In addition to extensive
research information and
suggestions on dosage and safety of this important medicinal plant, you
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Benefits, side effects, review
Mucuna pruriens, one of the popular Ayurvedic herbs, is also known as velvet bean or cowhage. This herb contains L-Dopa, a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. The l dopa content increases when extracts are prepared and made in the form of supplement pills. L-dopa converts into dopamine, an important brain chemical involved in mood, sexuality, and physical movement.
Mucuna pruriens has antioxidant properties and has been used for generations in India for Parkinson's disease treatment. How well it works in Parkinson's disease is just beginning to be evaluated in research studies in western countries and no definitive conclusions can yet be made. Keep in mind that there are many other active substances in this herb, besides l dopa, that have an effect on the body and mind.
This article reviews the benefits, side effects and dosage of this herb, including its use for Parkinson's disease, depression and sexual enhancement.
Physician Formulas, Mucuna Pruriens, 200
mg, 60 Capsules
buy Mucuna Pruriens extract supplement 200 mg, 15% L dopa
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Mucuna pruriens has been used for centuries for its broad health benefits.
Now it is available in capsule form in a 15% L dopa extract manufactured by a high quality laboratory in the United States.
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|Serving Size: 1 Capsule|
|Serving Per Bottle: 60 Capsules|
|Amount Per Capsule||% DV|
Velvet Bean Extract (Seed) (min.15% L-DOPA (30 mg L-Dopa))
|† Daily Value or Recommended Daily Intake not established|
Dosage: Take one or two capsules a day in the morning before breakfast, with a couple of days off each week.
Each pill provides 30 mg of L Dopa, along with the dozens of other beneficial ingredients within the plant.
Directions, how often to take
Q. I found a mucuna product in my local vitamin supplement store. On the product directions for dosage and frequency of use it said that it should be taken on a cycle of 3 months on and one month off. Do you recommend anything similar for your product? I'd like to go with the product that you developed because I really like your research-based approach.
A. Since human studies with mucuna are limited, it is difficult to know the ideal dosage, frequency of use or amount of time for breaks. Plus, each person may have a different need based on their health and medical condition. A break from use could be one or two days a week, a week off per month, or any variation thereof. Is the mucuna being used for health enhancement, mood improvement, sexual benefits, Parkinson's disease, or another condition? All these influence how much and how often one takes this herb. There are no simple guidelines that apply to everyone.
Mucuna pruriens benefit, how does it help
Scientists and doctors in Western countries are beginning to seriously take a look at the potential benefits of mucuna pruriens herb in a number of conditions including Parkinson's disease, depression, fertility, and sexual enhancement. Studies in rats show this herbal supplement influences dopamine content in the cortex of the brain and enhances sexuality, along with protecting sperm from oxidative damage. The seed powder of the plant has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. However, by itself, mucuna is often not an adequate substitute for levodopa / aromatic amino acid decarboxylase peripheral inhibitors.
Composition of mucuna pruriens seed
Nutritional analysis reveals it contains crude protein ranged from 20-29 %, crude lipid 6%, total dietary fiber 10%, ash 3% and carbohydrates 50-60%. The L-dopa content in the herb ranges normally from 2 to 6 percent. Several other compounds are found in the seed, including alkaloids, coumarins, flavonoids, triterpenes, saponins and other chemicals.
You can find a number of mucuna products on the market with a l-dopa percentage ranging from very low to 40 percent, or higher. Since there are a number of substances in this herb that have health benefits, one should not focus on the L-dopa content alone. I feel, at this time, that a 15 % concentration is a good balance.
Mucuna pruriens as sexual
enhancer, aphrodisiac, benefit for a man and woman
Dopamine is a natural neurotransmitter that enhances sexual urge and interest. Mucuna pruriens contains L-Dopa, the precursor to dopamine. Mucuna pruriens has been known in Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac herb. Users of this herb notice sexual enhancement within days.
Dose- and time-dependent effects of ethanolic extract of
Mucuna pruriens seed on sexual behaviour of normal male rats.
