Mucuna pruriens, also known as velvet bean, is a legume that has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Mucuna pruriens benefits the body in several ways and has been shown to be effective in treating various conditions.

It contains levodopa (L-dopa), a precursor to dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in brain function. L-dopa can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase dopamine levels in the brain, which has beneficial effects in treating Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders.

It may also offer additional benefits, including improved mental function, increased libido, reduced anxiety and depression, and protection against age-related cognitive decline. 

See, Dopamine Foods For Parkinson’s disease and Are Beans Healthy

Learn more about the incredible benefits of this bean below.

Mucuna pruriens on wooden background

What Mucuna Pruriens?

Mucuna pruriens is a legume from a climbing shrub native to tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The plant has dark green leaves and purple or white flowers. The fruit of the plant is a black or brown bean that is enclosed in a pod.

Its English common names include monkey tamarind, velvet bean, Bengal velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, Mauritius velvet bean, Yokohama velvet bean, cowage, cowitch, lacuna bean, and Lyon bean.

It gets the name velvet bean from the velvety texture of its pods. The velvet bean seeds are used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and have a variety of purported health benefits. 

The beans of the Mucuna Pruriens plant are rich in levodopa (L-dopa), a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for many cognitive functions, including motivation, attention, and pleasure.

Studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens can improve cognitive function and help to treat conditions like Parkinson’s disease and depression. Additionally, Mucuna Pruriens has been shown to boost testosterone levels and increase sperm count in men. It is also a popular supplement for bodybuilders and athletes looking to improve their performance.

Velvet beans also contain phenols, hallucinogenic tryptamines, and tannins, all of which can benefit the body.

Munuca pruriens have also been used as a food source in different parts of the world for centuries.

The beans are high in protein, fiber, and essential fatty acids, making them a nutritious addition to any diet. 

Velvet beans can be consumed in a number of ways. They can be cooked and eaten like any other bean or ground into a powder and added to soups or curries. They can also be steeped in water to make tea. Velvet bean powder is also available commercially.

Mucuna Pruriens Benefits

1. Improved male fertility

Velvet beans are a variety of legume that is native to Africa. They have been shown to promote male fertility in a number of ways.

First, velvet beans contain high levels of the mineral zinc. Zinc is essential for the production of testosterone and other hormones necessary for reproduction. Zinc also helps to keep the sperm healthy and motile.

Second, velvet beans are a good source of the amino acid L-arginine. L-arginine has been shown to improve blood flow to the genitals and increase sperm count.

Third, velvet beans are rich in antioxidants. These nutrients scavenge damaging free radicals and protect the cells of the testes from oxidative damage. This is important because oxidative stress can lead to decreased sperm quality and quantity.

Fourth, velvet beans contain phytoestrogens. These plant compounds mimic the action of estrogen in the body and have been shown to improve semen quality in various studies.

Overall, velvet beans are a potent male fertility-enhancing food. If you are looking to boost your reproductive potential, adding them to your diet is a great place to start!

2. Reduces stress

Velvet beans contain a compound called L-dopa, which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which regulates emotions, motivation, and pleasure. 

Research shows that dopamine can help reduce stress levels in the body. One study found that when people were under stress, those with higher levels of dopamine were less likely to feel overwhelmed by their stressors. Another study found that dopamine can help people recover from stressful events more quickly.

There are several ways that dopamine can reduce stress. One way is by regulating the body’s stress response. When the body is under stress, it releases hormones like cortisol. Cortisol can cause a variety of symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping. Dopamine can help to offset these by calming the body’s response to stress.

In one study, rats that were given velvet bean extract showed reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol. They also had increased levels of dopamine in their brains.

In another study, human participants who took velvet bean extract for four weeks had reduced stress and anxiety levels. They also had improvements in mood and sleep quality.

Additionally, velvet beans are a good source of magnesium which has also been shown to reduce stress.

Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system and can help to ease anxiety and promote relaxation. Research has shown that magnesium can help reduce stress symptoms, including fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, and headaches.

3. Plays a key role in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative nervous system disorder that affects movement and often leads to tremors. 

It occurs when cells in the brain that produce dopamine are damaged or die. This leads to problems with movement and balance. 

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but it is thought to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are treatments available that can help to manage the symptoms. One such treatment is levodopa, a medication that replaces the dopamine lost in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease.

Velvet beans contain high levels of levodopa (L-dopa), making them an effective natural treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

L-dopa is converted into dopamine in the brain, which is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function.

In one study, patients who took a daily supplement containing velvet bean extract for six weeks significantly improved their symptoms. They had less difficulty walking, speaking, and moving their arms and legs.

Velvet beans are a safe and effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease. They can be taken as a supplement or added to food. However, if you consider using velvet beans for Parkinson’s disease, talk to your doctor first.

4. Ayurvedic Aphrodisiac

Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine from India that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions.

Aphrodisiacs are substances that are said to increase sexual desire. Velvet beans have been used as an aphrodisiac in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. The beans contain high levels of L-dopa, a precursor to dopamine. 

