If you had grown up in the Eastern Nigeria, then certainly, you should have encountered this “unmerciful plant” known as “Agbara” in Igbo. This plant has a distinct Igbo name. The plant probably got its name from the Deity, Agbara, the one who is known generally to deal with his victims without any ounce of pity.
The naming of this plant is not just from the Igbo people. It is known with different funny names across the globe, and one of its fondly name is ‘Devil’s bean,’ even the Yoruba people call it “Warepe,” a name associated with madness.
Generally, apart from the few people who were blessed with the knowledge of herbal drugs, every other person who accounted the velvet bean plant has an unpalatable story to tell.
The velvet beans with the botanical name ‘mucuna pruriens’ is a plant that is believed to have African origin. It is an itchy plant, and itches greatly upon contact, although it does not itch during the African rainy season, because it could not have matured or complete its circles at that point. However, during dry seasons of January, it is a “no-go-area”.
More so, many people calls it the “magic beans,” “itchy beans”. The magic about this plant is that, it is not easily identifiable, you may not even known that you have touched it until your body begins itching greatly.
Despite the exploits of this very plant, there is a knowledge which seems mostly untapped. The velvet bean is actually a cure to many kind of diseases. Are you surprised? Well, me too.
The Indian journal of traditional and complementary medicine states that the velvet beans otherwise known as ‘mucuna pruriens’ is of great benefit to the human body. According to the journal, the ‘mucuna pruriens’ is an established herbal drugs used for the treatment of male infertility, nervous disorders, it can also be used as an aphrodisiac. It is also believed that the seeds are potentially high in other medicinal values.
The journal further revealed that ‘mucuna pruriens’ was also used in the treatment of Parkinson disease.
An Igbo herbalist known as Eze Iwegbunam also stated that the leaves of mucuna pruriens could be used as blood tonic as it is a natural way to boost blood in the human systems.
So, you see, there is always a good version of a bad story; and it seems the velvet plant is not entirely useless. I would advise you take precautions while getting close to it.
An Igbo adage says, “Anaghị eji ihe a na-agba na ntị agba n’anya; literally translated thus – “One does not wear what is meant for the ears on the eyes.” Real meaning: “Events or situations are treated, or handled according to their importance.”
Ifesinachi Nnabugwu reporting, Obinwannem News