J Ethnopharmacology. 2009.
According to Indian Systems of Medicine, mucuna pruriens has been used for treating male sexual disorders since ancient times. In this 45 day study the effects of the extracts on general mating behavior, libido and potency of normal male rats were investigated and also compared with the standard reference drug, sildenafil citrate (Viagra). The extract significantly increased the mounting frequency, intromission frequency and ejaculation latency. The results indicate that extracts of mucuna pruriens seed produced a significant and sustained increase in the sexual activity of normal male rats. The resulting aphrodisiac activity of the extract lends support to the claim that it has traditionally been used for the treatment of sexual disorders.
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There's a good reason why people continue reordering this herbal aphrodisiac formula. It works. This natural sexual enhancing formula provides results that are most commonly noticed by the third to fifth days. Passion Rx improves:
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Erectile function and dilation
Orgasms and climaxes
Sensation and lubrication
Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D., author of Natural Sex Boosters, has created a combination of exotic herbs from the Amazon jungle, India, China, Malaysia, and Africa, that support healthy desire and performance, as well as to simply enhance sexual pleasure. The natural herbal extracts in this sexual enhancing formula include ashwagandha, catuaba, coleus forskohlii, horny goat weed, maca, mucuna pruriens, muira puama, passion flower, rhodiola, shilajit, tribulus terrestris extract, and tongkat ali.
Mind Power Rx
This natural brain improving product is a sophisticated cognitive formula that combines a delicate balance of brain circulation agents and neurotransmitter precursors with powerful natural brain chemicals that support memory and mood, mental clarity, concentration, alertness and focus. The herbs in this mind enhancing formula include ashwagandha, bacopa, ginkgo biloba extract, ginseng, mucuna pruriens extract, and reishi. The nutrients and vitamins include acetyl-l-carnitine, carnitine, carnosine, choline, DMAE, inositol, methylcobalamin, pantothenic acid, trimethylglycine, tyrosine, and vinpocetine.
Mucuna pruriens side effects,
safety, risk, danger, caution
Since few human trials have been done with mucuna pruriens supplements, side effects are not fully understood. Increased body temperature is possible on high doses. Other possible side effects when used in high dose include insomnia and rapid heart beat. A positive benefit could be slightly improved visual clarity.
Testimonial received by email
Just some notes for reference regarding use of Mucuna Pruriens. I began taking this product with good results for 60 days on and off. Then one evening I had an episode of anxiety. A flooding of prickly needles all over like niacin, rapid heartbeat, confusion. I stopped taking it. For a couple nights I couldn’t sleep, with kind of a nervous feeling almost restless leg. Then it went away. Now, about two weeks later after stopping, out of the blue, I have had some sort of episode of high energy bordering anxiety, where I just have to get on a treadmill or just go for a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes. The feelings are centered in my stomach area, almost like a ball of energy. This happened the last two nights in a row, around the same time each evening. Am I to expect withdrawal symptoms like this only after taking this product on and off for 60 days. I’m a 63 year old male, I liked how I felt overall, always in a good mood, happy, slept well, good appetite.
A. If the side effects are from the herb (and no other medication or other supplements you are still taking) they will subside over time. It is a good idea to take low doses and take frequent breaks from use. This way such negative effects rarely occur.
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Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Citrus bioflavonoids (hesperidin, flavonols, flavones, flavonoids, and quercetin)
Mixed carotenoids (astaxanthin, beta carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin)
Ginkgo biloba extract
Mucuna pruriens extract
Lycium berry extract
Alpha lipoic acid antioxidant
Mucuna pruriens and Parkinson's
disease research, nerve cell protection
Parkinson's disease has been known in India since ancient times and mucuna pruriens seed powder has been used for its treatment. At this point it is too early to tell how to best use mucuna pruriens extract supplements for this neurological condition (and it depends whether it is just the powder or a concentrated extract). It is not clear what the ideal dosage would be, how long the treatment would last, how it combines with other prescription drugs, etc. It is quite possible that the addition of this herb to one's Parkinson's treatment regimen could necessitate lowering the dosage of the prescription medications. Consult with your doctor and ask that he or she read this article. By itself mucuna may not be a good substitute for the medications used to effectively treat Parkinson's disease but perhaps, when added, it could help reduce the dosages of the required medications.
