Mucuna pruriens has been used for several years in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine. It is effective for various conditions from Infertility, Parkinson’s, and snake venom negation!

What is Mucuna pruriens?

Mucuna pruriens (MP) is an herbal drug thought to treat male infertility and nervous disorders [R]. It is also used as an aphrodisiac.

Mucuna pruriens has been used in the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda for thousands of years to treat things ranging from infertility to Parkinson’s. Recent studies show that these claims are, in fact, substantiated [R].

It is a good source of L-Dopa, a precursor to dopamine [R].

Mucuna pruriens is also known as velvet bean. Mucuna pruriens grows on trees native to southern China and eastern India but is now found throughout the tropics.

Health Benefits of Mucuna pruriens

1) Mucuna pruriens Reduces Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

A reduction in the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease is associated with the L-Dopa content of Mucuna pruriens [R].

In a study done with 60 subjects, a statistically significant decrease in the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease was found in patients treated with HP-200, a powder derived from Mucuna pruriens, compared to the control, levodopa treatment [R].

In another study, Mucuna pruriens (MP) was found to be just as effective as levodopa treatment, but MP had a faster absorption rate and reached peak level faster [R].

These two studies suggest that Mucuna pruriens, a natural source of L-Dopa, has advantages over conventional sources of L-Dopa, levodopa, in the management of Parkinson’s Disease.

2) Mucuna pruriens is an Antidepressant

The antidepressant effects of MP extract were investigated with the Forced Swim Test (FST) and the Tail Suspension Test (TST). MP extract significantly reduced immobility time in the FST and TST [R]. These results indicate that MP extract has antidepressant abilities.

3) Mucuna pruriens Reduces Stress

In a study done to assess the effects of MP in infertile men who were under psychological stress, 60 infertile, stressed males were assessed based on a questionnaire and cortisol levels. 60 healthy, fertile males were used as the control.

In the infertile men, treatment with MP ameliorated psychological stress. The conclusion from this study is that MP helps manage stress (so far, this effect has only been shown in infertile men) [R].

4) Mucuna pruriens Decreases Prolactin levels

In infertile men, MP treatment decreased levels of Follicle-stimulating Hormone and Prolactin [R].

High levels of Prolactin can lead to tumors in the pituitary gland which can cause headaches, visual impairment, and ED.

Dopamine agonists like bromocriptine are usually used to treat high Prolactin levels, but MP which is also a dopamine agonist seems like it can potentially be used to treat mildly increased Prolactin levels [R].

5) Mucuna pruriens can Treat Male Infertility

MP is commonly used as a supplement to treat male infertility and has been shown to increase sperm motility, sperm quality, and sperm count.

In a double-blind study with 60 infertile men, treatment with MP (5 grams of powder daily) improved sperm count and motility [R]. This study shows that MP increases sperm quality and can be used as a treatment for infertility.

In a study examining the effects of MP on infertile men, it was found that MP increased testosterone levels [R]. This was only found in infertile men and it is unsure if the same effects occur infertile men.

6) Mucuna pruriens Can be Used as a Pretreatment to Cobra Venom

MP extract has been used by Nigerians as a prophylactic (pretreatment) for snakebites. A study done on rats investigated the protective effects of MP against cobra venom toxicity [R]. The hearts of pretreated (with MP) and untreated rats were studied after venom dosing.

It was found that the MP pretreatment protected against the effects of snake venom on the heart [R].

The protective effect of MP pretreatment against cobra venom involves a protective action of MP on heart function. This suggests that MP may have therapeutic potential as a protector of cardiovascular function.


For Parkinson’s Disease

In the two studies that showed a decrease in PD symptoms with MP supplementation, used dosages of 30 grams and 15 grams. Both these dosages were effective and didn’t cause any major adverse effects. I would suggest taking 5 grams daily with water.

For Infertility

5 grams of MP powder daily has been shown to increase sperm motility, count, and overall quality [R]. Take with water. (5 grams = 1 teaspoon).

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