Mucuna pruriens is an Ayurvedic herb used for a variety of health benefits. It is also sometimes called cowhage, cow-itch, buffalo bean and velvet bean. Mucuna typically grows in India, Africa and the West Indies. The seed contains carbohydrates, crude proteins, crude lipids and fibre. If you are considering adding mucuna pruriens to your health regimen, discuss it with your doctor first, especially if you have a pre-existing condition or are on any medications.
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Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is essential for the brain to function properly. L-dopa (Levodopamine) is an amino acid. In the body, it converts to dopamine. Because mucuna pruriens contains L-dopa, it may be beneficial for Parkinson's patients, with the potential for fewer dangerous side effects than traditional Parkinson's medications.
Mucuna pruriens may also help stimulate testosterone levels and contribute to an increased libido for both men and women. It may also decrease instances of premature ejaculation. Additionally, mucuna contains five alkaloids that can increase sperm count within a few weeks of use.
Mucuna pruriens is also an analgesic (it may relieve pain), an antispasmodic (it may reduce spasms) and an anti-inflammatory. It may lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Users may also take it to ease nerve pain, kill parasites and prevent or help eliminate kidney stones.
Patients who are on diabetes medications; anticoagulants like warfarin or heparin; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen; MAO inhibitors; Plavix or any medication for Parkinson's disease should not use mucuna without discussing it with their doctor. Patients with a mental illness should also consult with their doctor before using mucuna. Additionally, mucuna may interact with or add to the effects of the following supplements: ginkgo, saw palmetto, garlic, ayahuasca, ergot, Jimson weed and fava beans.
Taking a high dosage of mucuna may result in insomnia, rapid heartbeat, restlessness and an elevated body temperature. It is unknown whether there are any other potential side effects, including long-term side effects. If you do develop side effects, discontinue use and consult with your doctor. Do not use mucuna if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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