Mucuna Pruriens is a legume native to the tropical regions of Africa and Asia and is cultivated on large scales. The seeds of this plant have found traditional usage in Unani and Ayurvedic medicine for treating different types of dysfunctions. Recent studies have shown that it can be used as a mood enhancer and keep the brain in a relaxing state. Mucuna Pruriens is also known by other names like cowitch and velvet bean. It is a boon to farmers as it serves as an excellent soil fertilizer with very high amount of nitrogen.
What is its regulatory status?
For many centuries, Mucuna Pruriens has been used by ayurvedic medicine practitioners as a therapeutic agent for treating Parkinson’s disease, an aphrodisiac and a remedy to dangerous snake bites. But if taken without much control over its proper dosage, it may cause some serious adverse effects. The health authority of Canada is responsible for the regulation of different dietary supplements within the population. Thus Mucuna Pruriens is banned in Canada because it contains L-Dopa or Levodopa of about 3.1-6.1%. L-Dopa is a chemical named as L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine that is normally biosynthesised in humans, animals and plants from the amino acid L- tyrosine. L-Dopa is the precursor to noradrenalin, adrenaline and the neurotransmitter Dopamine. It behaves as a psychoactive agent that helps in the release of neurotrophic factors in the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). The presence of a schedule F prescription drug like L-Dopa in traces have raised controversies against the use and acceptance of Mucuna Pruriens as a Natural Health Product, under the policies penned down by Health Canada.
What are its positive and negative attributes?
When you are stressed after a tiresome day, you find ways to relax your overheated brain cells either by drinking tea or coffee, or through some form of entertainment. But when you have Mucuna Pruriens extract, there is no more looking for any kind of sedatives or mood relaxing agents. The useful extract of the legume plant helps in maintaining the balance of pituitary hormones, fighting infertility in men and also serves as a remedial for erection issues. It has nootropic property and is thus used as a cognitive enhancer that mainly deals with a person’s memory, mood, motivation and creativity. Eventually, prolonged exposure to this drug improves your concentration, determination power and mind clarity. Overconsumption of any supplement with similar properties can cause reverse effects which can have temporary or permanent impact on an individual’s health. Instead of acting as a counteragent to mental depressions and infertility in men, it starts impeding the relaxation mode of hyperactive neurons leading to increased blood pressure, nausea, sleep deprivation, vomiting and internal haemorrhage.