Mucuna pruriens is a legume that grows abundantly in forests in India, Africa and the Caribbean. It is also known by the name cowitch because it can cause super itchiness when someone comes in contact with the plant. It is also known as velvet bean because of its beautiful velvety foliage.
It has been used for hundreds of years in Ayurveda. The seeds are also used as food in many parts of the world after removing the flowery parts from the plant and removing the hair from the seed. It contains many minerals like manganese, zinc, calcium, iron and phosphorous. It is the seeds that are used therapeutically.
What are the benefits of Mucuna Prureins
- It is a well-known aphrodisiac
- The seeds are known to increase the levels of testosterone and promote libido.
- It acts as a nerve tonic, helping in preventing Parkinson’s disease.
- Every gram of the seed contains 40 mg of L-Dopa. L-Dopa converts into dopamine in the body, a chemical that enhances mood and aids in movement. Dopamine is also a growth hormone. High levels of dopamine ensure longevity. Due to the same reason, it helps in erasing signs of aging and countering fine lines and wrinkles.
- It has anti-snake venom extracts and it effective in curing snake bite.
- In Ayurveda, it is said to resolve problems in the body associated with vata and pitta.
- It is helpful in building muscles in people who are weak. It is much safer than taking in synthetic hormones that help in body building.
- Since it soothes nerves, it is useful in inducing good sleep.
- Again, due to its effect on the nervous system and on the general mood as such, Mucuna Prureins is useful in treating depression.
- On regular consumption of Mucuna Prureins, it is seen that the levels of superoxide dismutase(which is an anti-oxidant) , ascorbic acid, glutathione(an anti-oxidant that keeps vitamin C and E in their active form in the body) and catalase(which helps in breaking down the harmful hydrogen peroxide during metabolism) are kept very high in the blood stream.
- Since it contributes to regulating so many antioxidants, Mucuna Pruriens is known to help in releasing energy by maintaining optimal metabolism levels.
- It strengthens the immune systems and also helps in organ regeneration.
- It promotes smooth muscle contraction and aids in digestion.
How to consume it?
Since we do not have the know how to use the seeds, it is best to use the supplements of Mucuna Pruriens that are available as tablets and powders. In India, there are many Ayurvedic companies like Himalaya Herbals that manufacture its pills and powders. Take it as per the dosage instructions, which is usually 1-2 tablets a day or half a tsp of powder a day.
Who should not use it?
Pregnant and lactating women should stay away from using it. Also, the hair on the seeds contain histamine, a known allergen. If you are allergic to it, then do not use Mucuna.
As with all medication, there have been some reported side effects of consuming Mucuna, mainly nausea and abdominal bloating. Other side effects include headache and agitation.