Mucuna Pruriens PowderMucuna pruriens is a tropical legume also known as velvet bean. In herbal medicine and Ayurveda, Mucuna has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for male infertility, nervous disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and as an aphrodisiac
Mucuna is also known as the “dopamine bean” since it is a good source of L-Dopa (4 – 7%), from which dopamine is made in the body. The high L-dopa content offers additional benefits to the plant itself: it protects the seeds from insects and pests. Mucuna seeds are also a major source for commercially extracting pure L-dopa, which is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
L-dopa from Mucuna pruriens may have advantages over synthetic L-dopa when given to Parkinson’s patients, as synthetic L-dopa has more side effects in the long term.
Recent research uncovered that mucuna also boosts antioxidants and scavenges free radicals in the whole body.
Reduces Parkinson’s Disease: L-Dopa in Mucuna pruriens is the main active component that can reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. People with Parkinson’s have low dopamine content in parts of the brain due to impaired conversion of tyrosine to L-dopa. L-Dopa from Mucuna can cross the blood-brain barrier and be used to make dopamine, restoring its brain levels and neurotransmission. Other antioxidants in this plant’s seeds may enhance brain protection.
May Help with Depression: We talk about serotonin and norepinephrine much more often than about dopamine when it comes to depression. But scientists are starting to realize than dopamine, usually associated with motivation and feelings of reward, may play an equally important role.
Improves Male Infertility: Dopamine is one of the most important neurotransmitters for sexual behavior and libido in men. Its effects are pretty straightforward: an increase in brain dopamine levels increases the libido, while a decrease in dopamine and similar neurotransmitters (catecholamines) reduces the libido and sexual function in men.
May Reduces Stress: In one trial, Mucuna pruriens seed powder reduced psychological stress and cortisol levels in 60 infertile men after 3 months. This plant may help better manage stress, but this is limited to infertile men and may be linked to its fertility-enhancing benefits.
Protects Against Snake Venom Poisoning: Mucuna pruriens extracts are used by Nigerians to prevent snake poisoning. The powder is prescribed by traditional healers as a pretreatment (prophylactic) for snakebites. The healers claim that a person who swallows the intact the seeds will be protected for one full year against the effects of any snake bite.
May Improve Sleep: In a study of 18 people, a combination of Mucuna pruriens with another tropical herb (Chlorophytum borivilianum) improved sleep quality by 50% after about 4 weeks.
May Fight Parasites: According to traditional claims and non-clinical studies, Mucuna pruriens may help fight parasitic infections. Mucuna is most likely a mild anti-parasitic: it’s not strong enough to eliminate the infection but may slightly reduce the number of parasites and could be used alongside other parasite cleanses/treatments.
May Help Combat Diabetes: Mucuna pruriens contains an inositol called d-chiro-inositol, which can mimic the effects of insulin and help lower high sugar levels. A high dose of the seeds reduced blood sugar levels in mice
May Be Good for the Skin: Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, Mucuna pruriens extracts protected skin cells. Scientists are hoping to see creams and gels with Mucuna for skin diseases such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema, but more studies are needed before this becomes a reality.