Source, Etc

Cowhage consists of the hairs attached to the fruit of Mucuna pruriens, de Candolle (N.O. Leguminosoe), a climbing plant indigenous to India, Africa, and South America.

The fruit, a small, curved, nearly black legume, is densely covered with stiff yellowish brown hairs which form the commercial drug.


Cowhage appears in commerce as a yellowish brown, loosely felted mass of hairs with occasional small black portions of the pericarp. Examined under the microscope it is seen to consist of one-celled, thin-walled, sharply pointed hairs which are 2 or 3 mm. long, and bear numerous short, often recurved prominences.

Constituents And Uses

The hairs contain a little tannin, but their action as a vermifuge is purely mechanical.