What is Velvet Bean? What are the Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects of Kaunch Beej? Velvet Bean Recipes

Table of Contents

1. What is Velvet Bean? 
2. Morphology and Chemical Constituent of Velvet Bean
3. Common Names of Mucuna Pruriens
4. Global Distribution and Cultivation Practices
5. Nutritional Value of Kaunch Beej
6. Ayurvedic Properties of Velvet Bean
7. Dosha Affinities
8. Ayurvedic Formulations 
9. Best Time of Intake
10. Health Benefits of Kaunch Beej 
11. Uses of Velvet Bean
12. Ayurvedic Formulations
13. Velvet Bean combined with other herbs
14. Velvet Bean Tasty Recipes 
15. Factors to Consider When Buying Velvet Bean
16. Potential Side Effects and Precautions
17. Frequently Asked Question

1. What is Velvet Bean? 

Mucuna pruriens, commonly known as velvet bean, is a legume that is native to tropical regions around the world. It is known for its high levels of L-DOPA, which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Mucuna pruriens has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and has recently gained popularity as a dietary supplement due to its potential health benefits. It is available in various forms such as powder, capsules, and extracts.

The health benefits of Mucuna pruriens are believed to include improved mood, cognitive function, and fertility, as well as reduced stress and inflammation. It is also used as a natural remedy for Parkinson's disease due to its ability to increase dopamine levels in the brain. However, like any supplement, it may cause side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and headaches, and may interact with certain medications.

Dopa Mucuna recipes are formulations that combine Mucuna pruriens with other ingredients to create a delicious and nutritious supplement. These recipes often include ingredients such as coconut milk, almond butter, and honey, and are designed to provide a tasty way to incorporate Mucuna pruriens into a daily diet. In this article, we will explore the health benefits, uses, and side effects of Mucuna pruriens in more detail.

Mucuna Pruriens

2. Morphology and Chemical Constituent of Velvet Bean

Morphology of Mucuna Pruriens Seeds

Mucuna pruriens seeds are generally dark brown to black in color and are approximately 1-2 cm long. The seed coat is hard and rough, and the seeds are kidney-shaped and slightly flattened. The seeds are covered with dense hairs that can cause severe itching and irritation when they come into contact with the skin.

They are covered with thick hairy pods. It is sweet, bitter in taste, hot in potency, and heavy to digest.

It is a healthy plant-based protein valued for its medicinal properties because of its rich nutritional value.

Dopa mucuna has impressive nutritional profiles of carbohydrates, fibers, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

It also has Vitamin C and E which helps to boost the immune system. Mucuna Pruriens seeds are used as a major dietary protein source or a medical product. In Ayurveda, it is used as an aphrodisiac (to increase sexual desire).

Mucuna Pruriens seeds are used in traditional medicine and as a food source. The seeds of Mucuna pruriens are a rich source of various bioactive compounds and nutrients.

Chemical Constituents of Mucuna Pruriens Seeds

L-Dopa: Mucuna pruriens is one of the richest natural sources of L-dopa, a precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which has been found to be effective in treating Parkinson's disease.

Proteins and Amino Acids: The seeds are a rich source of proteins and amino acids, including tryptophan, lysine, and arginine.

Flavonoids: It contains various flavonoids, including quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Alkaloids: They contain alkaloids, such as mucunine and mucunadine, which have been shown to have various pharmacological activities.

Sterols: The seeds contain various sterols, including β-sitosterol, which has been found to have cholesterol-lowering properties.

Carbohydrates: It contains carbohydrates, including starch and sugars.

Minerals: The seeds are a rich source of minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Lipids: The seeds contain lipids, including fatty acids and phospholipids.

3. Common Names of Mucuna Pruriens

For Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens), there are several common names that have been attributed to the plant. These names reflect various aspects of its nature and usage:

Velvet Bean

This common name refers to the plant's velvety appearance, particularly its pods and seeds, which are covered in soft hairs. The term "velvet" emphasizes the texture of the plant, distinguishing it from other beans or legumes.

