The plant Mucuna is an annual climbing shrub with long vines that can reach over fifteen meters in length. About 100–150 Mucuna species are found in the tropic and subtropic regions of both hemispheres of the earth. The genus Mucuna belongs to the family Leguminosae. It is commonly known as Kewanch, velvet bean, cowhage and kappikachhu and is found widely in India as a hardy, herbaceous, vigorous, twining annual plant. The size and dimension of the Mucuna seeds, pods, platelets and leaves change from species to species. The hair present on pods is anthelmintic, which causes itching. People are seeking great attention towards Mucuna due to its several medicinal properties, including L-DOPA (L-3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine) along with supplementary antioxidants that are used for treating Parkinson’s disease and many neurodegenerative diseases. Thus it is being used in about 200 medicinal formulations. The current chapter outlines the work that determines the influence of different nutritional, anti-nutritional and medicinal values and bioactive agents from different parts of the Mucuna species present in India and its importance in medicine.
Part of the book: Legume Crops