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Mucuna pruriens/Velvet bean
Mucuna Pruriens is a tropical vine that grows bean pods covered in prickly velvet hair (hence the name “velvet bean”). The seeds inside of these pods are the most valuable part of the plant from a medicinal point of view. Mucuna has been used for centuries in many traditional cultures as a healing plant for a variety of different ailments.
Mucuna can assist with various ailments such as support for the Central Nervous System (CNS), a natural anti-depressant, supports the body’s ability to handle stress, supports physical balance & posture, promotes healthy motor skills, improves energy & endurance, enhances libido, revitalizes both the male & female reproductive systems.
Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume native to Africa and tropical Asia and widely naturalized and cultivated. Its English common names include monkey tamarind, velvet bean, Bengal velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, Mauritius velvet bean, Yokohama velvet bean, cowage, cowitch, lacuna bean, and Lyon bean
Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae) is used for the management of male infertility, nervous disorders, and also as an aphrodisiac. It has been shown that its seeds are potentially of substantial medicinal importance. The ancient Indian medical system, Ayurveda, traditionally used M. pruriens, even to treat such things as Parkinson's disease. M. pruriens has been shown to have anti-parkinson and neuroprotective effects, which may be related to its anti-oxidant activity. In addition, anti-oxidant activity of M. pruriens has been also demonstrated in vitro by its ability to scavenge DPPH radicals and reactive oxygen species.
Mucuna pruriens seeds contain about 5% L-dihydroxyphenylalanine, L-Dopa, a compound which is widely used in the management of nervous disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Other compounds in the seeds include bufotenine and serotonin which reduce cholinesterase activity thereby helping to attenuate brain functions. The endocarp of the beans contain the maximum L-Dopa concentration. Four varieties of seed have been observed.