This ancient plant has been used as a natural remedy in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries due to its myriad uses and health benefits.
This incredible adaptogen can help improve your quality of life. From supporting cognitive function to boosting immunity levels, there are many reasons why Mucuna Pruriens could become an important part of your daily regime.
What is Mucuna Pruriens?
Mucuna Pruriens is a perennial climbing vine found in India, Africa, and the Caribbean. The adaptogen has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat numerous conditions including snakebites, Parkinson’s disease, and infertility.
The most valuable part of the plant is the bean seed which contains high levels of naturally occurring compounds such as L-dopa (levodopa), serotonin, and 5-HTP. These compounds have a wide range of health benefits that will be discussed further on in this post.
The Velvet Bean or Cowhage
Mucuna Pruriens is also known as the “velvet bean” or "cowhage" due to its velvety exterior.
This makes it an ideal addition to your diet as the velvet beans can be ground up and added to soups, stews, or cereal for a healthy and delicious meal.
Characteristics of Mucuna Plants
The Mucuna plant is a fast-growing vine. The stems of the plant are covered in small, brownish hairs and have small white flowers with purplish veins that give off a sweet scent.
Here are a few characteristics that you can look out for:
Smooth and velvety exterior: The exterior of the Mucuna plant is covered in tiny, velvety hairs.
Small white flowers with purplish veins: The small white flowers have a sweet scent and dark purple veins.
Large bean pods: The bean pods are oblong-shaped and contain several seeds.
Long, slender branches: The branches of the Mucuna plant can reach up to 10 meters in length and are covered in small, brownish hairs.
The benefits of Mucuna Prurien
Mucuna Pruriens has a range of health benefits, thanks to its high levels of naturally occurring compounds. Here are some of the most notable:
Boosts Cognition and Mood
The L-dopa in this adaptogen has been linked to improved cognitive function, enhanced memory and concentration, and a better overall mood.
Fights free radicals
The compounds found in Mucuna Pruriens have antioxidant properties that help fight oxidative stress and free radical damage on the body’s cells.
Studies have shown that consuming the plant can help to boost immunity levels, allowing your body to fight illness more effectively.
Supports nervous system health
The serotonin content of Mucuna Pruriens can help to calm the nervous system, reducing anxiety and helping you feel relaxed.
Improves reproductive health
The high levels of L-dopa in Mucuna Pruriens have been linked to improved male fertility, as well as increased libido and sexual performance.
Mucuna Pruriens and Parkinson's Disease
Studies have shown that the plant contains several bioactive compounds, including levodopa, a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder that affects movement and coordination. One of the main symptoms of Parkinson's disease is a deficiency of dopamine in the brain. Levodopa is a commonly used treatment for Parkinson's disease as it can cross the blood-brain barrier and convert to dopamine, thereby increasing dopamine levels in the brain.
Research has shown that Mucuna Pruriens may be a potential alternative or complementary treatment for Parkinson's disease. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that a standardized extract of Mucuna Pruriens significantly improved motor function in patients with Parkinson's disease.
Another study showed that the adaptogen extract significantly improved the total score on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale and reduced the dosage of levodopa needed to control symptoms in Parkinson's disease patients.
Modern research on Mucuna Pruriens
Modern research on Mucuna Pruriens has focused on the plant's potential as a treatment for various health conditions. The most extensively studied compound in Mucuna Pruriens is levodopa, as mentioned above, which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Mucuna Pruriens has been studied for its potential as a natural antidepressant. Research on this plant has also shown that it may have an impact on fertility and sexual function. A study found that Mucuna Pruriens extract significantly increased sperm count and motility in infertile men.
Additionally, Mucuna Pruriens has been studied for its potential benefits on cognitive function, specifically for its potential to improve attention and memory.
How to take Mucuna Pruriens
To take Mucuna Pruriens, it is recommended to start with a low dose and gradually increase it to the desired level. It is important to note that it should be taken on an empty stomach, as food can decrease the absorption of the active compounds in the supplement. As always, it's best to consult with a medical professional before taking this plant extract.
Mucuna Pruriens can be taken in various forms such as powder, capsules, or extract. It is recommended to look for a supplement that contains at least 15% L-DOPA, the active compound in Mucuna Pruriens that is responsible for increasing dopamine levels.
Effects of the Mucuna plant
One of the primary effects of Mucuna Pruriens is an increase in dopamine levels. This can lead to improved mood, reduced stress and anxiety, and increased motivation and focus.
Mucuna Pruriens has also been found to have neuroprotective effects, which means it can protect the brain and nervous system from damage. It may also have anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to treat conditions such as Parkinson's disease, as mentioned above, which is caused by a deficiency in dopamine.
Additionally, Mucuna Pruriens has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial in reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Dosage recommendations for Mucuna Pruriens vary depending on the form of the supplement, the individual's health status, and the specific condition being treated. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking this plant extract, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking any other medications.
For general use, a standard recommended dose of Mucuna Pruriens is between 200-500 mg per day.
For Parkinson's disease, the typical dosage is between 3-5 grams per day, which is equivalent to 3,000-5,000 mg per day. However, it is important to note that the standard dosage for Parkinson's disease can vary depending on the individual and should be determined by a healthcare professional.
For infertility and sexual dysfunction in men, the dosage is typically around 5 grams per day, which is equivalent to 5,000 mg per day.
It is recommended to look for a supplement that contains at least 15% L-DOPA, the active compound in Mucuna Pruriens that is responsible for increasing dopamine levels.
Mucuna Pruriens side effects
Mucuna Pruriens is generally considered safe when taken as directed, but like any supplement, it can cause side effects in some people. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before taking Mucuna Pruriens, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking any other medications.
In conclusion, Mucuna Pruriens is a tropical legume that has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic and traditional African medicine for its medicinal properties.
The active compound L-dopa increases dopamine levels in the brain, which can lead to improved mood, reduced stress and anxiety, and increased motivation and focus. It also has potential neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects, and may improve sexual function, increase libido, and boost fertility.
Table of contents