Neurochem Int. 2014. Comparison of the neuroprotective
potential of Mucuna pruriens seed extract with estrogen in MPTP-induced PD mice model. MP
can be an effective treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, by
decreasing oxidative stress and possibly by implementing neuronal and glial cell
Anti Parkinson botanical mucuna pruriens prevents levodopa induced plasmid and genomic DNA damage.
Phytother Research. 2007.
Levodopa is considered the 'gold standard' for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. However, a serious concern is dyskinesia and motor fluctuation that occurs after several years of use. Mucuna pruriens powder has shown anti Parkinson and neuroprotective effects in animal models of Parkinson's disease that is superior to synthetic levodopa. In the present study two different doses of mucuna protected both plasmid DNA and genomic DNA against levodopa and divalent copper-induced DNA strand scission and damage.
Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson's disease: a double blind clinical and
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004.
Eight Parkinson's disease patients were challenged with single doses of 200 / 50 mg L-dopa / carbidopa, and 15 and 30 grams of mucuna pruriens preparation in randomised order at weekly intervals. Compared with standard L-dopa / carbidopa, the mucuna preparation led to a considerably faster onset of effect, reflected in shorter latencies to peak L-dopa plasma concentrations. The rapid onset of action and longer on time without concomitant increase in dyskinesias on mucuna seed powder formulation suggest that this natural source of L-dopa might possess advantages over conventional L-dopa preparations in the long term management of Parkinson's disease.
Effect of antiparkinson drug HP-200 on the central monoaminergic neurotransmitters.
Phytother Res. 2004.
The present study was designed to elucidate the long-term effect of mucuna pruriens endocarp HP-200 on monoaminergic neurotransmitters and its metabolite in various regions of the rat brain. Oral administration had a significant effect on dopamine content in the cortex with no significant effect on levodopa, norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, and their metabolites - HVA, DOPAC and 5-HIAA in the nigrostriatal tract. The failure of mucuna pruriens endocarp to significantly affect dopamine metabolism in the striatonigral tract along with its ability to improve Parkinson symptoms in humans may suggest that its anti Parkinson effect may be due to components other than levodopa or that it has a levodopa enhancing effect.
Q. Do all patients with Parkinson's benefit from taking the
A. There have not been enough studies for me to know the right dosage, how often to take it, and how it combines with prescription drugs. Each patient has to be tailored individually starting with a low dose and then proceeding to a higher dosage while prescription drug dosage is decreased. I don't know the percentage of patients who benefit from this natural herbal medicine.
Q. I am now taking
Sinemet 25/100 three times daily. What is the equivalent in a mucuna pruriens dosage?
A. The equivalent dose is not known, and it is not clear yet whether mucuna works the same way as Sinemet or has similar benefits. Research with this herb is still early and we don't know enough about it to make firm recommendations.
Combining with Sinemet or other medications used for
Q. We have purchased Mucuna Pruriens from the herbal store for my dad but he also take 5 tablets of 150mg Sinemet. I wanted to know how this product compares to the dose of his prescription? And how should he betaking your supplement to optimize the use of it?
A. It is not easy to give simple answers and I am not in a position to offer specific advice since each patient responds differently to medications, supplements, and their combinations. It is a good idea to begin with very low dosages and to have approval by one's doctor.
A List of decarboxylase inhibitors
Benserazide (Madopar, Prolopa, Modopar, Madopark, Neodopasol, EC-Doparyl)
Carbidopa (Lodosyn, Sinemet, Parcopa, Atamet, Stalevo)
Methyldopa (Aldomet, Aldoril, Dopamet, Dopegyt)
Testimonials received by email
I have Parkinson's disease and in just six days mucuna pruriens product had me where I could sign my name again and since have regained a lot of my functions.
