Mucuna Pruriens

Last Updated: February 21, 2024

Mucuna pruriens, or velvet bean, is a tropical legume known for its high content of L-DOPA, a direct precursor to dopamine. Preliminary research suggests that supplementation with Mucuna pruriens may reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Mucuna Pruriens is most often used for

What is Mucuna pruriens?

Mucuna pruriens (part of the Fabaceae, or bean, family), commonly known as velvet bean, is a legume that is widespread in tropical regions of the world, including Asia, Africa, and South America.[1] It has a wide range of traditional uses in Ayurvedic medicine, including as an aphrodisiac, as a treatment for nervous system disorders, and as an antidote against snake venom.[2][3] The plant produces seed-containing pods covered in fine hairs that can cause severe itching upon skin contact.[4] Because the seeds of Mucuna pruriens are rich in levodopa (L-DOPA), a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine,[5] the plant has gained attention as a potential treatment for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Limited research has explored the potential aphrodisiac, antivenom, and antidiabetic properties of Mucuna pruriens.[1]

What are Mucuna pruriens’ main benefits?

A small number of clinical trials suggest that dose-matched Mucuna pruriens exhibits comparable effectiveness to pharmaceutical L-DOPA paired with carbidopa/benserazide for alleviating the general symptoms of Parkinson's disease,[5][6][7] with limited animal research suggesting that these neuroprotective properties may extend to other conditions related to dopamine deficiency.[8] Preliminary research has explored the potential impact of Mucuna pruriens on sperm quality and testosterone levels in the context of male infertility, indicating its potential effectiveness in improving sperm concentration, count, and motility and increasing testosterone levels.[9][10][11][12] Limited evidence from animal studies suggests that Mucuna pruriens may also possess antivenom properties against snakebites,[13][14] and might mitigate the development of cataracts and the increase in urinary albumin levels associated with diabetes.[15][16]

What are Mucuna pruriens’ main drawbacks?

As with isolated L-DOPA, supplementation with Mucuna pruriens has been reported to be associated with nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness.[6][5] Instances of acute toxic psychosis linked to the consumption of Mucuna pruriens in its bean form have been reported in Mozambique.[17] This phenomenon is believed to have mainly been a consequence of eating raw, inadequately prepared Mucuna pruriens beans.

How does Mucuna pruriens work?

For reducing the symptoms of Parkinson’s and other conditions related to dopamine deficiency, Mucuna pruriens is thought to work by increasing serum dopamine levels due to its high content of L-DOPA, a natural precursor to dopamine.[1] The potential beneficial effects of Mucuna pruriens on male fertility and testosterone levels may be due to L-DOPA’s action on the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis.[9] The antivenom effects of Mucuna pruriens are likely due to an immune mechanism in which glycoproteins found in the bean are thought to stimulate the production of antibodies that bind to venom proteins, neutralizing the toxic effects of the venom.[2] Additional research is needed to further understand the potential antidiabetic effects of Mucuna pruriens, but existing evidence indicates the involvement of a compound known as D-chiro-inositol, which is present in the seeds of the plant.[18]

What else is Mucuna Pruriens known as?
Note that Mucuna Pruriens is also known as:
  • Velvet Bean
  • Cowitch
  • Werepe
  • Karara
  • Agbara
Mucuna Pruriens should not be confused with:
  • Levodopa (active ingredient)
Dosage information

Most trials looking at the effects of Mucuna pruriens on symptoms of Parkinson's disease or male infertility have used daily doses ranging between 5 and 45 grams of adequately prepared seed powder, corresponding to approximately 200 mg to 1,500 mg of L-DOPA.

Preparations of Mucuna pruriens, which contain L-DOPA, may be 2–3 times more potent than an equivalent dose of isolated L-DOPA (when not combined with carbidopa). Mucuna pruriens should not be used in conjunction with medications containing L-DOPA; combining the two could potentially result in excessively high dopamine levels, leading to adverse effects. Also, the potential blood-glucose-lowering properties of Mucuna pruriens mean that it could interact with diabetes medications.

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7 days ago

Big update with new FAQs

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We rewrote some of the existing page to have better flow and more up-to-date citations. We also added new FAQs on topics like mucuna pruriens's nutrition profile and antidiabetic properties. Finally, we added several new meta-analyses to the database.