Cowhage and Cowitch

These names are derived from the plant's historical use as a fodder crop for cattle. The term "hage" or "hitch" relates to its association with cows. In some regions, the plant's hairs were also known to cause itching, leading to the name "cowitch."

Kapikachhu or Kapikachchhu

These names are commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, particularly in India. "Kapikachhu" is derived from the Sanskrit term "Kapikacchu," which translates to "monkey's itch." It is believed to refer to the plant's itch-inducing properties and its potential for treating ailments related to the nervous system.

Kaunch Beej

This name is commonly used in India, where Velvet Bean is widely known for its medicinal properties. "Kaunch" or "Kawach" refers to the Velvet Bean plant, and "Beej" means seed in Hindi.

Itchy Bean

Velvet Bean is sometimes called Itchy Bean because the plant's pods are covered in tiny hairs that can cause itching and irritation if they encounter the skin. This name highlights one of the distinctive features of the plant.

Some others are:

  • Atmagupta
  • Kiwanch
  • Bengal Bean
  • Buffalo Bean
  • Lyon Bean

4. Global Distribution and Cultivation Practices

Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) is cultivated and distributed across various regions worldwide, primarily in tropical and subtropical climates. Here's an overview of its global distribution and cultivation practices:


Velvet Bean is native to South Asia, particularly India, where it has a long history of traditional use in Ayurvedic medicine. It is cultivated in states like Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, where it thrives in warm and humid conditions.


Velvet Bean is also cultivated in several African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, and Uganda, where it serves as a valuable food and fodder crop. It is grown in both smallholder farms and commercial plantations, contributing to food security and rural livelihoods.

Latin America:

Velvet Bean cultivation is expanding in Latin American countries such as Brazil, Colombia, and Costa Rica, driven by increasing demand for its medicinal and nutritional properties. It is grown in diverse agroecological zones, from lowland rainforests to highland cloud forests.

5. Nutritional Value of Dopa Mucuna

Mucuna pruriens seeds are a good source of nutrients and bioactive compounds. Here is a breakdown of their nutritional value per 100 grams of dried seeds:

  • Calories: 377 kcal
  • Protein: 20.86 g
  • Carbohydrates: 58.38 g
  • Fiber: 20.4 g
  • Fat: 5.81 g
  • Minerals: calcium (215 mg), iron (5 mg), magnesium (251 mg), phosphorus (499 mg), potassium (1324 mg), sodium (29 mg), zinc (3.96 mg)
  • Vitamins: thiamin (0.56 mg), riboflavin (0.15 mg), niacin (2.54 mg), vitamin B6 (0.49 mg), folate (120 µg)
  • Amino acids: Mucuna pruriens seeds are particularly rich in the amino acid L-dopa, which is a precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine. They also contain other essential and non-essential amino acids, including tryptophan, lysine, and arginine.

In addition to the above, Mucuna pruriens seeds also contain various bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, alkaloids, and sterols, which have been associated with various health benefits. Overall, Mucuna pruriens seeds are a nutritious food source with potential therapeutic properties.

6. Ayurvedic properties of Velvet Bean

It has a wide range of medicinal properties and is commonly used for its benefits on the nervous system and reproductive health. 

Ayurvedic properties of Velvet Bean:

1. Rasa (Taste): Velvet Bean is considered to have astringent (Kashaya) and sweet (Madhura) tastes.

2. Virya (Potency): It is heating in nature (Ushna Virya).

3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is sweet (Madhura Vipaka).

4. Dosha Effects: Mucuna pruriens mainly balances Vata and Pitta doshas, and in excess, it may increase Pitta dosha.

Ayurvedic Uses:

  1. Nervine Tonic: Velvet Bean is known for its nourishing and strengthening effects on the nervous system. It is used to support mental clarity, focus, and overall cognitive function.

