macuna pruriens


Part used
  • Seeds – Mucuna pruriens can be found as a supplement at health stores or online in powder, tincture or capsule form
  • This plant is also often referred to as “velvet bean” due to the velvet-like coating of hairs that cover its seedpods
  • The seeds of the Mucuna pruriens plant are known to naturally contain levodopa, also known as L-dopa, at high concentrations of four to seven percent.
Benefits Mucuna pruriens contains high levels of naturally occurring L-dopa

  • L-Dopa is the precursor to dopamine, the key neurotransmitter necessary for coordinating proper body movements and also for things like learning, increasing motivation and regulating moods
  • shown in this study to have neuroprotective effects and be effective in treating Parkinson’s disease


  • Having a dopamine deficiency has been implicated in some cases of depression. A research study concludes that extract of the seeds exhibit antidepressant effects (study)
  • Another research study found that Mucuna pruriens seed extract increases in two more key neurotransmitters that affect mood: serotonin and norepinephrine. (study). This is a significant research finding since clinical evidence has shown that people with depression typically have disturbances in serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine neurotransmission in the central nervous system. (study2)

Improve fertility and stress management

  • A study demonstrated that Mucuna pruriens can help to reactivate the antioxidant defense system of infertile men and improve sperm quality while also improving stress management. (study)
Dangers Possible Mucuna pruriens side effects may include headache, pounding heartbeat, and symptoms of psychosis such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations and delusions

Mucuna pruriens is typically not recommended for people with any of the following: (16)

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes and Hypoglycemia
  • Liver disease
  • Melanoma
  • Mental illness
  • Peptic ulcer disease

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