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References
  1. ^Pathania R, Chawla P, Khan H, Kaushik R, Khan MAAn assessment of potential nutritive and medicinal properties of : a natural food legume.3 Biotech.(2020-Jun)
  2. ^Lampariello LR, Cortelazzo A, Guerranti R, Sticozzi C, Valacchi GThe Magic Velvet Bean of Mucuna pruriens.J Tradit Complement Med.(2012-Oct)
  3. ^Soares AM, Ticli FK, Marcussi S, Lourenço MV, Januário AH, Sampaio SV, Giglio JR, Lomonte B, Pereira PSMedicinal plants with inhibitory properties against snake venoms.Curr Med Chem.(2005)
  4. ^Kosteletzky F, Namer B, Forster C, Handwerker HOImpact of scratching on itch and sympathetic reflexes induced by cowhage (Mucuna pruriens) and histamine.Acta Derm Venereol.(2009)
  5. ^Katzenschlager R, Evans A, Manson A, Patsalos PN, Ratnaraj N, Watt H, Timmermann L, Van der Giessen R, Lees AJMucuna pruriens in Parkinson's disease: a double blind clinical and pharmacological studyJ Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry.(2004 Dec)
  6. ^Roberto Cilia, Janeth Laguna, Erica Cassani, Emanuele Cereda, Benedetta Raspini, Michela Barichella, Gianni PezzoliDaily intake of Mucuna pruriens in advanced Parkinson's disease: A 16-week, noninferiority, randomized, crossover, pilot studyParkinsonism Relat Disord.(2018 Apr)
  7. ^Roberto Cilia, Janeth Laguna, Erica Cassani, Emanuele Cereda, Nicolò G Pozzi, Ioannis U Isaias, Manuela Contin, Michela Barichella, Gianni PezzoliMucuna pruriens in Parkinson disease: A double-blind, randomized, controlled, crossover studyNeurology.(2017 Aug 1)
  8. ^Kasture S, Pontis S, Pinna A, Schintu N, Spina L, Longoni R, Simola N, Ballero M, Morelli MAssessment of symptomatic and neuroprotective efficacy of Mucuna pruriens seed extract in rodent model of Parkinson's disease.Neurotox Res.(2009-Feb)
  9. ^Shukla KK, Mahdi AA, Ahmad MK, Shankhwar SN, Rajender S, Jaiswar SPMucuna pruriens improves male fertility by its action on the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axisFertil Steril.(2009 Dec)
  10. ^Shukla KK, Mahdi AA, Ahmad MK, Jaiswar SP, Shankwar SN, Tiwari SCMucuna pruriens Reduces Stress and Improves the Quality of Semen in Infertile MenEvid Based Complement Alternat Med.(2010 Mar)
  11. ^Gupta A, Mahdi AA, Ahmad MK, Shukla KK, Bansal N, Jaiswer SP, Shankhwar SNA proton NMR study of the effect of Mucuna pruriens on seminal plasma metabolites of infertile malesJ Pharm Biomed Anal.(2011 Jul 15)
  12. ^Mohammad Kaleem Ahmad, Abbas Ali Mahdi, Kamla Kant Shukla, Najmul Islam, Shyam Pyari Jaiswar, Sohail AhmadEffect of Mucuna pruriens on semen profile and biochemical parameters in seminal plasma of infertile menFertil Steril.(2008 Sep)
  13. ^Guerranti R, Ogueli IG, Bertocci E, Muzzi C, Aguiyi JC, Cianti R, Armini A, Bini L, Leoncini R, Marinello E, Pagani RProteomic analysis of the pathophysiological process involved in the antisnake venom effect of Mucuna pruriens extract.Proteomics.(2008-Jan)
  14. ^Guerranti R, Aguiyi JC, Ogueli IG, Onorati G, Neri S, Rosati F, Del Buono F, Lampariello R, Pagani R, Marinello EProtection of Mucuna pruriens seeds against Echis carinatus venom is exerted through a multiform glycoprotein whose oligosaccharide chains are functional in this role.Biochem Biophys Res Commun.(2004-Oct-15)
  15. ^Rathi SS, Grover JK, Vikrant V, Biswas NRPrevention of experimental diabetic cataract by Indian Ayurvedic plant extracts.Phytother Res.(2002-Dec)
  16. ^Grover JK, Vats V, Rathi SS, Dawar RTraditional Indian anti-diabetic plants attenuate progression of renal damage in streptozotocin induced diabetic mice.J Ethnopharmacol.(2001-Aug)
  17. ^Infante ME, Perez AM, Simao MR, Manda F, Baquete EF, Fernandes AM, Cliff JLOutbreak of acute toxic psychosis attributed to Mucuna pruriens.Lancet.(1990-Nov-03)
  18. ^Donati D, Lampariello LR, Pagani R, Guerranti R, Cinci G, Marinello EAntidiabetic oligocyclitols in seeds of Mucuna pruriens.Phytother Res.(2005-Dec)
  19. ^Lieu CA, Kunselman AR, Manyam BV, Venkiteswaran K, Subramanian TA water extract of Mucuna pruriens provides long-term amelioration of parkinsonism with reduced risk for dyskinesias.Parkinsonism Relat Disord.(2010-Aug)
  20. ^Manyam BV, Dhanasekaran M, Hare TANeuroprotective effects of the antiparkinson drug Mucuna pruriens.Phytother Res.(2004-Sep)
  21. ^Spencer JP, Jenner A, Aruoma OI, Evans PJ, Kaur H, Dexter DT, Jenner P, Lees AJ, Marsden DC, Halliwell BIntense oxidative DNA damage promoted by L-dopa and its metabolites. Implications for neurodegenerative disease.FEBS Lett.(1994-Oct-24)
