Velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens)
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Mucuna pruriens (syn. Dolichos pruriens) is a tropical legume known by a multitude of common names, including velvet bean, cowitch, cowhage, kapikachu, nescafe[verification needed], konch[verification needed], yerepe (Yoruba) and atmagupta.
The plant is an annual, climbing shrub with long vines that can reach over 15 m. It bears white, lavender, or purple flowers and pods that are covered in loose orange hairs which cause a severe itch if they come in contact with skin. The seed are shiny black or brown sea beans. It is found in tropical Africa, India and the Caribbean.
One hundred mecuna pruriens seeds weigh between 55-85g.
Mucuna pruriens seed powder contains high concentrations of levodopa, a direct precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine and has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for diseases including parkinsonism. In large amounts (30 g dose) it and has been shown to be equally effective in the treatment of parkinsons disease as pure levodopa/carbidopa medications, but no data on long-term efficacy and tolerability is available.
In addition to levodopa, Mucuna also contains 5-HTP, nicotine, N,N-DMT, bufotenine, and 5-MeO-DMT. As such, it would have psychedelic effects, and has purportedly been used in ayahuasca preparations.