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Mucuna Pruriens: Benefits, Properties?

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Mucuna Pruriens: Benefits, Properties?

Mucuna pruriens is a vigorous climbing annual legume that has purple flowers purple, flowers between September and November, the fruits are born between January and the beginning of spring. The large leaves are trefoil, those smaller oval, elliptical or rhomboid based unequal, membranous and equipped with a light down of a long stalk, branches can be 30 cm while the seeds of 1.3-1.7 cm . The genus Mucuna belongs to the Fabaceae family, sub family Papilionaceae, and includes about 100 species of annual and perennial legumes.

With the English terms "cowitch" and "cowhage" are specified types of Mucuna that have a stinging hair on the pod, which in contact with the skin develops an intense and itchy dermatitis, caused by mucunaina. Are named with the term "velvet bean" species that are not irritating. The seeds have a color ranging from black to creamy white to gray to beige, mottled, from planting to harvest can go from 100 to 300 days. Flowering takes place in mid-October regardless of the date of sowing: This fact suggests that the life cycle is photo periodic, ie based on the length of day and night. Flowering can also be stimulated by the cooler night temperatures. The plants die 45-60 days after flowering.

Mucuna pruriens also has a good resistance to many abiotic stresses such as drought, high acidity and low fertility of the soil, but is sensitive to frost and grows poorly in cold-humid lands. It prefers areas with lower altitude of 1500 meters with abundant rainfall and hot and humid climate: in these conditions the plant can reach 10 meters long. Also produces a large amount of leaves (5-12 tons per hectare) that gradually fall and form a layer of natural fertilizer, for this reason, one of the uses of Mucuna is to "green manure" for other crops, particularly orchards .

The production of pods is highly dependent on environmental conditions but can reach 2 tons per hectare, especially if the plant has the ability to climb trees, fences or other support. Like other legumes Mucuna also has the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen through a symbiosis with soil microorganisms: the rhizobia on the roots convert it into a form available to the plant (salts of ammonium and nitrate) that is stored in the leaves, in the branches and in the seeds, making the plant an efficient source of nitrogen.

Although it contains substances that are not well tolerated by the body, such as the non-protein amino acid L-dopa, the tryptamines, phenols, tannins, lectins and protease inhibitors, Mucuna pruriens is a plant used as food for some populations of the subtropical Asia. It 'a legume native to southern China and eastern India, where its seeds were used primarily as food, especially in times of famine, after being boiled for a long time to get rid of most of the anti-nutritional factors and toxins.

Even in Africa there were reports of use for food, both human and animal, especially in Ghana, Nigeria and Mozambique in the latter country broke a crisis of psychosis generally attributed to an inappropriate consumption of the seeds; In fact, because of the famine and drought, the water used to boil the seeds instead of being thrown away, he was drunk, causing intoxication and hallucinations due to the presence of L-dopa and hallucinogenic alkaloids extracted from the hot water. In northern Nigeria, however, the long hairs on the plant were used by local tribes to prepare poisonous arrows.

The seed has been used in folk medicine in Africa, especially in Nigeria, for protection against snake bite. The Nigerian folk medicine says that when two seeds are swallowed intact the individual is protected for a whole year against the lethal effect of the venom of a snake. Even in Mexico and Gautemala the plant has gained importance from the nutritional point of view, the seeds are roasted and ground to obtain a sort of coffee; in those areas is called "Nescafe". M.pruriens is a plant traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine from India, the oldest medical system in the world, founded on scientific principles: the first use in Ayurvedic medicine dates back more than 4500 years.

The seeds of M.pruriens have good nutritional qualities containing adequate amounts of protein (29%), starch (39%) and amino acid levels similar to other common tropical legumes, comparable with the requirements of the model FAO / WHO, except for sulfur containing amino acids, which have low levels in the seeds. The seeds contain carbohydrates useful for health as they have positive effects for both the diet of diabetics, slowly increasing the levels of glucose in the blood, because they reduce the levels of cholesterol in the plasma. All parts of M. pruriens are known to possess many pharmacological activities. E 'was reported in the literature that this plant contains many phytochemicals sostenze of high therapeutic value. It 'been confirmed dell'alcaloide 5-methoxy-tryptamine in all samples tested and serotonin isolated only from the fresh leaves and the stems. Gupta et al. (1997) reported the antineoplastic antiepileptic activity and metabolic extract of the roots. The leaves are aphrodisiac, anthelmintic and useful in the treatment of ulcers, inflammation and general weakness.

The hairs of the pods, mixed with honey, it is used as a vermifuge.

The seeds, powder, have aphrodisiac properties, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, antiparassitiche, diuretic and especially anti-Parkinson's. This latter property is due to the presence of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (levodopa or L-dopa).
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This non-protein amino acid, synthesized starting from the essential L-tyrosine, is the precursor of dopamine, a neurotransmitter. For Seizure content has recently been used for the preparation and synthesis of new pesticides for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Important clinical trials have shown that L-dopa is contained in the seeds can produce more significant effects in the treatment of the disease compared to the synthetic molecule used in drug therapy, also having fewer side effects such as dyskinesia, vomiting and diarrhea.

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asked Jun 30, 2014 by Lancomega Level (10,245 points)
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