More Interesting Info...
Velvet Bean Mucuna Pruriens var. Utilis Seeds
Packet of 10+ seeds of the non stinging form originally from Honduras, but common in a lot of the world now.
Huge list of names, just as many common names as there are cultures and potential uses!
Here are just a couple.
Bengal bean, Buffalobean, Cabeca de frade, Cafe bean, Cafe incasa, Cafe listo, Carpogon capitatus, Carpogon niveus, Carpopogon atropurpureum, Carpopogon capitatum, Carpopogon niveum, Chiporro, Cowhage, Cowitch, Dolichos pruriens, Fava coceira, Frijol abono, Frijol terciopelo, Itch bean, Itchy bean, Itch pod, Krame, Macranthus cochinchinensis, Marcanthus cochinchinense, Mauritius bean, Mucuna aterrima, Mucuna atrocarpa, Mucuna axillaris, Mucuna bernieriana, Mucuna capitata, Mucuna cochinchinense, Mucuna cochinchinensis, Mucuna deeringiana, Mucuna esquirolii, Mucuna hassjoo, Mucuna luzoniensis, Mucuna lyonii, Mucuna martinii, Mucuna minima, Mucuna nivea, Mucuna prurita, Mucuna utilis, Mucuna velutina, Negretia mitis, Nescafe, Nescafe bean, Picapica, Po de mico, Pois mascate, Pois velus, Stizolobium aterrimum, Stizolobium atropurpureum, Stizolobium deeringianum, Stizolobium hassjoo, Stizolobium pruriens, Stizolobium utile, Stizolobium velutinum etc…
The wild form Mucuna pruriens is often called “Mad Bean” due to the massive amounts of irritant hairs the pods and leaves shed. These quite scary hairs or trichomes contain huge amounts of serotonin and mucanain and are a defencive mechanism used by the plant to prevent them being eaten.
Apparently some disgruntled farmers in Indian and China have taken to liberally sprinkling these nasty hairs on the food of enemies, causing a rather horrible reaction to the mouth and throat, massive unstoppable irritation and inflammation, extreme swelling and eventual death.
Not a lot of fun by the sound of things…
Anyway, not to worry, these are the hairless cultivated form, Mucuna pruriens var. utilus and are not really a drama at all. It is a specially selected non-stinging variety, and I personally don’t even wear gloves when harvesting the pods.
If you have a source for the hairy form, or for viable seeds of any of the relatives, please let me know!
Native to southern China and eastern India, but now grow widely across the tropics as a coffee substitute, a staple grain, a leafy green vegetable, animal fodder, soil improving companion plant, and even as a medicinal plant.
It has no insect pests that we have noticed, most likely due to naturally produced toxic compounds.
Here is a little data I found online that has some really interesting information, none of which I recommend you trying.
Untreated Mucuna pruriens can be toxic for human and non-ruminant animal consumption. The most important toxic compounds are the non-protein amino acids L-dopa (content in seeds <2% to >7%) and hallucinogenic tryptamines. Furthermore, trypsin-inhibiting activities have been detected in the seed. Grain treatment has best been done by boiling in water for one hour, pressure-cooking for 20 minutes, or boiling in water for 30 minutes after soaking in water for 48 hours. Despite the presence of anti-nutritional compounds however, there is evidence that velvet bean grains can be fed to ruminant animals to supplement their diet without apparent problems.
Mucuna pruriens is also used as a coffee substitute locally called “Nescafe”. The 48hour soaked beans are drained, dried then roasted, and used as per normal coffee.
The seeds of Mucuna pruriens have been used for treating many dysfunctions in Tibb-e-Unani (Unani Medicine), the traditional system of medicine of Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine.
The plant and its extracts have been long used in tribal communities as a toxin antagonist for various snakebites. Research on its effects against Naja spp. (cobra), Echis (Saw scaled viper), Calloselasma (Malayan Pit viper) and Bangarus (Krait) have shown it has potential use in the prophylactic treatment of snakebites.
Dried leaves of M. pruriens are sometimes smoked. It is also used in Siddha system of medicine for various purposes. It has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for diseases including Parkinson’s disease. M. pruriens contains L-DOPA, a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine and formulations of the seed powder have been studied for the management and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
In large amounts (e.g. 30 g dose), it has been shown to be as effective as pure levodopa/carbidopa in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, but no data on long-term efficacy and tolerability are available.
In addition to levodopa, it contains minor amounts of serotonin (5-HT), 5-HTP, nicotine, N,N-DMT (DMT), bufotenine, and 5-MeO-DMT. As such, it could potentially have psychedelic effects, and it has purportedly been used in ayahuasca preparations. The mature seeds of the plant contain about 3.1-6.1% L-DOPA, with trace amounts of 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin), nicotine, DMT-n-oxide, bufotenine, 5-MeO-DMT-n-oxide, and beta-carboline. One study using 36 samples of the seeds found no tryptamines present in them. The leaves contain about 0.5% L-DOPA, 0.006% dimethyltryptamine (DMT), 0.0025% 5-MeO-DMT and 0.003% DMT n-oxide. The ethanolic extract of leaves of Mucuna pruriens possesses anticataleptic and antiepileptic effect in albino rats. Dopamine and serotonin may have a role in such activity.
Please note, I do NOT recommend it as a treatment for anything, and am selling it solely as an attractive and interesting ornamental and nitrogen fixing herb. Super easy to grow, we just use 3 polystyrene boxes and get heaps of beans. It is all reshooting again now so we should get a few more harvests out these couple plants. Awesome looking chandelier of flowers then huge bunches of beans.
Grown by me and Mrs organically, no chems, no nasties, no problems!!!