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mucuna prureins for depression

Mucuna Prureins for DepressionThe Mucuna Prureins bean, also known as the velvet bean and cowitch, is infamous  for the extreme itchiness that the young plant’s hairs are capable of. This plant looks like a large furry caterpillar when it is younger and the hairs are sometimes harvested to make itching powder to the chagrin of prank victims everywhere.  

Besides keeping pranksters in business, this annual climbing shrub is also valuable as fodder in parts of India, Africa and the Caribbean being fed to animals as silage. Since it is technically a legume it can also help fix nitrogen and fertilize the soil, making it a popular fodder plant. The bean has also been used as a coffee substitute and to treat snake bites by certain tribal communities.

Treating Depression

All these uses aside, perhaps the most useful aspects of the Mucuna Prureins plant is its ability to help treat depression.  The seeds happen to contain high concentrations of levodopa (L-DOPA) which is precursor to dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for turning on certain centers in the brains responsible for mood, sexuality and movement. Because of this ability to activate these pleasure centers, the seed of the plant has been used traditionally as a treatment for both depression and sexual problems. L-DOPA’s ability to improve movement has also made the bean a promising treatment for Parkinsons Disease.

Opiate Withdrawal

The seed also contains trace amounts serotonin and 5-HTP which have been linked to the treatment of depression. Because of its ability to help treat depression, low energy and restless leg syndrome, Mucuna Prureins has become a valuable ingredient for the treatment of withdrawal syndromes from medical opiates. While not necessarily capable of completely replacing the dopamine void left behind by the opiates, it can certainly help ease the various symptoms. Withdrawal Ease is an example of one such herbal remedy that utilizes that useful tropical plant in the treatment of withdrawal symptoms by combining it with other ingredients to help address the problems of opiate withdrawal.


While this plant has been used for years as a treatment for depression (as well as itching powder) there are dangers of ingesting high concentration of levodopa. Side effects are Hypotension, Nausea and, in rare cases, Arrhythmias. It can also lead to anxiety and excessive libido when too much is taken. 
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