The fruit of Mucuna pruriens are known as “the magic velvet bean” in Indian Herbal or Ayurveda medicine. Mucuna is a great gift of nature and it has so many medicinal properties. It is an established herbal drug used for the management of male infertility, nervous disorders, and also as an aphrodisiac. In Ayurveda,traditionally used M. pruriens, even to treat such things as Parkinson's disease. The beans of Mucuna pruriensis being also used on sports persons to increase their muscle mass. These seeds also help in improving the memory power and help to gain weight which is lost due to excessive exercise. Let’s take a look at the recent studies that have evaluated how this uncommon plant can support brain health and stress management.
Active Compounds in TheMagic Velvet Bean
The main active component of Mucuna pruriens seeds is L-dopa or Levadopa which acts as a natural dopamine. The seeds of the bean are high in protein (20-29 %), lipids (6-7%), dietary fiber (8-10%),ash (3%), carbohydrates (50-60%)and minerals. Also they are extremely rich in alkaloids, saponins, and sterols. Mucuna seeds (as well as the seeds of all Mucuna species) contain high concentration of L-dopa (7-10%) - a direct precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The hairs of the seed pots contain the phytochemical mucunain, the very constituent that irritates the skin when in contact. The serotonin is also has been found in the pod (as well as in the leaf and fruit).
Main Medicinal Use of The Magic Velvet Bean
- The Bean contains L-Dopa which is used asanti-Parkinson's, help increases testosterone
- Aphrodisiac - increases libido and it is very good forimpotency and erectile dysfunction
- It is used to stimulate growth of hormone -anabolic/androgenic
- Reduces spasms and relieves pain - analgesic/antispasmodic
- Help lowers blood sugar and blood pressure (hypotensive)
- It increases urination (uterine stimulant), help reducesfever (febrifuge) and it is a good cough suppressant
- Calms nerves (nervine), reduces nerve pain(neurasthenic)
- Help lowers cholesterol (hypo cholesterolemic)
- Act as a weight loss aid
- It reduces inflammation - anti-inflammatory
- Prevents or eliminates kidney stones (antilithic)
- Kills parasites (antiparasitic) and expels worms (vermifuge)
- Expels gas (carminative)
- It’s a menstrual stimulant
- It’s a central nervous system stimulant.
The Chemical Structure of L-Dopa and how it worksThe figure shows L-Dopa structure and how it works.
The Magic Velvet Bean Influence Brain Health
Mucuna pruriens protects the brain by keeping cognitive and neural functions in check, even encouraging neural activity. Research on animals has proved this, placing the focus on its antioxidant action. The mechanism behind this is simple - all free radicals have an unpaired electron that makes them unstable in the body. Antioxidants donate an electron to the free radical to neutralize its effects, particularly on the brain. The bean has an added benefit in that it fights systemic redness in the brain, which is often a factor in brain degradation.
The Bean Affect the Effects of Stress
Herbal medicine use Mucuna pruriens to positively promote mental health and stress response. A study involving 150 men who suffered from psychological stress reported that supplementation with Mucunapruriens significantly eased stress. Badly enough, the men also had fertility issues and supplementation appeared to promote sperm quality and count. Researchers also concluded that Mucuna seeds reactivate the antioxidant defense system, an essential biological mechanism necessary for maintaining homeostasis within the body.