When you hear of something called “Mucuna pruriens”, you quickly think of some spider or other weird insect!
Fortunately, it is a well known herbal medicine used for the purpose of handling impotency in men and disorders related to the nervous system.
It is also used as a stimulant. Various researches have shown that seeds of Mucuna pruriens have a considerable amount of medicinal significance.
Ayurveda, the earliest medical system of India has conventionally used the medicine to cure various ailments such as Parkinson’s disease. Mucuna pruriens also possess anti-oxidant properties, which makes it easier for it to cure Parkinson’s disease and safeguard harmful impact on the nervous system.
Mucuna is a part of the Fabaceae family, subfamily Papilionaceae, and comprises around 150 varieties of yearly and seasonal legumes.
Amidst the different under-used wild legumes, you can find these velvet beans in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of the globe.
Health and nutrition experts regard it as a well-grounded source of dietary protein. The high content of protein and tremendous digestive properties make these ‘super beans’ differ from other pulses like Soya Bean, rice bean and so on.
Thus, Mucuna pruriens is one of the great sources of nutrition.
Mucuna pruriens, commonly known as the “velvet beans” is a legume. The tropical region is favorable for Mucuna pruriens. Mucuna pruriens originates from Southern China and Eastern Parts of India. It is one of the most approved and accepted crops existing in the tropics.
Consumers across the globe recommend that Mucuna pruriens serves the dual purpose of food and feed. In several nations, people use this legume as a source of food by some ethnic groups.
This crop is harvested and grown in America, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. To serve the needs of the humans, the pods of the crop is used as a vegetable and the young leaves are utilized as animal fodder.
Mucuna pruriens has branches that are lengthy and lean. It has tripinnate, ovate, reverse ovate, rhombus-shaped or widely ovate leaves. The flowers are white and along with a corolla that takes the shape of a butterfly and has a bluish-purple color.
The legumes are hairy, broad and there is a leathery feel to it. The approximate average length of the legumes is 4 inches and the appearance of it resembles that of violin sound hole and have around four to six seeds.
The plant has a rich brown shade and is enveloped heavily with stiff hairs.
In India, people belonging to the tribe of Kannikars, which is a South Indian Hill Tribe, conventionally consume this velvet legume.
They used to frequently boil the plant, thus stripping away the anti-nutritional properties. Mucuna has shown resilience to the varied form of abiotic stress which comprises drought, less fertility of the soil and an increased amount of acidity present in the soil.
However, the plant is reactive to conditions of frost, and the cold and wet soils hinder the growth of Mucuna pruriens. The ideal condition for this plant is warm and moist climate.
It grows 1500 meters above the sea level and the surroundings of the plant must receive heavy rainfall. The velvet bean can secure the nitrogen in the atmosphere with the aid of a symbiotic relationship with the microorganisms of the soil.
Studies have revealed that Mucuna pruriens have high level of toxic compounds such as L-dopa and hallucinogenic tryptamines. It also contains several anti-nutritional factors like phenols and tannins.
Because of the presence of the high content of the L-dopa, these beans have commercial usage, such as curing Parkinson’s disease.
The presence of the toxic elements in the non-refined velvet beans explain the reason behind the low vulnerability to insect pests. These velvet beans are also known for containing allopathic actions which may work to compress competing plants.
Despite its flaw, the plant comprises around 27% protein content and has a high mineral content. In the regions of Guatemala and Mexico,people use the seeds of Mucuna pruriens to make coffee and is famously called Nescafe in these regions.
Mucuna pruriens has several uses and benefits:
1. Works As A Conventional Medicine
This plant has been extensively utilized in the Ayurvedas and has been utilized since the times of the Vedas. The beans have been applied in the Ayurveda as a strong aphrodisiac and have cured ailments of the nervous systems, arthirits, etc.
This plant is beneficial in treating problems like diabetes, epilepsy, and problems related to microbial activity. The plant has also showed to safeguard the nervous systems and has revealed to have properties that treat inflammatory activities.
2. Eases Anxiety & Depression
The dopamine present in the plant is necessary for improved mental activity. Thus, velvet beans have been effective in improving the mood. The release of hormones is monitored by dopamine and helps reduce the stress on the nervous system.
A study undertaken in 2014 revealed that it has a significant impact in reducing anxiety. Just like Berberine extract, this plant has also hinted towards treating stress and depression.
However, precaution must be taken in case the cause of depression is a lack of the hormone serotonin. Prescribing Mucuna will worsen their situation as the presence of dopamine is high and can hinder the production of serotonin.
3. Impacts On Nervous Systems & Blood Sugar
Since ancient times, Mucuna Pruriens has been utilized to calm the nervous system disorders and also acts as an aphrodisiac for male fertility. The seeds of Mucuna pruriens also have a remarkable impact on diabetic patients helpng them control their blood sugar (also check out this mushroom that helps with managing your blood sugar).
4. Helps ADHD Patients, Increases Concentration & Helps Learning
People showing symptoms of ADHD can derive a lot of benefit from the consumption of Mucuna pruriens seeds.
The seeds will aid in keeping the person concentrated by creating a barrier to reuptake dopamine, and hence there is more content present in the nervous system. Research has also shown that L-dopa aids in increasing the learning speed and improving the reaction time.
5. For Skin Treatments
Our skin faces a lot of damage due to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, and any excessive presence of ozone in the atmosphere contributes to the increasing toxicity of the skin. Many skin related problems or diseases such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema are closely linked to rise in “oxidative stress”.
Thus, extracts of the plants have been effective in curing these diseases and have grabbed the eye of the doctors as the plant has exhibited several attributes of pharmacology.
There is no question about the fact that Mucuna pruriens is an extraordinary plant. On one side, the plant is a fine source of food as it’s high in crude proteins, important fatty acids, starch content and required amino acids.
The entire plant has a lot of medical value.
Now, after reading all the benefits, are you wondering how can you add this nutrition rich plant in your diet? Well, that’s easy, you can start by ordering our Mucuna Pruruiens Extract Powder. Start by adding 2gm of the dry powder in your juices, smoothies or add to your own recipes.