I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The Dr. tried several medications that were specifically to supply dopamine, my body repelled each of the medications. The doctor decided to treat the severe pain with Percocet. Disturbed at that my brother went to our health food store, Good Earth, Bradenton, Fl.. They found your product. Within days I was able to write my own name and was able to remember things. Steadily I have continued to make progress. At first I took two capsules a day before breakfast, but I experienced a recent set back, As my memory got a bit worse, I decided to take three a day, My memory is already getting better and tomorrow I will start taking two again. I am only 40 years old but my Dr. said since my father had Parkinson's I was a prime candidate for it and that a psychological medicine I was on Risperdal, had sped up the progress and caused it to hit me much earlier than normal. I have informed my neurologist that I am on mucuna pruriens and he was relieved to see the progress. I am steadily getting better and I am thrilled to be coming out of this dark cave Parkinson's puts you in.
My health providers has me take mucuna in an
attempt to reduce my hand tremor due to the Parkinsonian-like syndrome. We tried
one company product (100mg seed, 15% L-dopa, yields 15 mg) but didn't get
satisfactory result. So I think I'll try yours (200mg, 15% L-dopa) instead. What
do you think?
A. It is not possible to predict what the outcome would be, but often there are differences in herbal products between different manufacturers since the source of the raw material and its preparation is different.
Depression, mood influence, a natural
By raising dopamine levels, this herb can be used as a natural alternative for the treatment of depression. Other natural supplements that work for depression include 5-HTP, SAM-e, and St. John's wort.
Q. Due to it's ability to raise
dopamine, I would think that mucuna would raise
mood and libido.
Depression due to low dopamine should probably respond to supplementation.
A. Some people do notice a mood and libido lift with a mucuna pruriens supplement and it can be used as a natural antidepressant for the treatment of depression that responds to dopamine elevation.
Dopamine, L Dopa
Q. If the amino acid tyrosine converts to L- Dopa, then would taking a tyrosine supplement produce the same effect or result as taking mucuna pruriens herbal extract?
A. Not really. Mucuna pruriens herbal extract has many other compounds in it besides L Dopa. The effects of tyrosine supplements and MP are very different.
Q. I have taken your mucuna pruriens formula, and was
wondering if there would be any problem taking that with some tyrosine. Dr. Dryland in Oregon has said that you should not take tyrosine when taking
levodopa. I would like to boost my dopamine levels, so thought about taking both
of these supplements in small amounts.
A. Much depends on why the tyrosine is being taken. Is it to treat Parkinson's disease? It also depends on the dosage of the herbal product. If the mucuna is used in low dosages, tyrosine can be used 100 to 200 mg a day but if a lot of the herb is taken I do not see the need to take the amino acid. Tyrosine can cause heart rhythm disturbances and anxiety.
and semen benefit
Mucuna pruriens improves male fertility by its action on the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis.
Fertil Steril. 2008.
Seventy-five normal healthy fertile men (controls) and 75 men undergoing infertility screening were involved. High-performance liquid chromatography assay for quantitation of dopa, adrenaline, and noradrenaline in seminal plasma and blood was done alng with eestimation of hormonal parameters in blood plasma, namely T, LH, FSH, and PRL. Decreased sperm count and motility were seen in infertile subjects. Serum T and LH levels, as well as seminal plasma and blood levels of dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline were also decreased in all groups of infertile men. This was accompanied by significantly increased serum FSH and PRL levels in subjects with low sperm counts. Treatment with M. pruriens significantly improved T, LH, dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline levels in infertile men and reduced levels of FSH and PRL. Sperm count and motility were significantly recovered in infertile men after treatment. Treatment with mucuna herb regulates steroidogenesis and improves semen quality in infertile men.
Effect of Mucuna pruriens on semen profile and biochemical parameters in seminal
plasma of infertile men.
Fertil Steril. 2007.
