Have you seen those curvy beans hanging from the branches of the plant? The smooth, velvety appearance and hairy coat of those beans will instantly catch your attention. Yes, those are the Velvet beans, also called Mucuna Pruriens. Mucuna Pruriens is a type of legume that grows in tropical regions of Africa, India, and the Caribbean. The plant has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat various ailments. Mucuna Pruriens is popularly known as Kaunch Beej or Kevanch Beej. The seeds of this plant contain a high concentration of L-DOPA, a precursor to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial part in the regulation of mood, movement, and motivation.  In recent years, the health benefits of Mucuna Pruriens (Kaunch beej) have gained significant attention from researchers, and several studies have shown its potential in treating various health conditions. In this article, we will discuss the top ten amazing Mucuna Pruriens benefits for health and the scientific evidence behind them.
Nutritional Properties of Mucuna Pruriens (Kaunch Beej)
|Nutrient/Compound||Amount per 100g|
|Dietary Fiber||18.3 g|
|Vitamins and Minerals|
|– Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||1.4 mg|
|– Folate (Vitamin B9)||62 mcg|
|– Iron||5.2 mg|
|– Phosphorus||159 mg|
|– Potassium||1484 mg|
Ayurvedic properties of Mucuna Pruriens
Mucuna Pruriens (Kaunch beej) has the following Ayurvedic properties
- Tikta rasa (Bitter)
- Madhur (Sweet)
- Guru guna (Heavy while digesting)
- Snigdha guna (Oily)
- Madhur Vipaka (Sweet after digestion)
- Ushna Veerya (Hot potency)
- Vrushya Prabhava (Aphrodisiac effect)
- Vatahara (Pacifies Vata)
- Brihana (Nourishes the body)
- Balya (Increases strength)
Other Names for Mucuna Pruriens
Mucuna Pruriens is known by several other names like Cowitch, Horse-eye bean, Cowage, Cowhage, Velvet beans, Lacuna beans, Lyon beans, Agbara, Karara, and Werepe.
Indian names for Mucuna Pruriens include kapikacchu (Sanskrit Name), Kavach beej, Kauncha beej, Gonca beej, Kaunch beej, Koncha beej, Atmagupta, and Konch.
10 Mucuna Pruriens (Kaunch beej) Benefits
1. Improves Mood and Reduces Stress
Primary Benefit: As mentioned earlier, the plant contains a high concentration of L-DOPA, a precursor to dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and motivation. , 
Secondary Benefit: Several studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens (Kaunch beej) can increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, which can improve and stabilize one’s mood and reduce stress levels. , 
2. Improves Cognitive Function
Primary Benefit: Another significant health benefit of Mucuna Pruriens (Kaunch beej) is its ability to improve cognitive function. Dopamine plays a crucial role in regulating cognitive function, including attention, memory, and learning. Several studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens can enhance the cognitive functions in both healthy individuals and those with cognitive impairments. 
Secondary Benefit: Along with improving cognitive function Mucuna Pruriens supplements can also boost your memory. 
3. Enhances Sexual Function
Primary Benefits: Mucuna Pruriens benefits also talk about its use as an aphrodisiac in Ayurvedic medicine. Several studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens can enhance sexual function in both men and women. The plant contains a high concentration of L-DOPA, which can increase the levels of dopamine in the brain, leading to improved sexual function. 
Secondary Benefits: Mucuna Pruriens can improve sexual function and satisfaction in men with infertility. 
4. Reduces Inflammation
Primary Benefit: Inflammation is a natural response of the body to injury or infection. However, severe inflammation can lead to several health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Several studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens can reduce inflammation in the body. 
Secondary Benefit: Studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory effect can help combat oxidative stress and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. 
5. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Primary Benefit: High blood sugar levels can lead to multiple health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Several studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens can lower blood sugar levels in the body. , 
Secondary Benefit: Mucuna Pruriens also helps bring down the sugar levels in blood of those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. , 
6. Helps manage Neurological Disorders
Primary Benefit: Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. The disease is characterised by the loss and damage of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain, leading to symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, and bradykinesia. Several studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens can help with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. 
Secondary Benefit: A study has found that Mucuna Pruriens improved motor function and quality of life in patients with Parkinson’s disease.  Therefore, one of the Mucuna Pruriens uses includes its application in the alternative treatment of Parkinson.
7. Boosts Immune System
Primary Benefit: The immune system is the body’s defence against infections and diseases. Several studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens can improve immune system functions by increasing the production of WBC or White Blood Cells, which are responsible for fighting infections. 
Secondary Benefit: The herb also inhibits the cell mediated immune response and helps in fighting inflammatory disorders. 
8. Improves Sleep Quality
Primary Benefit: Sleep is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. Dearth of sleep can lead to several health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Several studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens can improve sleep quality and duration. 
Secondary Benefit: By increasing the levels of Dopamine, it can calm your mind, reduce your stress levels, and help you sleep better.
9. Protects Against Neurodegenerative Diseases
Primary Benefit: Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are characterised by the progressive loss of some vital nerve cells or neurons in the brain, leading to cognitive decline and motor impairments. Several studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens can protect against neurodegenerative diseases by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. ,  This is one of the most notable Mucuna Pruriens benefits.
Secondary Benefit: The herb also protects against mitochondrial dysfunction associated with these neurodegenerative diseases.