  22. ^Tharakan B, Dhanasekaran M, Mize-Berge J, Manyam BVAnti-Parkinson botanical Mucuna pruriens prevents levodopa induced plasmid and genomic DNA damage.Phytother Res.(2007-Dec)
  23. ^Dhanasekaran M, Tharakan B, Manyam BVAntiparkinson drug--Mucuna pruriens shows antioxidant and metal chelating activity.Phytother Res.(2008-Jan)
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  26. ^Cassani E, Cilia R, Laguna J, Barichella M, Contin M, Cereda E, Isaias IU, Sparvoli F, Akpalu A, Budu KO, Scarpa MT, Pezzoli GMucuna pruriens for Parkinson's disease: Low-cost preparation method, laboratory measures and pharmacokinetics profile.J Neurol Sci.(2016-Jun-15)
  27. ^Siddhuraju P, Becker KEffect of various domestic processing methods on antinutrients and in vitro protein and starch digestibility of two indigenous varieties of Indian tribal pulse, Mucuna pruriens Var. utilis.J Agric Food Chem.(2001-Jun)
  28. ^Ezegbe CC, Nwosu JN, Owuamanam CI, Victor-Aduloju TA, Nkhata SGProximate composition and anti-nutritional factors in (velvet bean) seed flour as affected by several processing methods.Heliyon.(2023-Aug)
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  30. ^Kala BK, Mohan VRNutritional and anti-nutritional potential of three accessions of itching bean (Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC var. pruriens): an under-utilized tribal pulse.Int J Food Sci Nutr.(2010-Aug)
  31. ^Fernandez-Pastor I, Luque-Muñoz A, Rivas F, Medina-O'Donnell M, Martinez A, Gonzalez-Maldonado R, Haidour A, Parra AQuantitative NMR analysis of L-Dopa in seeds from two varieties of Mucuna pruriens.Phytochem Anal.(2019-Jan)
  32. ^Archana P Raina, Renu KhatriQuantitative Determination of L-DOPA in Seeds of Mucuna Pruriens Germplasm by High Performance Thin Layer ChromatographyIndian J Pharm Sci.(2011 Jul)
  33. ^Haridas Pulikkalpura, Rajani Kurup, Paravanparampil Jacob Mathew, Sabulal BabyLevodopa in Mucuna pruriens and its degradationSci Rep.(2015 Jun 9)
  34. ^Rakesh B, Hima Bindu K, Praveen NVariations in the L-DOPA Content, Phytochemical Constituents and Antioxidant Activity of Different Germlines of *Mucuna pruriens* (L.) DC.AJC.(2021 Jul)
  35. ^Misra L, Wagner HAlkaloidal constituents of Mucuna pruriens seeds.Phytochemistry.(2004-Sep)
  36. ^Ghosal S, Singh S, Bhattacharya SKAlkaloids of Mucuna pruries chemistry and pharmacology.Planta Med.(1971-Feb)
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  38. ^Reddy VB, Iuga AO, Shimada SG, LaMotte RH, Lerner EACowhage-evoked itch is mediated by a novel cysteine protease: a ligand of protease-activated receptors.J Neurosci.(2008-Apr-23)
  39. ^Agbafor KN, Nwachukwu NPhytochemical Analysis and Antioxidant Property of Leaf Extracts of Vitex doniana and Mucuna pruriens.Biochem Res Int.(2011)
  40. ^Hope-Onyekwere NS, Ogueli GI, Cortelazzo A, Cerutti H, Cito A, Aguiyi JC, Guerranti REffects of Mucuna pruriens protease inhibitors on Echis carinatus venom.Phytother Res.(2012-Dec)
  41. ^Majekodunmi SO, Oyagbemi AA, Umukoro S, Odeku OAEvaluation of the anti-diabetic properties of Mucuna pruriens seed extract.Asian Pac J Trop Med.(2011-Aug)
  42. ^Rathi SS, Grover JK, Vats VThe effect of Momordica charantia and Mucuna pruriens in experimental diabetes and their effect on key metabolic enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism.Phytother Res.(2002-May)
  43. ^Bhaskar A, Vidhya VG, Ramya MHypoglycemic effect of Mucuna pruriens seed extract on normal and streptozotocin-diabetic rats.Fitoterapia.(2008-Dec)
Examine Database References
  1. Parkinson's Disease Symptoms - Roberto Cilia, Janeth Laguna, Erica Cassani, Emanuele Cereda, Benedetta Raspini, Michela Barichella, Gianni PezzoliDaily intake of Mucuna pruriens in advanced Parkinson's disease: A 16-week, noninferiority, randomized, crossover, pilot studyParkinsonism Relat Disord.(2018 Apr)
  2. Parkinson's Disease Symptoms - Roberto Cilia, Janeth Laguna, Erica Cassani, Emanuele Cereda, Nicolò G Pozzi, Ioannis U Isaias, Manuela Contin, Michela Barichella, Gianni PezzoliMucuna pruriens in Parkinson disease: A double-blind, randomized, controlled, crossover studyNeurology.(2017 Aug 1)
  3. Parkinson's Disease Symptoms - Katzenschlager R, Evans A, Manson A, Patsalos PN, Ratnaraj N, Watt H, Timmermann L, Van der Giessen R, Lees AJMucuna pruriens in Parkinson's disease: a double blind clinical and pharmacological studyJ Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry.(2004 Dec)