August 26 2021
Also known as velvet bean, mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume that is thought to be a highly beneficial ingredient of Ayurvedic medicine and useful in conditions where boosting dopamine levels is necessary. Studies are being conducted to find out its efficacy in alleviating the symptoms in various health disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, infertility in men, snake venom poisoning, and in improving the conditions of depression and insomnia.
Mucuna pruriens has long been used as a potent aphrodisiac and in the treatment of disorders of the nervous system where they play a major role in improving brain health because of their relaxing as well as stimulating effects. Mucuna is also known as the dopamine bean as it is an important source of L dopa which is the precursor of dopamine synthesis in the body which has been applied in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease because of its stimulating effects on motor function. The other effective ways of action of mucuna pruriens are due to its antioxidant effects as well as its ability to scavenge the free radicals in the body.
Mucuna pruriens is a rich source of various essential minerals, dietary proteins, essential amino acids, fatty acids such as linoleic acid and starch. Other important constituents of mucuna pruriens seeds are mildly hallucinogenic tryptamines, psychoactive serotonin, D- chiro - inositol which is effective in the treatment of diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome, and neuroprotective substances. Some of the health benefits of the use of mucuna pruriens in the form of supplements are:
Studies show that the intake of mucuna pruriens may have beneficial effects in the relief of some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Since L dopa is the main active component in mucuna pruriens, it has been thought to improve the motor function of the brain in Parkinson’s disease as individuals who are suffering from this condition have been found to have reduced levels of dopamine content the brain because of the inhibition of the conversion of tyrosine into L dopa. Research has proven that the L dopa that is derived from the intake of mucuna pruriens can cross the blood-brain barrier and promote the formation of dopamine thereby helping the brain accumulate the required amount of dopamine and helps in regulating the process of neurotransmission.
Dopamine which is an important neurotransmitter has been associated with regulating sexual behavior as well as controlling the libido in men. Increased levels of dopamine in the brain cause the stimulation of sexual desire and libido in men. Supplementing with aphrodisiacs such as mucuna pruriens which is an important constituent of the Alvizia testosterone complex, helps in reducing male infertility as they have potent dopamine boosting as well as antioxidant effects.
The use of mucuna pruriens supplements has been studied to improve sperm count, sperm motility as well as overall sperm quality thereby improving fertility in men. The consumption of mucuna pruriens has also been found to increase the testosterone levels in studies conducted over a section of infertile men. It has also been found that mucuna pruriens also helps in balancing other sex hormones and stress hormones which are linked to infertility in men.
High levels of prolactin
In disorders associated with the pituitary gland, high levels of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and prolactin have been found which can lead to impairment in the functioning of the testes and fertility in men. By the inclusion of supplements of mucuna pruriens in the diet and enhancing the levels of dopamine, the prolactin levels can be decreased and the levels of the follicle-stimulating hormone can also be reduced thereby boosting fertility in men. The other conditions which can be the causative factors of high levels of prolactin in the body include low levels of the thyroid hormone, pituitary tumors, and the side effects of various psychiatric medications.
Stress and sleep
Studies show that the intake of mucuna pruriens is beneficial in reducing the psychological stress and the levels of cortisol in men suffering from infertility disorders. In combination with other tropical herbs, mucuna pruriens has also been found to have the ability to improve the quality of sleep.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder has often been found to be associated with the development of autism. It has been found that the intake of mucuna pruriens is beneficial in improving the symptoms of autism in individuals suffering from ADHD. In children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the combination of mucuna pruriens along with other essential vitamins, minerals, and other supplements such as vitamin C, calcium citrate, vitamin B6, folate, L lysine, L cysteine, and selenium have been found to have beneficial effects causing the symptomatic relief.
Snake venom poisoning
The ancient system of healing has proclaimed the use of the extracts of mucuna pruriens in the prevention of snake poisoning. Mucuna pruriens has been traditionally used as a pre-treatment for snake bites. Studies show that the intake of the seeds of mucuna pruriens can protect from the heart-damaging effects of snake venom. It has also been found that mucuna pruriens has proteins that are sugar bound and similar to that of the proteins of the snake venom because of which they stimulate the production of antibodies and protect against the deadly effects of snakebite.
The presence of low dopamine levels in the brain along with serotonin as well as norepinephrine is associated with low mood and acts as potent triggers for depression. Studies show that the low levels of dopamine in the emotional centers of the brain cause decreased ability to feel pleasure which is often associated with the development of depression. When there is decreased dopamine in the cognitive areas of the brain, a lack of motivation happens in the individual which can again aggravate the symptoms of depression. The inclusion of the supplements of mucuna pruriens in the diet has been associated with improving the mood and the symptoms of depression by reducing the stress levels and increasing the dopamine levels in the brain.