Grow Your Own "Magic" Velvet Beans Posted on 27 Dec 07:56 , 4 comments

We've added a few more Heirloom Seeds to our growing collection and thought you might enjoy learning about a few of them.

Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) has many names including magic velvet bean, Bengal velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, Mauritius velvet bean, Yokohama velvet bean, cowage, cowitch, lacuna bean, and Lyon bean

Velvet Beans are a summer legume. The vines may reach 12 to 15 feet in length, and the roots grow as long as 20 to 30 feet.
Velvet bean plants (Mucuna pruriens) are tropical legumes that are native to southern China and eastern India. The plants have spread throughout much of Asia and are often cultivated around the world, especially in Australia and the southern United States.

Velvet bean plants are not frost hardy, but they have a short lifespan and even in hot climates they are almost always grown as annuals.
Excellent soil-builder. Velvet bean is often used as a quick annual fodder or silage crop.  
Minute hairs on flowers and seed pods can cause intense itching, explaining another of its common names--Cow Itch Plant.

Helpful link:

There are a few scientifically proven health benefits for Velvet Beans.

From NCBI,
All parts of M. pruriens possess valuable medicinal properties and it has been investigated in various contexts, including for its anti-diabetic, aphrodisiac, anti-neoplastic, anti-epileptic, and anti-microbial activities (Sathiyanarayanan et al., 2007). Its anti-venom activities have been investigated by Guerranti et al. (2002) and its anti-helminthic activity has been demonstrated by Jalalpure (2007). M. pruriens has also been shown to be neuroprotective (Misra and Wagner, 2007), and has demonstrated analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity (Hishika et al., 1981).

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