Mucuna Pruriens: Benefits, Risks, & How To Use
Mucuna Pruriens is an herb with a rich history of uses throughout thousands of years. Today, it is quickly gaining popularity thanks to recent research suggesting it may be helpful for infertility in men, Parkinson’s disease, and improving mood. This article will explain what MP is, how to use it, and any potential risks it may have.
This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD
Side Effects of Mucuna Pruriens
What is Mucuna Pruriens?
Mucuna pruriens is an herb that can help with various issues, including nervous disorders and male infertility. Often used as an aphrodisiac, MP is a creeping vine that’s native to India, African countries, and the Caribbean. MP can grow to over 50 feet in length. It’s called by many names worldwide, including Velvet Bean, Dopamine Bean, Yokohama velvet bean, lacuna bean, Lyon bean, cowage, and cowitch.
In addition to being consumed by humans, MP has been used to fix nitrogen levels and to fertilize the soil. Livestock can consume MP as forage and use as fallow, allowing land to recover and store organic matter. In addition, MP can help land by disrupting the lifecycle of harmful pathogens. MP seeds contain a few antinutrients, including tryptamines, levodopa, phenols, and tannins. It also has various nutrients such as essential fatty acids, starch, and protein.
How To Use Mucuna Pruriens
Mucuna pruriens is sold in health food stores and sold as a supplement. You can take MP in capsule, tincture, or powder form. Dosage amounts depend on several factors, such as a person’s health status or age. How much consumed can also rely on the reason for use: for example, 5,000 milligrams daily is typically recommended for Parkinson’s disease or male fertility problems. Talking with a health professional is advised to determine appropriate dosages.
Mucuna Pruriens Benefits
Studies on MP indicate the herb may have many health benefits. Here are some health issues that MP may be able to help with.
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes stiffness, slowing of movement, and tremors in the hands. For centuries, MP acted as an Ayurvedic treatment of Parkinson’s disease. When compared to the prescription drug levodopa, single-dose MP intake “met all noninferiority efficacy and safety outcome measures in comparison to dispersible levodopa/benserazide.” Clinical effects of high-dose MP were similar to its drug counterpart at the same dose and were more tolerable. Researchers also note Mucuna pruriens might be an option for those who cannot afford long-term therapy with marketed levodopa preparations. 
Infertility in Men
Infertility is the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of having intercourse without using birth control. Approximately 10-15% of men have a complete lack of sperm, while 40% of men suffer from varicocele, the most common cause of infertility (an enlarged vein in the testicle).  Studies on MP find have noted the herbal drug increases sperm count and motility in infertile men. 
Antidepressants are medications that treat some anxiety disorders, major depressive disorders, and chronic pain conditions. MP has some antidepressant qualities due in part to its interaction with the dopaminergic system.  Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in how a person feels pleasure, thinks and focuses.
Stress can be anything that causes strain, albeit physical, mental, or psychological. The most common symptoms of stress are moodiness, frustration, and irritability. A study on individuals struggling with infertility found this went hand-in-hand with psychological stress. Test subjects given 5 grams of MP seed powder saw improvements in stress management, improved semen quality, and reactivated antioxidant defense systems. 
People with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder often struggle with extreme restlessness, inattentiveness, and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity. MP can help increase the ability to focus, which might help with symptoms of ADHD.
Side Effects of Mucuna Pruriens
If taken in excess, MP could cause various side effects. Physical side effects may include pounding heartbeat, headache, nausea, and abdominal pain. Some possible psychological side effects include confusion, agitation, and hallucinations. Individuals with the following health issues should refrain from using MP:
- Liver disease
- Mental illness
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Cardiovascular disease
In addition, the increased dopamine levels one might receive when consuming MP could be dangerous for some individuals. Excessive dopamine may cause aggression, depression, suspicious thinking, and bizarre posturing. Avoid using Mucuna pruriens with drugs that contain high levels of dopamine. Consulting with a physician before taking Mucuna pruriens is advised.
Mucuna pruriens has been used for thousands of years to treat many health issues, including male infertility, Parkinson’s disease, and stress. When used in moderation at recommended dosages, MP could be an effective alternative to doctor-prescribed medications.
Mucuna pruriens is a popular supplement for promoting feelings of calmness and relaxation during times of stress. MP supplements are now available from Revelation Health.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is based upon the opinions of Revelation Health. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Revelation Health and associates. This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD for accuracy of the information provided, but Revelation Health encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
 Roberto Cilia 1, Janeth Laguna 2, Erica Cassani (et al). Mucuna Pruriens In Parkinson Disease: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled, Crossover Study. 2017 Aug 1;89(5):432-438. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004175. Epub 2017 Jul 5. [PMID: 28679598]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28679598/
 How Common Is Male Infertility, And What Are Its Causes? | NICHD - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menshealth/conditioninfo/infertility
 Kamla Kant Shukla 1, Abbas Ali Mahdi, Mohammad Kaleem Ahmad, (et al). Mucuna Pruriens Improves Male Fertility By Its Action On The Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis. 2009 Dec;92(6):1934-40. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.09.045. Epub 2008 Oct 29. [PMID: 18973898]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18973898/
 Digvijay G Rana, Varsha J Galani. Dopamine Mediated Antidepressant Effect Of Mucuna Pruriens Seeds In Various Experimental Models Of Depression. 2014 Jan;35(1):90-7. doi: 10.4103/0974-8520.141949. PMID: 25364207. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25364207/
 Kamla Kant Shukla 1, Abbas Ali Mahdi, Mohammad Kaleem Ahmad, (et al). Mucuna Pruriens Reduces Stress And Improves The Quality Of Semen In Infertile Men. 2010 Mar;7(1):137-44. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nem171. Epub 2007 Dec 18. [PMID: 18955292]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18955292/