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in sexual arousal and pleasure, and it has been shown to increase libido in both men and women. If you’re looking for a natural way to boost your sex drive, velvet beans may be worth considering.

5. Improves brain function

Velvet beans have been shown to improve brain function in several ways.

One way velvet beans improve brain function is by increasing blood flow to the brain. This is because they are high in magnesium, which helps relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.

Increased blood flow can help improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of stroke and other vascular problems.

Velvet beans also contain essential nutrients like iron, potassium, and zinc, which have been shown to promote proper neurological function and cognitive health.

 Additionally, velvet beans are rich in antioxidants, compounds that can help protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals and inflammation.

Lastly, velvet beans can help improve brain function by reducing stress and anxiety levels. The compounds in velvet beans can help to promote relaxation and calmness. 

6. Fights cancer

Velvet beans contain high levels of polyphenols, which are plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies have shown that polyphenols can help protect against various types of cancer, including breast, ovarian, and colon cancer.

Polyphenols are thought to protect against cancer by scavenging harmful free radicals, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation. 

Velvet beans contain a specific type of polyphenol called lignans, which have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Mucuna pruriens vine

How to Include Velvet Beans in the Diet

Whole bean

If you’re looking to add velvet beans to your diet, you can cook them like any other type of bean:

  • Soak the beans overnight in water. This will help to soften them and make them easier to cook.
  • Rinse the beans in the morning and cook in boiling water for about 45 minutes or until they are soft.
  • Remember to change the boiling water at least once during the cooking process.
  • Drain the cooked beans and add them to your favorite recipe. Velvet beans can be used in soups, stews, curries, and more.
  • If you want a quick and easy meal, fry up some velvet beans with some onions and garlic. Serve with rice or bread

Powdered form

Mucuna pruriens can be roasted and ground into fine flour.

Powdered velvet beans can be used in a number of ways to add protein and other nutrients to your diet. They can be added to smoothies, used as a flour replacement in recipes, or simply sprinkled on top of food. Here are some tips on how to use powdered velvet beans:

  • Add them to smoothies or shakes for an extra boost of protein.
  • Use them as a flour replacement in recipes such as pancakes, cookies, or bread.
  • Sprinkle them on top of oatmeal, yogurt, or cereal for a nutritious breakfast.
  • Add them to soups or stews for extra protein and thickening power.

Supplements (Capsules, tinctures, etc.)

Velvet bean capsules are a convenient and easy way to get the medicinal benefits of the Mucuna pruriens plant. With a wide range of potential health benefits, these capsules are a great option for those looking for an all-natural way to improve their health and well-being.

According to clinical studies, a daily intake of five grams of mucuna pruriens powder can be effective for fertility and Parkinson’s disease.

However, remember that all preparations are not the same. So always follow the manufactures instructions for use.

Also, if you are taking other medications or supplements, please check with your healthcare provider before taking velvet bean capsules to ensure they will not interact with any other substances you are taking.

Possible Side Effects of Mucuna Pruriens

Velvet beans are generally considered healthy and nutritious, but like some foods, they can have some potential side effects.

Here are some possible side effects and precautions of eating velvet beans:

Velvet beans may cause gas and bloating: If this is a problem for you, try soaking the beans overnight before cooking them. This will help to reduce their gassy properties.

Velvet beans are high in fiber: This can be good for your digestive system, but if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, it can also lead to gas and bloating. Start slowly with these beans and increase your intake gradually to avoid any uncomfortable digestive issues.

Allergic reactions: Velvet beans contain a protein that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. You may also be allergic to velvet beans if you have an allergy to legumes, peanuts, or soybeans. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include hives, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.

Drug interaction: If you are taking any medication for psychosis, neuropathy, or irregular heartbeats, you should consult your doctor before taking velvet beans. Some of these medications may interact with velvet beans and cause serious side effects.

Pregnancy: It is generally advised that pregnant women avoid consuming velvet beans, as they can have a uterine stimulating effect which may lead to uterine rupture and bleeding.

It should be avoided in liver disease: People with liver disease should avoid consuming these beans. The Levodopa in velvet beans may enhance the synthesis of Serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT). SGOT is an enzyme that is found in the liver and is a marker for liver damage. Therefore, the consumption of velvet beans may exacerbate the liver disease.

Final Thoughts

Mucuna Pruriens is a tropical legume that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Modern science is only beginning to unlock this powerful herb’s potential.

It has shown promise in the treatment of a wide range of conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, and depression.

While more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of Mucuna Pruriens, there is already a wealth of evidence to suggest that it could be a valuable addition to your natural health arsenal. If you’re looking for an all-natural way to improve your health and well-being, Mucuna Pruriens may be worth considering.

Other Related Articles

  1. 8 Reasons Why You Should Start Eating Fava Beans
  2. What Are Yard Long Beans
  3. Mung Bean Nutrition
  4. 9 Ways To Use Kidney Beans
  5. Are Lima Beans Good For You?

If you enjoyed this post about Mucuna Pruriens Benefits and would love to see more, join me on YoutubeInstagramFacebook & Twitter!

Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.

Fortunately, because of the ads on our website, readers and subscribers of Healthier Steps are sponsoring many underprivileged families.