Updated: Mar 19, 2019
Have you heard of the medicinal plant known as Mucuna Pruriens or "Velvet Bean"?
This medicinal legume has some very exciting properties that can help heal serious issues such as Parkinson's, as well lowering blood sugar, assisting in development of muscle, decreasing stress, improving moods and focus, healing infertility in men.
I personally have found that Mucuna eases PMS symptoms and helps maintain positive moods. I love to add Mucuna powder to my Cacao creations - for a potent serotonin and dopamine boost that helps induce a blissful and happy experience.
L-Dopa and Dopamine
Mucuna Pruriens contains L-Dopa which is the immediate precursor of Dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that promotes enjoyment and interest in life. Dopamine is widespread in the brain as well as the rest of the nervous system. This neurotransmitter plays a critical role in the control of movement. It has a stimulating effect on the heart, the circulation, the rate of metabolism, and is able to mobilize many of the body's energy reserves. It helps to modulate brain activity, control coordination and movement, and regulate the flow of information to different areas of the brain.
L-Dopa is used in the treatment of Parkinson disease. Parkinson disease is believed to be related to low
levels of dopamine in certain parts of the brain. When L-dopa is taken by mouth, it crosses through the blood-brain barrier. Once it has crossed from the bloodstream into the brain, it is converted to dopamine. The resulting increase in dopamine concentrations in the brain is thought to improve nerve conduction and to assist in lessening the movement disorders in Parkinson disease. Mucuna Pruriens is now being considered as an alternative to the pharmaceutical medication Levodopa. In one case study it was given to a Parkinson's patient for 12 years instead of the pharmaceutical L-dopa medication. It was found to slow the progression of Parkinson's symptoms (such as tremors, rigidity, slurring, drooling, and balance), and to have none of the side-effects of the current pharmaceutical L-dopa.
Good news for Libidos
Mucuna is also known as a potent aphrodisiac and a remedy for male erectile dysfunction. It has positive effects on male fertility. In 2002, a U.S. patent was filed on the use of Mucuna Pruriens to stimulate the release of growth hormone in humans. Research cited in the patent indicated that the high levels of L-dopa in Mucuna seed were converted to dopamine which stimulated the release of growth hormone by the pituitary gland.
Traditionally the seed has been used by indigenous peoples throughout the world for snakebite and several in vivo studies validate this traditional use. In rats, a water extract of the seed inhibited venom-induced blood and coagulation alterations, and reduced lethality of the venom. The anti-venom effect of Mucuna Pruriens is thought to be due to an immune mechanism, as proteins in the seed were documented to raise antibodies against the venom.
A WORD OF CAUTION -
Mucuna should not be used by pregnant or lactating women because it can lower prolactin and it increases testosterone. Should not be used with MAO inhibitors. Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors are a class of drugs used for depression and Parkinson's Disease.
Another interesting aspect of Mucuna is that the leaves, stems, and roots contain DMT and 5-Meo-DMT (a potent psychoactive alkaloid). I personally have not processed the leaves, stems, or roots - so I can't speak from experience as to the effects of these parts of the plant or the potency of the DMT that they contain.
When we have enough Dopamine we can Experience. . .
Feelings of pleasure Feelings of attachment/love Sense of altruism (unselfish concern for the welfare of others) Integration of thoughts and feelings
When we are Deficient in Dopamine we can Experience: Anhedonia (lack of pleasure) Lack of ability to feel love Lack of remorse about actions Distractibility Dislike of others