Mucuna Pruriens

Velvet Bean


Mucuna Pruriens is a creeping vine native to regions of India, the Caribbean, and tropical areas of Africa. This bean like vine is popularly known for the velvet seed pods which it grows. This is also why the nickname “velvet bean” follows it anywhere it goes. In actuality, Mucuna Pruriens doesn’t refer to the leaves of a plant or the roots for that matter. Mucuna is a legume or any of a variety of plants having pods that contain seeds or otherwise known to some as “beans”.    Mucuna has traditionally been used as a food source by certain ethnic groups in a number of countries, as it is considered a viable source of dietary protein due to it’s high protein concentration and essential fatty acids and starch content. Mucuna has been utilized in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for thousands of years to treat complications such as nervous disorders and male infertility. 

It has been stated that Ayurvedic practitioners would use Mucuna as an unrivaled nerve tonic, a powerful aphrodisiac, for arthritis and to boost significant amounts of energy. Surprisingly enough, it has been documented that Mucuna has also been utilized as an antidote for scorpion venom when applied topically. Pharmacologically, all parts if the Mucuna plant posses medicinal properties. In vitro and in vivo studies have revealed the presence of chemical substances that exhibit a wide variety of pharmacological effects such as anti- inflammatory, anti- diabetic, neuroprotective, and anti- oxidant properties. 

The Velvet Bean And L- Dopa

for your peace of mind

Certain research groups would imply that that these pharmacological effects could possibly be due to the presence of an amino acid known as L- Dopa or Levodopa that is present in Mucuna. L- Dopa is a precursor of the neurotransmitter Dopamine, the motivation molecule. Dopamine is the main neurotransmitter in the brain, which plays various important roles in the brain and body . It is heavily involved with attention span, motor movements and our ability to experience pleasure. Our Dopamine content in the brain can drop due to different factors for example, complications with certain receptors in the brain or with the instrumental process that produces adequate amounts of it. But essentially, the dopamine content in brain tissue is reduced when the conversion of tyrosine to L- Dopa is blocked. 

L- Dopa and Parkinson's Disease

For a  number of years now there has been great activity in the investigation of cerebral neurotransmission, with particular attention being aimed at Dopamine. It’s common of clinicians to use levodopa as a dopamine replacement agent in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease as at some point, the low Dopamine content of patients with Parkinson’s Disease led to the obvious use of this precursor L- dopa in the treatment of this disease. It is believed that the major motor symptoms of Parkinson’s arise due to the loss of dopamine producing cells in the substantia nigra, as the degradation of this structure is a sign of Parkinson’s. 

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly effects the motor system, the set of central and peripheral structures in the nervous system that support movement. This condition results in the  disruption of a pathway in the brain known as the nigrostriatal pathway, one of the four major dopamine pathways in the brain, critical in the production of movement, that when disrupted, decreases the striatal dopamine levels.

Levodopa is the precursor of dopamine meaning that it converts into dopamine within certain places in the body. Unlike dopamine, levodopa can cross the blood brain barrier, which is why clinicians use levodopa instead of dopamine to treat Parkinson’s Disease. Levodopa converts to dopamine in both the Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous System. To increase the bioavailability of levodopa and decrease the side effects, it is often administered in combination with peripheral decarboxylase inhibitors, to prevent the conversion of levodopa into dopamine in the periphery, allowing for more levodopa to cross the blood brain barrier and to produces in the Central Nervous System.  

This loss of dopamine leads to a decrease in dopaminergic innervation or control of the striatum, the nucleus in the subcortical basal ganglia of the forebrain that receives dopaminergic inputs from different sources. This dysregulation in the neuronal circuitry results in a loss of regulation of normal output of neurons in the striatum and eventually leads to poor motor control. 

With the ability to provide an all natural alternative to synthetic sources of L- dopa, like that used in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease, and to also produce a natural source of Serotonin, researchers are seriously considering Mucuna’s potential as a competitive and natural alternative anti- depressant. 


Mucuna Pruriens Studies

Stress Reduction and infertility

A study conducted in 2010 on Mucuna sought to reveal if Mucuna Pruriens could reduce stress and improve the quality of semen in infertile men. The study included 60 subjects who were undergoing infertility screening and were found to be suffering from psychological stress. The subjects were assessed on the basis of a questionnaire and elevated serum cortisol levels. Infertile subjects were administered with Mucuna Pruriens seed powder orally for 3 months of treatment. Conclusively, treatment with Mucuna significantly ameliorated psychological stress and seminal plasma lipid peroxide levels, along with improved sperm count and motility.  Treatment also restored the levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase, seminal plasma glutathione and ascorbic acid in seminal plasma of infertile men. Researchers concluded on the basis of results from the present study that Mucuna not only helps in the management of stress while also improving semen quality of s, but also reactivates the anti- oxidant defense system of infertile men. 

Mice fed with Mucuna in the Forced Swimming Test showed a significant and dose dependent reduction in the immobility time observed within seven day of treatment as compared to the control group. 

In the Tail Suspension Test results showed a significant, and again dose dependent reduction in the immobility time observed within seven days as compared to the control group. 

Old but New Natural Antidepressant

A study conducted in 2014 on mice using a hydro- alcoholic extract of Mucuna seeds sought to investigate the proclaimed anti- depressant effects of Mucuna. The mice were put through a Forced Swimming Test (FST), Tail Suspension Test (TST) and a Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress Test (CUMS) to determine how Mucuna affected the test subjects. In the FST, mice were divided into groups, each consisting of six animals. On the seventh day of treatment, one hour after Mucuna administration each animal was subject to a Forced Swimming Test. Mice were made to swim individually. Two swim sessions were conducted. An initial 15 minute pretest followed by a 5 minute test 24 hours later. The duration of immobility, characterized by complete cessation of swimming with the head floating just above water level was determined during the final 5 minute period of the test. This decrease of immobility was indicative of an antidepressant effect on behalf of the Mucuna extract.   

Secrets Of the Tribe

Secrets Of The Tribe is a health conscious company, committed to providing the public with wholesome natural botanicals. Secrets Of The Tribe embraces our general ancestry of knowing and believing that Mother Nature has always held the key to unlocking the answers to the questions we have about our human health. With amazing quality and innovative formulations, the herbal products that they offer uphold a lifelong commitment to the wellness of body and mind by promoting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, while also embracing our ancestral origins.  

Secrets Of the Tribe offers certified, organic dried Mucuna seed extracts, in both capsule and tincture form. 

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