Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae)

The following information is directly pulled from the National Institutes of Health database. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a biomedical research facility primarily located in Bethesda, Maryland. An agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, it is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research.

The Magic Velvet Bean of Mucuna pruriens


Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae) is an established herbal drug used for the management of male infertility, nervous disorders, and also as an aphrodisiac. It has been shown that its seeds are potentially of substantial medicinal importance. The ancient Indian medical system, Ayurveda, traditionally used M. pruriens, even to treat such things as Parkinson’s disease. M. pruriens has been shown to have anti-parkinson and neuroprotective effects, which may be related to its anti-oxidant activity. In addition, anti-oxidant activity of M. pruriens has been also demonstrated in vitro by its ability to scavenge DPPH radicals and reactive oxygen species. In this review the medicinal properties of M. pruriens are summarized, taking in consideration the studies that have used the seeds extracts and the leaves extracts.

Keywords: Mucuna pruriens, Phytochemicals, Antioxidant, Parkinson’s disease, Skin, Diabetes


The genus Mucuna, belonging to the Fabaceae family, sub family Papilionaceae, includes approximately 150 species of annual and perennial legumes. Among the various under-utilized wild legumes, the velvet bean Mucuna pruriens is widespread in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It is considered a viable source of dietary proteins (Janardhanan et al., 2003; Pugalenthi et al., 2005) due to its high protein concentration (23–35%) in addition its digestibility, which is comparable to that of other pulses such as soybean, rice bean, and lima bean (Gurumoorthi et al., 2003). It is therefore regarded a good source of food.

Mucuna pruriens as a traditional medicine

M. pruriens is a popular Indian medicinal plant, which has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine, for diseases including:

  • parkinsons
  • aphrodisiac
  • treats nervous disorders
  • arthritis
  • resists insects
  • anti-oxidant
  • anti-microbial
  • anti-diabetic
  • anti-neoplastic
  • anti-epileptic
  • analgesic
  • anti-inflammatory

Supporting Data

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