  2. Mood Support: It has been traditionally used as an adaptogen, helping the body cope with stress and promoting a positive mood.

  3. Reproductive Health: Mucuna pruriens is considered an aphrodisiac and is used to support male reproductive health by promoting healthy sperm production and sperm quality.

  4. Supports Libido: It is believed to enhance sexual desire and performance in both men and women.

  5. Antioxidant: Velvet Bean is rich in antioxidants, which help in neutralizing free radicals and protecting the body from oxidative stress.

  6. Muscle Health: It is used to support muscle health and may help in maintaining muscle tone and flexibility.

  7. Anti-inflammatory: Mucuna pruriens possesses anti-inflammatory properties that may help in managing inflammatory conditions.

7. Dosha Affinities

In Ayurveda, health is believed to be maintained by balancing the three doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Everyone possesses a unique combination of these doshas, and an imbalance can lead to various health issues.

Velvet Bean is considered to have an affinity for balancing Vata dosha. Vata, characterized by qualities of movement and dryness, can sometimes become imbalanced, leading to issues such as restlessness, anxiety, and poor sleep. Let's explore how Velvet Bean relates to the doshas:

Vata Dosha Balancing:

Velvet Bean, with its grounding and nourishing properties, can help balance Vata dosha. It provides a sense of stability, calmness, and nourishment to the nervous system, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with Vata imbalances. By promoting relaxation, soothing the mind, and supporting healthy sleep patterns, Velvet Bean assists in restoring Vata dosha to its natural state of balance.

Pitta Dosha Balancing:

Velvet Bean's cooling and soothing properties make it a valuable ally in balancing Pitta dosha. By helping to pacify excess heat and reducing inflammation, Velvet Bean promotes a sense of coolness and calmness within the body. It supports healthy digestion, aids in maintaining a balanced body temperature, and assists in managing Pitta-related imbalances.

Kapha Dosha Balancing:

Velvet Bean's invigorating and stimulating properties are beneficial in balancing Kapha dosha. It helps to counteract stagnation and promotes energy and motivation. By providing a gentle lift, Velvet Bean assists in reducing Kapha-related imbalances and supports a sense of lightness and vitality.

8. Ayurvedic Formulations

When it comes to addressing dosha imbalances in Ayurveda, the wisdom of this ancient system of medicine offers a variety of specialized formulations. These formulations combine different herbs and ingredients to create synergistic blends that target specific doshas and support overall balance.

Vata Imbalances: 

A popular Ayurvedic formulation known as Ashwagandha Churna combines Velvet Bean with Ashwagandha and other supporting herbs. This blend helps nourish the nervous system, calm the mind, and promote a sense of grounding.

Pitta Imbalances:

Formulations such as Brahmi Ghrita, which combines Velvet Bean with Brahmi (Gotu Kola) and Ghee, can be beneficial. This formulation helps cool excess Pitta, supports mental clarity, and soothes the nervous system.

Kapha Imbalances:

Formulations like Trikatu Churna, consisting of Velvet Bean, Ginger, and Black Pepper, can be helpful. These warming and stimulating herbs assist in reducing Kapha-related stagnation, improving digestion, and promoting overall vitality.

9. Best Time of Intake

Timing plays a significant role in Ayurveda, and understanding the optimal times for Velvet Bean intake can enhance its effectiveness.

Morning and Early Afternoon:

For individuals with Vata imbalances or those seeking to balance Vata dosha, the morning and early afternoon are generally considered the best times to consume Velvet Bean. Why? Well, these are the times when Vata dosha tends to be naturally elevated in the body, and incorporating Velvet Bean during these hours can provide a grounding and stabilizing effect. It helps set a nourishing tone for the day, promoting a sense of calmness and stability.

