Mucuna pruriens, also referred to as velvet bean, is a tropical legume known for its neuroprotective and stress-relieving capabilities. The seeds of the plant contain high amounts of levodopa (L-dopa), the active compound which boosts dopamine – an important neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates learning, motivation, and mood.
Mucuna Pruriens Extract Benefits and Uses
As a supplement, studies found Mucuna pruriens has a number of health benefits including improving vitality, libido, and helping your body cope with stress. This is because the plant has adaptogenic properties which regulate mood and energy based on physical needs – inducing calm in periods of stress and improving energy when fatigued.
Anecdotally, Mucuna pruriens may act similarly to other dietary supplements such as Rhodiola rosea or Maca.
Mucuna pruriens extract is also known by a few different names, including:
- Mucuna hirsuta
- Velvet bean
- Pois mascate
- Mucuna atrocarpa
The Mucuna pruriens bean pod may cause severe irritation and burning when applied topically or taken orally and therefore should be avoided.
Dietary supplements of Mucuna Pruriens do not contain the bean pod and are generally considered safe for use when taken at recommended dosage. However, large servings may be hazardous to your health.
There is a need for further research into the health effects of long-term supplementation and the use of larger servings. Mucuna pruriens has the potential to interact with a number of medications, and caution should be used. Do not use Mucuna pruriens extract if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medications, especially antidepressants and anticoagulants.