Mucuna

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Mucuna
Mucuna gigantea.jpg
Mucuna gigantea flowers
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Tribe: Phaseoleae
Genus: Mucuna
Adans.[1]
Species

Some 100, see text.

Synonyms

Carpopogon Roxb.
Citta Lour.
Macranthus Lour.
Stizolobium P.Browne[1]

Mucuna is a genus of around 100 accepted species of climbing vines and shrubs of the family Fabaceae, found worldwide in the woodlands of tropical areas.

The leaves are 3-palmate, alternate or spiraled, and the flowers are pea-like but larger, with distinctive curved petals, and occurring in racemes. Like other legumes, Mucuna plants bear pods. They are generally bat-pollinated and produce seeds that are buoyant sea-beans. These have a characteristic three-layered appearance, appearing like the eyes of a large mammal in some species and like a hamburger in others (most notably M. sloanei) and giving rise to common names like deer-eye beans, ox-eye beans or hamburger seed.

The name of the genus is derived from mucunã, a Tupi–Guarani word for these species.[2]

Uses and ecology[edit]

The pods of some species are covered in coarse hairs that contain the proteolytic enzyme mucunain and cause itchy blisters when they come in contact with skin; specific epithets such as pruriens (Latin: "itching") or urens (Latinized Ancient Greek: "stinging like a nettle") refer to this. Other parts of the plant have medicinal properties. The plants are used in herbalism against a range of conditions, such as urinary tract, neurological and menstruation disorders, constipation, edema, fevers, tuberculosis, ulcers, Parkinson's disease[3] and helminthiases like elephantiasis.[4] Velvet Bean (M. pruriens) is one of the most important sources of L-dopa, a common component of nootropics ("smart drugs"); it also contains serotonin, 5-HTP, nicotine and some decidedly psychoactive compounds (see below).[5]

Several species, such as the New Guinea Creeper (M. novo-guineensis) and M. pruriens, have brought into cultivation, although at temperatures below about 10 °C they need to be grown indoors. They are grown as ornamental plants and, locally, for food. There is interest in developing Mucuna species as a sustainable, edible cover crop. A scientific newsletter, Mucuna News, has been produced in 2001/2002 to publish the results of an international workshop focusing on improved cultivation techniques.

5-MeO-DMT, one of the psychedelic tryptamines found in Velvet Bean (M. pruriens) in trace quantities[6]

The genus is of some interest as a cover crop and living mulch for tropical areas; it can increase phosphorus availability after application of rock phosphate.[7] M. pruriens was used in Native American milpa agriculture and popular as green manure in the southern United States before it was replaced by soybean in the mid-late 20th century. Mucuna is also used as a food crop, e.g. in eastern Nigeria, although the L-dopa content makes it less desirable. The plant must be processed before it can be eaten; for example, the leaves must be soaked to leach out the L-dopa. The seeds are also cracked open and soaked before they are eaten.[8]

Mucuna pod hairs are a common ingredient in itching powder. On the other hand, the hairless parts of certain species are used by some South American shamans to make an entheogenic snuff.[9] Presence of the hallucinogenic tryptamines 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenine and dimethyltryptamine,[5] and supposedly[verification needed][citation needed] the beta-Carboline 6-MeO-Harmane has been confirmed in M. pruriens, apparently the only thoroughly researched species thus far.

Some Mucuna species are used as a food plant by caterpillars of Lepidoptera. These include Morpho butterflies and the Two-barred Flasher (Astraptes fulgerator) which is sometimes found on M. holtonii and perhaps others. The plant pathogenic fungus Mycosphaerella mucunae is named for being first discovered on Mucuna.

Species[edit]

Mucuna sloanei parts drawing from Vervolg ob de Avbeeldingen der artseny-gewassen met derzelver Nederduitsche en Latynsche beschryvingen (Adolphus Ypey, 1813)
Mucuna urens habitus
Hamburger Seed
Mucuna urens - MHNT

Formerly placed here[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Genus: Mucuna Adans.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  2. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. 3 M-Q. CRC Press. p. 1738. ISBN 978-0-8493-2677-6. 
  3. ^ Katzenschlager et al. (2004)
  4. ^ Oudhia (2002)
  5. ^ a b Erowid (2002)
  6. ^ Szabo, N. J. (April 2003). "Indolealkylamines in Mucuna species". Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems 1 (2-3): 295–307. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  7. ^ Vanlauwe et al. (2000)
  8. ^ Oudhia (2002), Diallo & Berhe (2003)
  9. ^ Chamakura (1994)
  10. ^ ILDIS (2005)
  11. ^ a b "GRIN Species Records of Mucuna". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 

References[edit]

  • Chamakura, R.P. (1994): Bufotenine – a hallucinogen in ancient snuff powders of South America and a drug of abuse on the streets of New York City. Forensic Science Review 6(1): 1–18.
  • Diallo, O.K. & Berhe, T. (2003): Processing the Mucuna for Human Food in the Republic of Guinea. Tropical and Subtropical Agroecosystems 1(2/3): 193–196. PDF fulltext
  • Erowid (2002): Mucuna pruriens. Created 2002-APR-22. Retrieved 2007-DEC-17.
  • International Legume Database & Information Service (ILDIS) (2005): Genus Mucuna. Version 10.01, November 2005. Retrieved 2007-DEC-17.
  • Katzenschlager, R.; Evans, A.; Manson, A.; Patsalos, P.N.; Ratnaraj, N.; Watt, H.; Timmermann, L.; van der Giessen, R. & Lees, A.J. (2004): Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson's disease: a double blind clinical and pharmacological study. Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 75(12): 1672–1677. doi:10.1136/jnnp.2003.028761 PMID 15548480 (HTML abstract)
  • Oudhia, Pankaj (2002): Kapikachu or Cowhage (Mucuna pruriens) Crop Fact Sheet. Version of 5-9-2002. Retrieved 2007-DEC-17.
  • Vanlauwe, B.O.: Nwoke, C.; Diels, J.; Sanginga, N.; Carsky, R.J.; Deckers, J. & Merckx, R. (2000): Utilization of rock phosphate by crops on a representative toposequence in the Northern Guinea savanna zone of Nigeria: response by Mucuna pruriens, Lablab purpureus and maize. Soil Biology and Biochemistry '32(14): 2063–2077. doi:10.1016/S0038-0717(00)00149-8 (HTML abstract)

External links[edit]