Pitta and Kapha Individuals:

If you have a Pitta or Kapha dosha predominance, the ideal timing for Velvet Bean intake may vary. Ayurveda recognizes that each dosha has its own unique rhythms throughout the day. For Pitta individuals, when Pitta dosha tends to peak in the mid-morning and early afternoon, consuming Velvet Beans during this time can help cool excess heat and promote a balanced state.

On the other hand, Kapha individuals may find it beneficial to take Velvet Bean at different times of the day, such as mid-morning or late afternoon, when Kapha dosha may be naturally higher. By incorporating Velvet Bean during these periods, you can harness its invigorating properties and counteract any feelings of sluggishness or heaviness associated with Kapha dosha.

10. What are the Benefits of Velvet Bean?

Kaunch beej has antioxidants, aphrodisiac, and anti-inflammatory properties, balancing all three doshas (Kapha, Pitta, Vata). It is beneficial for immunity, strength, male infertility, and sexual desire.

Kaunch Beej

Here are some health benefits of Dopa Mucuna

For Diabetes & Blood Sugar

Mucuna Pruriens seeds have a strong ability to control diabetes and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Its plant chemical slows down the digestion process which lowers the high blood sugar, also it is easily and rapidly digested and contains rich fiber content. It is accelerating weight loss and managing other diseases like diabetes and obesity.

For Parkinson’s Disease

Mucuna Pruriens has excellent properties to treat Parkinson’s Disease, it has alkaloids, unsaturated acids, gallic acid, bufotenin, and genistein, these all compounds possess nonproductive activities which are very helpful in Parkinson’s Disease.

For Nervous System

Kaunch beej is beneficial to treat anxiety, insomnia, and sleep disorder, it maintains mood and promotes sound sleep, learning, and working memory. It helps to activate the memory center in the brain and relaxes the mind.

For Sexual Wellness

Kaunch beej antioxidants remarkably treat sexual problems and bolster sexual performance and stamina.

It balances the level of the hormone (dopamine, adrenaline, testosterone), promotes blood circulation to the reproductive organs, and maintains the health of Ova and Sperm. Kaunch seeds are an aphrodisiac that maintains sexual energy and libido.

For Weight Loss

Kaunch beej is organically gluten-free and can easily fit on your dieting menu, its dietary supplements control the symptoms of obesity and weight loss.

You can use it in your cooking menu and can make healthy dishes. Some are shared in this post.

For Iron Deficiency

Velvet beans are a rich source of iron, consuming velvet beans can contribute to your daily intake of iron, which is essential to producing red blood cells and overall health.

For Mood Regulating

Velvet bean contains a high content of L-DOPA which is helpful in your mood swings and regulates sleep patterns. It is also beneficial in controlling stress hormone levels, and as a result, it is helpful to reduce anxiety and stress.

For Anti-Aging Effect

Velvet beans contain various bioactive compounds, including antioxidants, L-DOPA (a precursor to dopamine), and other phytochemicals. Its antioxidant properties are helpful to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body and contribute to aging and age-related diseases.

11. How to use Velvet Beans?

  • You can use dry seed powder which is readily available in the market, or you can grind the seed at home with the help of a mortar and pestle.
  • Some medical preparations are also available in the market, you can also try that.
  • Seed powder decoction with milk or water can be used.
  • You can also cook seed directly and include it in your cooking menu.

12. Ayurvedic Formulations

Nourishing Herbal Infusion

A simple yet powerful way to incorporate Velvet Bean into your routine is by preparing a nourishing herbal infusion. You can combine Velvet Bean powder with other balancing herbs like Ashwagandha, Shatavari, and Brahmi. Just mix a teaspoon of each herb in warm milk or a herbal decoction, add a touch of honey if desired, and enjoy this soothing concoction. It's a wonderful way to calm the mind, support the nervous system, and promote deep relaxation.

