Mucuna pruriens – A Powerful Source of Neurotransmitters With Wide Ranging Benefits*
Mucuna pruriens is a natural source of L-DOPA, or levodopa, an amino acid that converts into dopamine. Dopamine is an essential part of the brain properly working and can easily be depleted by stress, drug abuse and stimulants.
And that’s not all. It contains small amounts of serotonin and 5-HTP making it an interesting herb to act as a nootropic. *
Studies have shown that it may be even more helpful than L-dopa drugs in working with those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. *
It’s known by several other names including velvet bean, cowage, cowitch, kapikacchu and more. It is a bean that grows in India, Africa, China and other areas.
Mucuna’s Hormone Balancing Effects*
Further, dopamine may assist in proper hormone levels. In infertile men, mucuna was shown to increase testosterone, lutenizing hormone, dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline while decreasing levels of prolactin and follicle stimulation hormone. *
L-dopa has been shown to increase growth hormone for one to two hours after taking it.* Better yet, the L-dopa in mucuna stays active longer in the blood than synthetic versions, likely due to its many other constituents.*
In Chinese medicine, it is considered a Jing herb, supporting the adrenals and kidney health, with its stress reducing properties.*
According to Ayurveda, it is balancing to all three doshas. *
Mucuna Pruriens Benefits
According to the Ayurvedic system, Mucuna has a wide range of benefits, several of few of which have been studied. These include:
- Powerful Antioxidant *
- Neuro-Protective *
- Aphrodisiac *
- Anti-Snake Venom properties *
- Increase Sperm Count and Motility *
- Reduces Stress *
- Anti-Bacterial *
- Blood Sugar Regulating *
- Helpful for the Skin *
- May help Darken Hair *
- And much more
Famous superfoodist, David Wolfe states, “I categorize mucuna as an anti stimulant that should be taken with stimulant-containing foods or beverages (i.e. coffee, yerba mate, cacao, etc.) The cacao-mucuna stimulant-to-antistimulant relationship is one of the oldest known, dating back thousands of years. Historically, cacao shamans always had in their possession cacao and mucuna during their travels.” 
This is not a standardized extract but instead an organic full spectrum extract, allowing the natural ratio of all the constituents. Still we tested it for what is considered the “active” part coming close to 16%.
Our starting product is purely the seeds, which is the most commonly recommended part. It is extracted with CO2, water and alcohol.
Our mucuna comes from the same supplier that produces our shilajit, bacopa and gotu kola. If you have had any of those, then you know this stuff will be great as well!
It is Certified Organic.
Extraction is done by Supercritical CO2 and Hydroethanol (duel extract). Supercritical CO2 is an important commercial and industrial solvent due to its low toxicity and environmental impact. The relatively low temperature of the process and the stability of CO2 also allows most compounds to be extracted with little damage or denaturing.
This is also a Full-Spectrum Extract meaning it is not standardized to anything in particular and has the natural quantities of the many different active components found in the plant. It also means it contains Polar, Non Polar and Mid Polar active compounds for the best bioavailability and bio-adaptability.
Mucuna Dosage and Contraindications
Mucuna dosage is recommended as one gram per day. This is approximately 1/4 of a teaspoon.
As a rich source of neurotransmitters mucuna is not generally recommended for children. It’s also best to avoid when pregnant or lactating as it has been not studied in those populations.
As it may have blood pressure lowering effects, its not recommended to take in combination with blood thinners.
The L-dopa in Mucuna alters brain chemistry. Thus, it is best not taking in combination with anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or other mind altering substances. At higher doses, more than 1 gram, some people experience headaches and sleeplessness.
Cycling Mucuna Pruriens
Since it effects neurotransmitters it is probably best to cycle mucuna. This will prevent your body from adapting to it, and then slowing its own production. It’s also likely this will keep the mucuna being physiologically effective.
One option is to take it for five days, then not take it for two days, and repeat.
Another option is to take it for 3-4 weeks and then take a week off.
Not everyone does this though. In most of the studies done, mucuna was taken daily even for three or for months. We like to err on the side of caution and thus recommend some form of cycling.