Mucuna: The Dopamine Bean
The herb known as mucuna goes by many different names. Its’ Latin botanical name Mucuna Pruriens is the most common. In Sanskrit, this plant actually has two names; Kapikacchu, which means “one starts itching like a monkey” and Atmagupta, which means “secret self,”. Cowhage or velvet beans is another name for it.
This historic plant is one of the oldest natural remedies used in Ayurvedic medicine. It possesses many healing properties. Ranging from improving energy and balance to boosting libido and sexual virality.
Properties Of M. Pruriens
Mucuna is a member of the Fabaceae legume family that grows as a vine-like plant. Although it was first discovered in southern China, nowadays it is more likely found and grown in tropical or subtropical regions of India and Indonesia.
Each mucuna plant can grow about four to seven seeds that grow inside oblong-shaped pods. These pods have a velvety texture due to the bristles that grow all over them. Mucuna exists in two varieties which are distinguishable with the color of the seeds. This color can range from a white/beige hue to a darker brown or black shade. Traditional Ayurvedic medicine has used both these variants for more than two thousand years.
History of Mucuna
First cultivated as food, it is still consumed as a vegetable in many parts of Africa, the Pacific Islands, America, and Asia. Within the Himalayan region, extending into parts of Mauritius, it is a common delicacy to boil and eat the plant's pods. The plant also has many alternative uses across different regions.
Several Central and Southern American countries like Guatemala and Mexico have the tradition of roasting and grinding the beans into a substitute non-caffeinated product for coffee known as “Nescafe”. On the other hand, the Vietnamese use mucuna as a biological control for Imperata Cylindrica grass.
Nutritional content of Mucuna
Mucuna Pruriens has about 5% Levodopa (L-DOPA) content, making it one of the highest natural sources of this amino acid. The plant also contains small amounts of bufotenine, serotonin, and nicotine. These acids are all important for boosting mental capacity as well as physical capability levels. With a satisfactory amount of dopamine in the system, there is better balance in emotional state, sleep quality, memory ability, and even brain-body coordination.
The velvet bean also has excellent nutrients that are easily digestible and provide great benefits to the body; including vital minerals, starch, fatty acids, and dietary protein.
To activate its full health and nutritional benefits, you can prepare mucuna in different ways depending on its mode of consumption.
To eat mucuna, you have to soak its beans in water, then boil and ground them into a paste. This paste is then used for cooking. For medicinal value, the seeds are likewise boiled. Sometimes, people add milk to the boiling beans to soften and remove their outer skin layers. The bare kernels are then drained, dried, and finally ground into powder.
Uses of Mucuna
Mucuna has a variety of uses. In the section below, we discuss some of them;
Mucuna is rich in the amino acid L-DOPA, so it can increase the production of dopamine in the body. This hormone is the body’s natural way of reducing stress and has the function of calming the nervous system and helping the entire body relax.
When we expose our bodies to stressful situations, dopamine levels typically drop. We can use this natural product as a dietary supplement to stimulate increased production of dopamine, especially in people who are dealing with burn-out or substance addiction.
A study conducted at the Indian C.S.M Medical University proved that mucuna Pruriens can improve fertility and sexual vitality.
The study examined the effects of the plant on 75 fertile men and 75 men undergoing infertility screening. It concluded that therapy alongside the application of Mucuna Pruriens substantially improved testosterone, sperm motility, and sperm count in infertile men.
A study conducted by Kottai Muthu and some other colleagues discovered that the methanolic and ethyl acetate extract of whole M. Prureins plants contain large amounts of phenolic agents. These compounds contain large amounts of phenolic compounds that exhibit high antioxidant activities.
Plants that contain antioxidant properties work against free radicals, which at high concentrations can cause cancer. They also prevent oxidative stress. Aside from all of these, Mucuna leaves contain numerous compounds that can help heal the body.
Treatment Of Skin Diseases
When treated with the methanolic extract from it's leaves, human keratinocytes exhibit downregulation of total protein expression. MP can also decrease the baseline levels of 4HNE present in human keratinocytes.
Mucuna Pruriens is one of nature’s oldest remedies for a variety of diseases and conditions in human beings. In modern times, it is available as a supplement in both tablet and powder form that can revitalize your life and help you balance your natural energy.