Dosha-Balancing Tea:

Another delightful option is to create a dosha-balancing tea by combining Velvet Bean with herbs specific to your dosha. For Vata individuals, consider blending Velvet Bean with warming and grounding herbs like Cinnamon, Ginger, and Cardamom. Pitta individuals can benefit from combining Velvet Bean with cooling herbs like Rose petals, Mint, and Coriander. Kapha individuals may find it beneficial to mix Velvet Bean with stimulating herbs like Black Pepper, Clove, and Turmeric. Sip on these delicious teas throughout the day to support your dosha balance.

Rejuvenating Herbal Ghee:

Ghee, or clarified butter, holds a special place in Ayurvedic cuisine. You can infuse Velvet Bean and other herbs into ghee to create a rejuvenating and nourishing blend. The process involves gently heating ghee, adding powdered Velvet Bean and other herbs such as Ashwagandha, Brahmi, or Shatavari, and allowing them to infuse for some time. This herb-infused ghee can be used in cooking, drizzled over warm dishes, or added to herbal concoctions to enhance their effectiveness and provide a delicious flavor.

13. Velvet Bean combined with other herbs

Velvet Bean Turmeric Latte:


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon Velvet Bean powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (optional for sweetness)


  • In a small saucepan, heat the almond milk or coconut milk over low heat.
  • Add Velvet Bean powder, turmeric powder, cinnamon powder, ginger powder, and black pepper.
  • Whisk gently until well combined and heated through.
  • Remove from heat, add honey or maple syrup if desired, and stir.
  • Pour into a mug and enjoy this warm and comforting Velvet Bean Turmeric Latte. It provides a nourishing blend of herbs and spices that can support overall well-being.

Velvet Bean Blissful Smoothie Bowl:


  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, or mixed berries)
  • 1 tablespoon Velvet Bean powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter or nut butter of your choice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
  • Toppings: sliced fruits, nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, granola (optional)


  • In a blender, combine the frozen banana, frozen berries, Velvet Bean powder, almond butter, and almond milk.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy, adding more milk if needed to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Pour the smoothie mixture into a bowl.
  • Top with your favorite sliced fruits, nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, or granola for added texture and flavor.
  • Enjoy this vibrant and nutritious Velvet Bean smoothie bowl as a refreshing breakfast or a satisfying snack.

Velvet Bean Herbal Infused Water:


  • 1 tablespoon Velvet Bean powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried rose petals
  • 1 teaspoon dried hibiscus flowers
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • Honey or maple syrup to taste (optional)


  • In a pitcher, combine Velvet Bean powder, dried rose petals, and dried hibiscus flowers.
  • Pour filtered water over the herb mixture.
  • Stir gently to combine.
  • Let the mixture infuse for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Strain the infused water into glasses or bottles.
  • Add honey or maple syrup if desired for a touch of sweetness.
  • Sip on this refreshing and floral Velvet Bean herbal-infused water throughout the day to stay hydrated and enjoy the potential benefits of the herbs.

14. Velvet Bean Recipes.

You can add mucuna pruriens seed to your cooking menu and make tasty dishes, some recipes we have shared, try these recipes.

Dopa Mucuna Seed Salad

Mucuna Pruriens Seed Salad

Yield – 2


  • Mucuna Pruriens Seed (Overnight soaked and boiled) – 1 ½ cup
  • Tomato - diced – 1 large
  • Zucchini – diced – 1 medium
  • Carrot – coarsely grated – 2
  • Yellow & Red capsicum – 1 each
  • Spring Onions – chopped - 2 stalks
  • Avocado – ripped – 1 small
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Oregano – 3 pinches
  • Parsley – 2 pinches
  • Parmesan cheese – grated – 1tsp
  • Black pepper – ½ tsp
  • Garlic – finely chopped – 1tsp
  • Seasoned Salt  – ½ tsp or as per taste
  • Lemon Juice – ½ tsp

Method of making Dopa Mucuna Seed Salad

  1. Heat a pan on low flame, and add olive oil and garlic. Sauté garlic for 2-3 minutes and take off the pan from heat.
  2. Take a bowl mixing bowl, add all ingredients except parmesan cheese and it well, add garlic and olive oil, and mix it again.
  3. Transfer this salad to a serving plate and garnish it with parmesan cheese.
  4. Serve with toasted garlic bread, you can also add the boiled pasta.

