English : Common Cowitch, Cowhage
Botanical name : Mucuna prurita
Hindi Name : Kawanch, Kaunch
Family : Fabaceae
Propagation : By seed. Seeds collected in winter and soaked in water for 24 hours before sowing. Germination takes around 4-12 days, 90% seeds germinates.
Mucuna prurita is a tropical legume known as velvet bean or cowitch and by other common names (see below), found in Africa, India and the Caribbean. The plant is notorious for the extreme itchiness it produces on contact, particularly with the young foliage and the seed pods. It has value in agricultural and horticultural use and has a range of medicinal properties.
The plant is an annual, climbing shrub with long vines that can reach over 15 m in length. When the plant is young, it is almost completely covered with fuzzy hairs, but when older, it is almost completely free of hairs. The leaves are tripinnate, ovate, reverse ovate, rhombus-shaped or widely ovate. The sides of the leaves are often heavily grooved and the tips are pointy. In young M. prurita plants, both sides of the leaves have hairs. The stems of the leaflets are two to three millimeters long. Additional adjacent leaves are present and are about 5 mm long.
The flower heads take the form of axially arrayed panicles. They are 15 to 32 cm long and have two or three, or many flowers. The accompanying leaves are about 12.5 mm long, the flower stand axes are from 2.5 to 5 mm. The bell is 7.5 to 9` mm long and silky. The sepals are longer or of the same length as the shuttles. The crown is purplish or white. The flag is 1.5 mm long. The wings are 2.5 to 3.8 cm long.
In many parts of the world, Mucuna prurita is used as an important forage, fallow and green manure crop. Since the plant is a legume, it fixes nitrogen and fertilizes soil. M. prurita is a widespread fodder plant in the tropics. To that end, the whole plant is fed to animals as silage, dried hay or dried seeds. M. prurita silage contains 11-23% crude protein, 35-40% crude fiber, and the dried beans 20-35% crude protein. It also has use in the countries of Benin and Vietnam as a biological control for problematic Imperata cylindrica grass. M. prurita is said to not be invasive outside its cultivated area. However, the plant is known to be invasive within conservation areas of South Florida, where it frequently invades disturbed land and rockland hammock edge habitats.
Medicinal Uses :
Root : Purgative, prescribed as remedy for delirium in fevers
Fruit : Pods anthelmintic
Seed : Aphrodisian, nervine tonic, used in scorpion sting. Powdered seed paste applied to body in dropsy. Strong infusion mixed with honey is given in cholera.
1. Teak Seeds
2. Khamer Seeds
3. Red sandal Seeds
4. White sandal Seeds
5. Shisham Seeds
6. Khair Seeds