The 12 Benefits of Mucuna Pruriens
other nature has her ways to benefit, nourish, and improve human health through her amazing healing powers. Mucuna pruriens is one such magical ingredient of hers which has been touted for substantial medicinal importance including its mood-boosting ability, and potential to treat male infertility.
Mucuna pruriens a.k.a velvet bean or dopa bean is one that grows from the vines and is native to Africa and tropical Asia. It is also called monkey tamarind, Bengal velvet bean, Mauritius velvet bean, cowage, lacuna bean, and Lyon bean. The bean is quite itchy to touch, given its rich serotonin content on its surface. Mucuna pruriens is a natural herbal supplement known for its medicinal properties that are effective in boosting libido, elevating mood, improving focus, and lowering stress. The bean has the magical healing property that improves motivation, general well-being, energy levels, and more importantly, your sex drive.
Here are 12 health benefits of mucunapruriens supplements, supported by scientific research:
Boosts dopamine levels
Mucuna pruriens are enriched with a significant compound known as ‘levodopa” or L-dopa—an amino acid that is responsible for dopamine secretion in your brain. Several studies have pointed out that dopa beans aids boost dopamine levels in individuals, especially those suffering from nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in several functions including arousal, motor control, motivation, reinforcement, attention, memory, etc.An excellent aphrodisiac.
Mucuna pruriens is an established herbal medicine touted for its aphrodisiac properties. It has been traditionally used to improve the male virility. A 2008 study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility demonstrated that treatment with M.Pruriens significantly improved semen quality in infertile men. Mucuna helped improve their dopamine, adrenaline, and non-adrenaline levels while improving sperm count and motility in infertile men. Chronic exposure to psychological stress is believed to be responsible for several pathophysiological changes in a person’s neuroendocrine system, including sperm production.
Researchers found that treatment with Mucuna pruriens helped alleviate psychological stress and improve seminal plasma lipid peroxide levels alongside improving sperm count and motility rates in infertile men. They pointed out that Mucuna pruriens supplements helped relieve stress, increased secretion of semen, and acted as a restorative and an invigorating tonic to treat conditions characterized by loss of sexual power.
Impaired sleep quality is the leading cause of several ailments and people turn to several prescription sleep aids. Dietary supplements containing velvet bean has been found to improve sleep quality. Not only did the Mucuna pruriens supplement improve every category of sleep post-intervention.
Effective against Parkinson’s Disease
The presence of L-dopa – a precursor of the neurotransmitter ‘dopamine’ makes Mucuna pruriens a first-line treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Studies have recommended Mucuna over other synthetic L-dopa because of its safety and efficacy in treating Parkinson’s disease. Synthetic L-dopa is prone to extreme side effects with prolonged usage in Parkinson’s disease patients.
Effective against snake bite
Mucuna pruriens has been proven effective against snake venom and the seeds have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to protect people and prevent them from the toxic effects after being bitten by a snake. A snakebite usually triggers certain toxic substances like cytotoxins, cardiotoxins, neurotoxins, phospholipase, and proteases. Mucuna pruriens acts as a prophylactic oral anti-snakebite remedy by several traditional medicine practitioners worldwide. They even claim that swallowing these seeds intact can protect you for a whole year against the effects of any snake bite. Studies conducted using mice models demonstrated the protective effects of Mucuna against the snake poison. Velvet bean extracts contains an immunogenic component that stimulates the production of antibodies that cross-react with the toxic substances produced during a snake bite.
Improves digestive function
Because Mucuna pruriens aids in smooth muscle contractions and ushers in a spreading quality, it can help improve your digestive function, foster healthy digestion, and boosts the proper elimination of wastes from your body.
Is extremely nutritious
Mucuna is considered highly nutritious as it is enriched with enormous amounts of protein and is as good as other commonly eaten legumes. Per a 2005 study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, Mucuna pruriens is an underutilized tropical legume that is as nutritious as soya beans, given its protein, lipid, mineral, and nutrient content. Also, it has been traditionally used as food in several countries including India, the Philippines, Brazil, Ghana, Malawi, and Nigeria.
Helps treat neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD
Dopamine is renowned for its effect on improving focus. In a study of 85 kids and teenagers diagnosed with ADHD, treatment with a combination of Mucuna Pruriens, vitamins, minerals and other supplements like calcium citrate, selenium, folate, L-cysteine, and L-lysine helped improve ADHD symptoms in most participants. The researchers reported that the Mucuna pruriens supplement combination used in the study helped naturally increase the study participants’ serotonin and dopamine levels in their brain.
When it comes to depression and mental health conditions, experts usually give importance to neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine more often, while compared to dopamine. But researchers now opine that dopamine—which is usually related to motivation and rewards could play a crucial role in improving mood. Dopamine deficiency could trigger mood disorders and might inhibit feelings of pleasure. The velvet bean which is known for its dopaminergic action was shown to reduce stress levels, improve mood, as well as alleviate symptoms of depression.
Effective against parasites and microbes
The velvet bean is considered a potential source of natural anti-microbial agents. Studies have demonstrated M.Pruriens’ activity against some bacteria in experimental settings. The anti-bacterial effects of the velvet bean might be due to the presence of phenols and tannins. Moreover, folk healers consider mucuna to be a mild anti-parasitic medicine and use it more often combined with other medicines. The leaves of this plant are higher in antibacterial compounds compared to the seeds and therefore mucuna leaf extracts contain more antibacterial properties.
Helps control blood sugar levels
Mucuna pruriens are believed to support healthy blood sugar levels and therefore mucuna supplements and extracts can help people with diabetes. Researchers found that Mucuna pruriens,when used at a dose of 500 mg/kg reduced plasma glucose levels. The anti-diabetic properties of the velvet bean can be attributed to d-chiro-inositol and its galacto-derivatives which constitutes a novel signaling system for controlling glucose metabolism.
The anti-oxidant properties of the velvet bean offer great protection to living organisms from damages caused by oxidative stress and other activities like protein damage or DNA strand breakage. Researchers have demonstrated that the methanolic extracts of M.pruriens leaves contain enormous biochemical, as well as physiological activities alongside other pharmaceutically valuable compounds.
Several other studies have also found M.Pruriens to be promising in treating skin conditions and seizures.