Mucuna Pruirens: What It Is, And Why You Should Know About It
Mucuna pruirens is not something you’ve likely encountered - that you know of. However, if you’ve seen something called “cowhage,” “cowitch,” or “velvet bean” at the health food store or farmer’s markets; this is m. pruirens, to use the taxonomic identification.
Mucuna pruirens has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine, the oldest known form of medicine known to man, practiced on the Indian subcontinent for nearly 5,000 years. Ayurvedic practitioners have been using bean-like plant (technically, a legume) for treatment of many disorders, not least of which is Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, where dopamine-producing cells in the brain begin to die off for as yet unknown reasons. Dopamine is a critical neurotransmitter, and as the brain’s supply begins to dwindle, the initial symptoms of shakiness and rigidity in the limbs.
One of the few treatments for the initial onset of Parkinson’s disease is levadopa, or L-DOPA. Mucuna pruirens is a potent natural source of levadopa.
In addition to being an traditional treatment for Parkinson’s disease, mucuna pruirens has also been used to treat anxiety, arthritis, and parasitic infections. It has also been used historically as an aphrodisiac and to encourage clear dreaming.
If suffering from any of these conditions, ask your doctor or other medical practitioner about the possible benefits of mucuna pruirens.