More information
Unisexual 4–13 cm long Purple or white 5 Usually more or less S-shaped, finely pubescent with white to light brown hairs. Flowering from September to November


Type Size Mass Appearance Seeds More information
Simple 7–10 mm Clearly grooved lengthwise, Lowest hooked hairs aligned towards crown 100-seed {{{6}}}

Other features

List of Ayurvedic medicine in which the herb is used

Mushalyadi churna, Iksurahdi lehyam, Mashabaladi kashaya, Amritaprasha ghrita, Confido, Jariforte, Tentex Forte, Mentat, Vigorex[5]

Where to get the saplings

Mode of Propagation

Seeds, Cuttings.

How to plant/cultivate

Mucuna is a popular kharif crop in India. Seeds are sown at rate of 50 kg/ha between 15 June to 15th July with plant spacing of 60 × 60 cm. Delayed sowing may result in infestation of aphids (Aphis craccivora) (Oudhia 2001a )[6]. Mucuna pruriens is available through August to January[2].

Commonly seen growing in areas

Tall grasslands, Meadows, Borders of forests and fields.

Photo Gallery


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 ”Karnataka Medicinal Plants Volume-3” by Dr.M. R. Gurudeva, Page No.629, Published by Divyachandra Prakashana, #6/7, Kaalika Soudha, Balepete cross, Bengaluru
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Forest food for Northern region of Western Ghats" by Dr. Mandar N. Datar and Dr. Anuradha S. Upadhye, Page No.91, Published by Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Science (MACS) Agharkar Research Institute, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar Road, Pune
  3. Chemical Constituents
  4. Morphology
  5. Ayurvedic preparations
  6. Cultivation

External Links