Cowhage or velvet bean - Mucuna pruriens


Cowhage, also known as velvet bean or Mucuna pruriens, is a tropical legume native to Nepal and other parts of Asia and Africa. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, primarily for its aphrodisiac and neuroprotective properties. However, the plant is also known to cause skin irritation and itching, particularly when the tiny hairs on its seed pods come into contact with the skin. 

Tourists visiting the forest in Nepal should be aware of the potential risks of coming into contact with cowhage. The plant's spiky seed pods can easily attach themselves to clothing, shoes, and even animal fur, and can cause significant discomfort and itching if they come into contact with bare skin. In some cases, the irritation can be severe enough to cause skin damage or infection. 

If you do come into contact with cowhage while hiking or camping in the forest, it is important to remove any spiky seed pods from your skin as soon as possible. You can use a pair of tweezers or your fingernails to carefully remove the pods, taking care not to break them open or spread the irritating hairs. You may also want to rinse the affected area with cool water and apply a soothing cream or ointment to help reduce itching and inflammation. In summary, while cowhage is a fascinating and useful plant with many potential benefits, tourists visiting the forest in Nepal should be cautious when encountering it, and take steps to protect themselves from its irritating seed pods.