To investigate the impact of mucuna pruriens seeds on semen profiles and biochemical levels in seminal plasma of infertile men. Sixty normal healthy fertile men (controls) and 60 men undergoing infertility screening. Before and after the treatment, seminal plasma lipid profile, lipid peroxide, fructose, and antioxidant vitamin levels were measured. Treatment with mucuna pruriens significantly inhibited lipid peroxidation, elevated spermatogenesis, and improved sperm motility. Treatment also recovered the levels of total lipids, triglycerides, cholesterol, phospholipids, and vitamin A, C, and E and corrected fructose in seminal plasma of infertile men. Treatment with mucuna pruriens increased sperm concentration and motility in all the infertile study groups. The present study is likely to open new vistas on the possible role of mucuna pruriens seed powder as a restorative and invigorating agent for infertile men.
Mucuna pruriens Reduces Stress and Improves the Quality of Semen in
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2007. Department of Biochemistry, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, India.
The present investigation was undertaken to assess the role of Mucuna pruriens in infertile men who were under psychological stress. Study included 60 subjects who were undergoing infertility screening and were found to be suffering from psychological stress and elevated serum cortisol levels. Infertile subjects were administered M. pruriens seed powder 5 gram per day orally. There was decreased sperm count and motility in subjects who were under psychological stress. Moreover, serum cortisol and seminal plasma lipid peroxide levels were also found elevated along with decreased seminal plasma glutathione (GSH) and ascorbic acid contents and reduced superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase activity. Treatment significantly reduced psychological stress and seminal plasma lipid peroxide levels along with improved sperm count and motility. Treatment also restored the levels of SOD, catalase, GSH and ascorbic acid in seminal plasma of infertile men. On the basis of results of the present study, mucuna pruriens seed powder not only reactivates the anti-oxidant defense system of infertile men but also helps in the management of stress and improves semen quality.
Q. I used mucuna herb in combination with Mirapex daily for fibromyalgia with remarkable results. Both raise dopamine levels. The ability to handle stress in any situation is the most noticeable change. While taking mucuna pruriens supplement regularly there was a definite improvement in sleep, waking up refreshed with improved energy throughout the day. My chiropractor was so impressed with my response that both he and his wife started using it. With limited funds, I stopped taking mucuna after 3 months. The emotional stability using the Mirapex alone is still unmistakably the best in my entire life. However, mucuna does provide additional benefit that Mirapex does not, ie perky positive energy, more activities accomplished. Whereas the Mirapex leaves me feeling drugged and sleepy but very calm in the face of stress. Fibromyalgia pain and pain in general is definitely reduced. By reducing Mirapex I have fewer side effects and the herbal medicine seems to be as effective. I am convinced that maintaining a normal level of dopamine is the key in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Hair growth, loss, or color change
I have not seen any studies regarding its influence on hair growth, good or bad, but this study was interesting.
Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2013. Darkening of white hair in Parkinson's disease during use of levodopa rich mucuna pruriens extract powder.
Hypertension, high blood pressure
Pharm Biol. 2015. Angiotensin-converting enzyme ACE inhibitory potential of standardized Mucuna pruriens seed extract. It can be concluded that M. pruriens seed is a potential ACE inhibitor can be explored further as an effective antihypertensive agent.
Interactions with dietary supplements
I recently purchased a bottle of muncuna puriens extract I-dopa, natural dopamine increase. Do you know of any adverse reactions when taken along with herbal tablets of kava or valerian root?
A. Much depends on the person, their age, overall health condition, activity level, kidney and liver function, other medications used, other supplements used, the dosage, what time of day they are taken, and a host of other factors. It is best to learn how each supplement makes you feel by itself before combining them.
Suppliers and how it is sold
Herbal and ingredients suppliers have it available in various extract potencies. There is mucuna pruriens powder, extract standardized to 15 percent L dopa, extract at 20 percent L dopa, 60 percent L dopa and even 99 percent L dopa. It is difficult to know which extract potency is best for various medical conditions since comparisons are not available. High amounts of L-dopa, when used regularly for prolonged periods, can be toxic to nerve cells.