Mucuna Pruriens Seed Curry

Mucuna Pruriens Seed Curry

Yield - 2


  • Mucuna Pruriens Seed (Overnight soaked and boiled) – 1 ½ cup
  • Tomato - diced – 1 large
  • Boiled Potato – 1 large (optional)
  • Ginger, Garlic, Green Chili Paste – 1 ½ tsp
  • Onion Paste – 1 tsp
  • Curry Powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala – ½ tsp
  • Low fat cream – ½ tsp
  • Salt – 1tsp (or according to the taste)
  • Fresh Chopped Coriander – 1 tsp
  • Cooking Oil – 1tbsp
  • Lemon Juice – ½ tsp
  • Water – 1 ½ cup

Method of making Mucuna Pruriens Seed Curry

  1. Take a wok (any), put it on the heat on medium flame, add ginger, garlic, and green chili paste and stir for 3 minutes.
  2. Add onion paste and cook for 32 minutes, then add tomato and salt and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add curry powder and mix with tomatoes. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add mucuna pruriens seed and boiled potatoes, mix it well with gravy and cook for 2 minutes. Then add water, stir, and cover the lid for 5 minutes on low flame, Stir occasionally.
  5. Now curry is done, turn off the gas. Add cream stir and then add lemon juice, stir it again.
  6. Put this curry in a serving bowl and garnish it with fresh coriander.
  7. You can eat this curry with boiled rice, bread, pasta, and stir-fried noodles.

15. Factors to Consider When Buying Velvet Bean

When purchasing Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) products, it's important to consider several factors to ensure you're getting a high-quality and authentic product. Let's explore these factors in more detail:

Quality and Purity Standards

When selecting Velvet Bean products, prioritize those that meet stringent quality and purity standards. Look for reputable brands that follow good manufacturing practices (GMP) or FSSAI to ensure that their products are produced under strict quality control measures. This helps ensure that the Velvet Bean is sourced and processed with utmost care, maintaining its integrity and potency.

Source and Origin

Pay attention to the source and origin of the Velvet Bean used in the products you consider purchasing. Velvet Bean is native to tropical regions and is cultivated in various countries. Ideally, opt for Velvet Bean sourced from trusted and reputable suppliers that prioritize sustainable cultivation practices. Knowing the source and origin can provide insight into the quality and authenticity of the product.

Preparation and Processing Methods

The preparation and processing methods used for Velvet Bean can impact its quality and efficacy. Seek products that utilize gentle and natural processing methods to preserve the beneficial compounds present in the herb. Avoid products that involve excessive heat or harsh chemical solvents, as they may degrade the potency and bioavailability of the Velvet Bean.

16. Potential Side Effects and Precautions

While Velvet Bean offers numerous health benefits, it's essential to be aware of potential side effects and precautions. Let's understand the side effects and precautions.

Nausea and VomitingSome individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, including nausea and vomiting when consuming Velvet Bean or its supplements.

Headaches: In some cases, Velvet Bean supplementation may trigger headaches or migraines.

Insomnia: Due to its stimulating properties, Velvet Bean may interfere with sleep patterns and lead to insomnia, especially if taken in large doses or close to bedtime.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should exercise caution when using Velvet Bean.

17. Frequently Asked Question

Q - What is Kaunch BEEJ used for?

Kaunch beej is used for many health benefits like sexual and reproductive health, it helps to reduce stress and anxiety and maintain physical balance, promotes sperm count in men and ovulation in women, and it enriches skin texture and hair growth.

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