10. Nourishes the female reproductive system
Primary Benefit: Mucuna Pruriens benefits for female include the nutritional support it gives to the female reproductive hormones and to the ovarian functions. 
Secondary Benefit: This amazing herb can reduce the oxidative stress on the ovaries and normalize the oestrous cycle.
What should be the ideal dosage for consuming Mucuna Pruriens
The seed powder preparation of Mucuna Pruriens contains a substantial amount of L-DOPA, and administering at a 30-gram dosage can have the desired Mucuna Pruriens benefits and effects especially in Parkinson’s disease patients who experience fluctuations in their response to L-DOPA of short duration. 
How can Mucuna Pruriens be consumed
The consumption of Mucuna Pruriens can vary depending on the form of the supplement or product you have. To make the leaves and seeds of Mucuna Pruriens safe for consumption, a leaching process is necessary to remove L-DOPA. The seeds should be cracked open and soaked before they are ingested. It is crucial to note that if unprocessed Mucuna Pruriens is consumed in significant quantities as a dietary component, it can be toxic to humans. 
Capsules or Tablets: Many Mucuna Pruriens supplements come in capsule or tablet form. This usually involves swallowing the recommended number of capsules or tablets with water. 
Powder: Mucuna Pruriens can also be available in powder form. You can mix the recommended dosage with water. 
Whole Beans: In some cultures, Mucuna Pruriens uses include the use of the beans or pods in cooking as a vegetable after proper processing to remove the irritant hairs. 
The fine hairs from the pods: Mucuna Pruriens benefits include their medicinal applications, serving as an anthelmintic to expel intestinal parasites. When these hairs are combined with honey, they function as a vermifuge, effectively helping to eliminate worms. Furthermore, a specialized ointment formulated with these hairs acts as a local stimulant and a gentle vesicant when applied to the skin. 
Did you know?
You can use these beans to cook some delicious Indian recipes. Dishes like Kaunch Beej chapatis or rotis, Kaunch Beej curries seasoned with Indian spices and veggies are definitely worth a try!
Mucuna Pruriens Side-effects
While Mucuna Pruriens benefits are immense, one of its primary active compounds of Mucuna Pruriens is L-DOPA (levodopa), which can have both therapeutic benefits and potential side effects, such as:
- Nausea: Some individuals may experience nausea or an upset stomach when taking Mucuna Pruriens supplements. 
- Vomiting: In some cases, the nausea can lead to vomiting. 
- Abdominal pain: Mucuna Pruriens may cause digestive discomfort, including diarrhea or constipation. 
- Hallucinations: In some cases, high doses of Mucuna Pruriens, or the use of concentrated extracts, have been associated with hallucinations, altered mental status, and confusion. 
- Increased Heart Rate: Some individuals may experience cardiovascular side effects and an increase in heart rate, arrhythmias, and hypotension. 
- Skin Irritation: The plant itself is cloaked in fine hairs that can cause skin irritation or itching upon contact. Handling the plant without proper protection can lead to skin rashes. 
Precautions while consuming Mucuna Pruriens
- You should handle the plant with utmost care, as the fine hairs from the Mucuna Pruriens bean pod can pose a safety concern. They may lead to pronounced itching, a burning sensation, and noticeable swelling. 
- Since Mucuna Pruriens contains levodopa (L-dopa), individuals with heart disease should either avoid it altogether or employ it with care. L-dopa has the potential to induce low blood pressure, resulting in dizziness and fainting. It can also lead to palpitations or irregular heart rhythms. 
- Consult a healthcare professional before using this, especially if you are already on other medication. Mucuna Pruriens contains L-DOPA, which is commonly used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. When used concurrently with other medications, there may be interactions or an increased risk of side effects. 
- Breastfeeding moms and pregnant women should consult the doctor before taking the herb, as there is very little information available regarding the herb’s safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Information on interaction with other medications
- High blood pressure medication, as such medications if used with this herb may lower your blood pressure to dangerously low levels.
- Diabetes medications as such medications if used with this herb may lower your blood sugar to alarmingly low levels.
- Medications like Methyldopa and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
Therefore, before taking Mucuna Pruriens, discuss with your doctor. That will help you avoid unwanted and dangerous drug interactions.
FAQs about Mucuna Pruriens
1. Where can I buy Mucuna Pruriens?
Mucuna Pruriens is available for purchase online or at health food stores. It is important to purchase from a reputable source to ensure the product’s quality and purity.
2. Can Mucuna Pruriens be used as a replacement for conventional medication?
Mucuna Pruriens should not be used as a replacement for conventional medication without consulting a healthcare expert. While it may have potential health benefits, it is important to follow the advice of a healthcare professional to ensure proper treatment of any medical condition.
3. Is Mucuna Pruriens safe for everyday consumption?
While Mucuna Pruriens is generally safe if consumed in proper daily dosage, you may still need to consult a doctor before taking it daily.
Mucuna Pruriens is a potent natural supplement that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its numerous health benefits. However, it is crucial to discuss with a healthcare practitioner before taking any new supplement to ensure that it is safe for you and will not interact with any medicine you are currently taking. With its vast range of health benefits and natural origins, Mucuna Pruriens is definitely worth considering as an Ayurvedic supplement to support overall health and well-being.
This article is from a health and wellness perspective only and does not constitute medical advice. Kindly seek the help of a trained medical practitioner before initiating any treatment.
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