My husband has been using Zandopa or HP200
which is a mucuna pruriens powder about 4% L-Dopa for Parkinson's disease and has had very good results. He would like to
try mucuna tablets with 15 % L dopa because of the ease of taking a tablet over
mixing the powder in water. His dosage is a tablespoon.
Can you tell me the equivalent of the mucuna pruriens 15% tablet would be to
A. I am not familiar with the Zandopa brand name. It is difficult to compare an herbal product from one company to another's since many processes are involved that lead to the end result. For instance where the herb is grown, when it is harvested, how it is processed, the concentration of the extracts, how long it is stored, etc. The best option is to start with a low dosage of the new mucuna product and adjust over time. It may take a little trial and error.
Reviews and forums
Q. I am having trouble finding reviews or experiences from people who have actually used it. Could you please point me to some unbiased review or discussion forums where people are posting comments on their experience?
A. I have no way of knowing whether testimonials of mucuna products on other web sites are accurate and unbiased.
Crossing blood brain barrier
Q. Could you tell me how much l-dopa that mucuna pruriens contains penetrates the blood brain barrier? Does the liver play a role in reducing the amount of l-dopa transported to the brain before it even reaches the blood brain barrier. I am interested in buying mucuna herb but I need an answer to these questions.
A. I do not know how much of l dopa found in mucuna crosses across the blood brain barrier since I have not seen these types of studies, but it crosses easily unlike dopamine. The liver most likely does play a role in the metabolism of this herb, and there is a wide variation in each person regarding this metabolism.
I am a big fan of your website and products. I
recently purchased mucuna pruriens and Mind Power, and plan to take them on
alternate days. Since MP may increase dopamine, do you think
that it might help with the desensitization or "poop-out" effect of ADHD
medications like Ritalin and Adderall by re-supplying the raw materials for
A. It is possible but I have not had feedback on this matter yet nor have I seen such studies. I would be interested in any feedback on this matter.
had started to take another brand of Mucuna Pruriens with 2 capsule giving 800 mg
with 15% L-dopa. I was taking it every day for 4 days, it was like a miracle, all
stress gone, a feeling of well being, calm and inner peace, mental focus, heart
palpitations (just from worrying about problems) gone and really good restful
sleep and no more anxious overeating. However, I had to stop because it was
giving me allergic like reaction, my nose was getting very congested and my
mouth and throat very swollen and dry, hard to swallow, and on the 4th day i was
not able to sleep well because my sinus was swollen and congested. I thought it
was an effect of too much serotonin from the herb, i have read serotonin is a
potent vaso-constrictor and can cause breathing problems, like coffee, because
constricts the arteries and breathings ways.. Then I read that instead Mucuna
has pod's hair, which contain histamines. So it must have been just a simple
allergic reaction, most likely since I was taking such a high
dose of herb (800 mg) and every single day. I am glad I found your site and that
you suggest to take this supplement not every day but few times a week, this I
am sure would decrease the histamine effects. Also I would like to try your
product since the herb concentration is lower than the one I was using (200 mg
versus 800 mg).
A. There are many other substances within this herb and I am not sure I would be ready to blame your symptoms on histamine or serotonin yet. Sometimes taking too high a dose can cause problems and lowering takes care of the issues.
I was planning to buy
mucuna pruriens but i got scared because i read in the internet that it can give
psychosis and hallucinations, is it so?
A. I have not heard of such adverse reactions. Perhaps it is possible if excessive amounts are taken.
Mucuna beans information
Mucuna Pruriens is one of a number of Ayurvedic herbs. The plant name is sometimes misspelled as mucana or mucua pruriens or mucuna puriens. I have also seen misspellings as macuna. Other names are cowhage or cowage, velvet bean, and Nescafe. L-DOPA is a precursor of many alkaloids, catecholamines, and melanin and is released from mucuna into soils, inhibiting the growth of nearby plant species.