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Mucuna Pruriens [7 Natural Health Benefits]
Mucuna Pruriens (MP) is a creeping vine that grows in the tropicals of India, Caribbean, and Africa.
The plant has various names in different languages. The names usually refer to the velvet coating hair that covers its seedpods.
These hairs cause severe irritation and itching to the skin if touched. This plant is also referred as Kapikacchu. Which simply means one begins itching like a monkey. It is also referred as Atmagupta, which means secret self.
This hints the therapeutic value of its seedpods. Additionally this plant is commonly referred as velvet bean in English.
What are the Health Benefits of Mucuna Pruriens?
Table of Contents
This plant has been used for a long time in Unani and Ayurvedic medicine. It has shown positive results in dealing with various conditions. These including Parkinson’s disease, infertility, and negation of snake poison. The seeds act as herbal remedies to treat nervous disorder and male infertility.
The seeds are also used as an aphrodisiac. The plant is a good source of L-Dopa, which is a dopamine precursor. Below are the main health benefits that come with Mucuna Pruriens.
1. Helps Reduce Parkinson’s Disease
As previously mentioned, this plant seeds contains L-Dopa(1). Which helps in reduction of the Parkinson’s disease symptoms. There have been a number of studies performed to support these claims. One of the studies with sixty subjects, resulted in a significant decrease of the Parkinson’s symptoms.
All the subjects who treated with a powder derived from this plant referred as HP-200. In another clinical research. Mucuna Pruriens had the same effectiveness as the levodopa treatment although it showed a faster rate.
Both these studies show that MP was a great natural source of the L-Dopa. Which is better than, the other conventional sources of Levodopa and L-Dopa in management of the Parkinson’s disorder(2).
2. Acts as a Great Antidepressant
Another great benefit that comes with this plant is the fact that it acts as a great antidepressant. A study to investigate the effectiveness of its antidepressant capability using several tests. These included the Tail Suspension Test (TST) and Forced Swim Test (FST). During the test, the MP extract reduced the immobility time in TST and FST significantly.
This shows that the extract has antidepressant ability. One of the advantage of using this extract as an antidepressant is because this is a natural remedy. Unlike the other antidepressant that contains many synthetic chemicals. This antidepressant is safer and effective to use.
3. Improves the Digestive System
MP also does a great job when it comes to promoting smooth muscle contractions helping to bring on a spreading quality. By doing this the MP assist in fostering healthy digestive functions. The herb is also shown to support healthy blood sugar levels. Additionally, the seeds are rich in nutrients with quantities similar to those found in commonly consumed legumes.
4. Reduce Stress
To find the effects of the MP on stress levels, a study conducted in sixty men who were under psychological stress. This study involved use of questionnaire and evaluation of the cortisol levels. The sixty-stressed subjects treated with MP showed a lot of improvement.
When dealing with psychological stress. The conclusion was that the MP plays a major role in helping to manage stress. There are more studies being performed to show whether the herb can help to reduce stress level in other individuals.
However, the fact that it has the ability to reduce the stress levels in infertile men is a major plus. These individuals are constantly under a lot of stress dealing with the fact that they cannot bear children. Reducing stress helps them to be more confident which a crucial step in the healing process.
5. Used as a Pretreatment to Cobra Venom
A study on rats to investigate the MP protective effects against the venom. The study using rat hearts that were pretreated with MP and others were not treated. After dosing with the venom, the study showed that the pretreated heart was protected against the venom.
The research stated that the protective effects of the MP against the venom involved a protective action of the extract to the heart function. The researchers suggest that the MP may have some therapeutic potential. When it comes to protecting cardiovascular functions.
6. Helps Reduce the Prolactin levels
In a study that involved sixty infertile men. The individuals treated using the MP showed positive results. Where the levels of Follicle stimulating hormone and Prolactin decrease(3). The high levels of Prolactic are dangerous as it can lead to tumors in the pituitary glands.
That can result in visual impairment, headaches and ED. Although there are other more powerful Dopamine agonists such as the bromocriptine. That shows effective results when treating high Prolactic levels. Mucuna Pruriens which is also a dopamine agonist shows that it can help in reducing the Prolactin levels.
This is very important especially as the medication will play two roles at once. Besides being effective in treating the male infertility. The herb can also help treat certain conditions such as Male ED that can also play a role in infertility in men.
7. Treating Male Infertility
Mucuna Pruriens is mainly used as a natural supplement to treat male infertility. This herb has shown to be effective when it comes to increase in sperm quality, sperm motility and sperm count.
In a study conducted with sixty infertile men, men who were treated with 5 grams of MP powder daily showed improved sperm motility and count.
This study indicated that the herb could increase the quality of sperm. Thus, being an effective treatment for infertility. Besides, the study indicated that the MP also increased the testosterone levels.
The increase in testosterone levels effect is not only shown in infertile men but also in the fertile men. The increase in these levels increases the desire to have sex. This is a major milestone in dealing with erectile dysfunction.(4)
How to Use Mucuna Pruriens
Ayurveda treatment usually recommends tasting of herbs. This is because taste plays a major role when it comes to the digestive system. By doing so, the body initiatives its own supportive mechanisms. The MP is available in powdered form and as well as liquid extract.
Mucuna Pruriens Powder Dosage
The powder form of this extract does not only provide you with the full experience of tasting the herb. But it is the most economical way of purchasing it. Although I recommend a 5-gram daily dose, you should visit a medical practitioner for directions.
You can take the powder with water, ghee, milk, honey or any other carrier substances. That will act as the medium that helps to deliver the herb to the intended destination.
Herbal tablets are combined with Mucuna Pruriens and other equally supportive herbs. These supportive herbs make Mucuna Pruriens a convenient herb for the user.
This Mucuna Pruriens has a good taste, which is good news to the people who find herbs to be hard to take. This helps the body to initiate the expected healing mechanisms. The dosage of such tablets is even easier as it is one or two tablets a day or how your doctor will recommend.
Parkinson’s dosage. The two studies that showed a decrease in Parkinson’s disease symptoms involved the use of 30 grams and 15 gram doses. Although both the doses showed effective results. Doctors recommend a dosage of 5 grams per day.
Use of 5 grams of MP powder daily showed positive results in increase the sperm count, motility and overall quality. You should take the supplement with lots of water.
Mucuna Pruriens Side Effects
There have been a few reported side effect of the Mp reported in the clinical studies. In one study there were reports of mild adverse reports that were mainly in gastrointestinal nature.
Additionally the combination of the Lovodopa and monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Showed some effects in individuals where there were instances of high blood pressure. Lastly when one get into contact with the hair on the Mucuna pruriens seedpods and flowers, it cause severe irritation and itching .
As you can see, the Mucuna pruriens has many health benefits to your body. This natural extract helps to fight many health conditions effectively.
It is safe to consume and does not come with many health concerns. However, just like taking any other supplement, it is advisable to visit a medical practitioner to advise you on the best way forward.