Ayurveda recommends Kapikacchu /Mucuna pruriens or velvet bean to improve sexual health of men. It is used in treatment of erectile dysfunction and male infertility.
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About Kapikacchu or Mucuna Plant
Kapikacchu is a legume, found in Africa, India and the Caribbean. This plant is also known as cowhage, cowitch , Velvet Bean , Itchy bean, Buffalo bean etc. Velvet bean’s botanical name is Mucuna pruriens and belongs to Family Fabaceae.
It is an annual, climbing shrub which grows over 13 – 15 m height. The young plant is completely covered by hair where as older plants are free of it. The leaves are tripinnate . Flowers are white, lavender, or purple. The fruits are leguminous. The husk is very hairy and carries up to seven seeds. Its seed pods are about 10 cm long and are covered in loose, orange hairs that cause a severe itch if they come in contact with skin. The chemical compounds responsible for the itch are a protein, mucunain, and serotonin
In India it is known by different names in different languages. Like,
- Kevancha, kavach or kevach in Hindi.
- Nasugunni Kai in Kannada
- Naikurana in Malayalam
- Poonai Kaali Vithu, poonaiKali Vithu, poonaiKali Vidai in Tamil
Synonyms in ayurveda
This herb is refferred with many names based on its structure and medicinal properties.
It is Kapikacchu – as its soft brown bristles on fruits cause severe itching when comes in contact with skin. Guptapala, Svagupta, Atmagupta – These three names are because fruit and seeds are protected with a coat of soft hair. They hide behind these itchy hairs. Markati – Hairs on fruits resemble hair of monkey. Kandura – Kandu means itching. The one which causes itching. Shukashimbi – the fruit resembles bird’s beak.
Ayurveda Medicinal Properties of Mucuna Pruriens
Texts of ayurveda explain pharmacological and medicinal properties of Kapikacchu as follows.
This herb is very heavy to digest ( Guru ) and increases softness and moistness of tissues (snigdha). It has sweet taste (madhura rasa) and also has bitter taste (tikta rasa). It taste sweet even after digestion. It increases body heat (ushna) and balances all three doshas (vata dosha, pitta dosha and kapha dosha) specially vata dosha . Hence it is administered in diseases caused due to vitiation of vata. It strongly influences reproductive system of men and strengthens it , by its aphrodisiac properties (vrushya).
A research conducted on medicinal properties of mucuna in Banaras Hindu University, says “The plant Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae) is an established herbal drug, widely known as “velvet bean,” a vigorous annual climbing legume originally from Southern China and Eastern India, where it was at one time widely cultivated as a green vegetable crop. 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 antiparkinson and neuroprotective effects, which may be related to its antioxidant activity and used for the management of male infertility, nervous disorders, and also as an aphrodisiac.” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317304163_Phytochemistry_and_pharmacological_activity_of_Mucuna_pruriens_A_review
Seeds contain protein, lipids, dietary fiber, ash, carbohydrates, minerals and it contains plenty of alkaloids, saponins and sterols. The main ingredients are L-dopa , mucanine and serotonin. L-Dopa acts as anti-Parkinson’s and increases testosterone.
Ayurvedic Benefits and Uses of Kapikacchu
Mucuna pruriens or kapikacchu has various health benefits. Uses of mucuna pruriens are very well explained in Ayurveda. This plant balances vata and increases kapha and pitta. Hence it is recommended in diseases which arise due to imbalance of vata.
Mucuna pruriens for Erectile Dysfunction and Sperm Health
Ayurveda acharyas eulogise this herb as “vrushya” (aphrodisiac). This is a vajikarana herb which is regularly used in ayurveda vajikarana therapy. It is the best ayurvedic medicine for erectile dysfunction. It helps to naturally increase sperm count and sperm motility . Hence ayurvedic doctors recommend seeds of this herb in ayurvedic treatment for oligospermia and male infertility.
Mucuna Pruriens and Testosterone
A study has shown that consumption of mucuna helps to increase Serum levels of male hormones like testosterone (T), luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3551850/) . These hormones improve quality of erection and also boost sperm count and motility.
Texts of ayurveda recommend to use seeds of mucuna pruriens , which act as vrishya (aphrodisiac). The seeds of this plant are eulogized as the best vrishya and vajikara, which increase sexual functions in men. They help in conditions like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and low sperm count. This increases quality and quantity of semen. Regular use of these seeds increase libido in men. Hence seeds of kapikacchu are used in vajikarana preparations. Many Ayurvedic Vajikarana Rasayana contain this herb. This herb is a main ingredient along with safed musli or shweta musli in Musalyadi churna. This preparation is recommended in sexual dysfunction.
The bio-molecules present in roots and seeds of mucuna help to strengthen the nervous system and reduce stress. Hence it acts as a tonic to nervous system. It relieves stress and elevates mood. This herb increases blood circulation to the reproductive system and improves its nourishment. All these factors help to improve health of male reproductive system.
Improves Body Strength and Healthy Body weight.
Ayurveda acharyas have grouped this plant under Balya (body strengthening herbs), Madhura skanda (herbs with sweet taste) and Vatasamshamana (Herbs which normalize vata dosha). Ayurveda acharyas recommend use of this herb to strengthen the body, increase stamina and muscle (mamsa Dhatu) bulk. Hence this herb is recommended in ayurveda weight gain treatment or brumhana therapy. Testosterone stimulating effect of this herb help to build and strengthen muscle mass.
In Intestinal Parasites
The tribal people use plant and its extracts as anti venom for various snake bites.
For Menstrual Problems
Seeds of velvet bean or mucuna are also effective in dysmenorrhea (gynecological condition of pain during menstruation) in women. Texts of ayurveda mention the usage of seeds to strengthen the muscles of vagina and support regular ovulation.
Home Remedies with Mucuna or Kapikacchu
Kapikacchu is recommended in many home remedies
For recovery after sexual activity
1 tea spoon of powder of mucuna has to be stirred in a glass of warm milk. This milk has to be taken twice daily before meals. It helps to increase sexual energy, stamina and fatigue. It also helps in erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
For body and muscle pain
Take powders of Mucuna, Shatavari and Tribulus or Gokshura in equal quantity. Mix these together and store in an airtight container. During body ache take a tea spoon of this mixture of herbs and boil with 2 cups of water. Boil till the quantity reduces to half. Filter this to remove herbs and drink the decoction. This can be taken in quantity of 50 ml once daily. It is very useful in backache too.
For Loss of memory and coordination in elders.
Take a tea spoon of roughly powdered mucuna. Boil this in a cup of cow’s milk for 3 minutes. Add a tea spoon of ghee and little sugar candy (misri). 5 gram of coarse powder of mucuna is cooked with cow’s milk. This can be consumed twice daily after food. It also helps in back pain and sciatica which is common among senior citizens.
A sweet recipe of Kapikacchu for weight gain.
Take 30 grams of finely powdered kapikacchu. Boil this with 100 ml of milk till it turns thick like cake batter. Add 15 ml of ghee at this stage and fry till it turns to golden brown and forms a lump. Spread this on a plate smeared with pure ghee. When it is cooled cut this into pieces and store in an airtight container. Consume this daily for a healthy weight gain. You can also add aromatic spices like cardamom, clove or saffron (Health Benefits of Saffron or Kesar or Crocus Sativus – An Ayurveda View).
A remedy to boost memory and concentration.
Prepare a kashaya or decoction using seeds of velvet bean. Drink this daily (20 ml twice daily). This calms mind and acts as an ayurvedic medicine for memory and concentration (booster) and
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