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Mucuna pruriens ("velvet bean", supplement)

Uses|Precautions & warnings|Side effects|Interactions|Dosage

Mucuna pruriens or “velvet bean” is a plant in the Fabaceae family. It is an herb used for centuries in Ayurveda, or traditional Indian medicine.

Uses

What is Mucuna pruriens used for?

Traditionally, it treats male infertility, nervous disorders, and improves libido (aphrodisiac). Currently, it shows promise as a potential drug against Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

How does it work?

There are not enough studies about how this herbal supplement works. Please discuss with your herbalist or doctor for more information. However, it is known that Mucuna pruriens contains levodopa (L-dopa), which is used to treat Parkinson’s disease.

L-dopa is changed to the chemical dopamine in the brain. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease occur in patients due to low levels of dopamine in the brain. Unfortunately, most L-dopa is broken down in the body before it ever reaches the brain unless special chemicals are used with levodopa. These chemicals are not present in Mucuna pruriens.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Mucuna pruriens?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you are/have:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Taking any other medicines. This includes any prescription, OTC, and herbal remedies.
  • An allergy to any of the ingredients of this product.
  • Any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information about the safety of using this drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, it is likely safe to take. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking any medication.

Side effects

What kind of side effects may I have from Mucuna pruriens?

Like all drugs, this product may have side effects. If they occur, side effects are generally mild and resolve once treatment is finished or the dose is lowered. Some reported side effects include:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Nausea
  • Bloating or gassiness
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle spasms
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Symptoms of psychosis including confusion, agitation, hallucinations, and delusions

However, not everyone experiences these side effects. In addition, some people may experience other side effects. So, if you have any concerns about a side effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Mucuna pruriens?

This medication may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects.

To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist.

Drugs with known interactions to levodopa:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Antipsychotic agents
  • Reserpine
  • Papaverine
  • Phenytoin
  • Isoniazid
  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
  • Anticholinergics
  • Antihypertensive agents
  • Methyldopa
  • Metoclopramide
  • MAOIs
  • Cyclopropane
  • Halogenated anesthetics

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Approaches include dose adjustment, drug substitution, or ending therapy.

Does food or alcohol interact with Mucuna pruriens?

This drug may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Food may slow down absorption. Avoid eating beans, liver, milk, yeast, and wheat germ. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Mucuna pruriens?

This drug may interact with underlying conditions. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. Therefore, it is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medication.

What is the dose for an adult?

There is no standardized dosing for this supplement. Follow the directions and dosing indicated on the packaging of the supplement or talk to your doctor about the appropriate dose.

What is the dose for a child?

There is no established pediatric dose. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is Mucuna pruriens available?

Mucuna pruriens may be available in the following dosage forms:

  • Capsules
  • Tablets
  • Extract (powder)

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

The Magic Velvet Bean of Mucuna pruriens https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3942911/ Accessed July 15, 2021

Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean) https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/35134 Accessed July 15, 2021

Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson disease https://n.neurology.org/content/89/5/432 Accessed July 15, 2021

Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson’s disease: a double blind clinical and pharmacological study  https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/75/12/1672 Accessed July 15, 2021

MUCUNA PRURIENS – A NATURAL REMEDY FOR PARKINSON’S DISEASE? https://www.apdaparkinson.org/article/mucuna-pruriens-for-parkinsons-disease/ Accessed July 15, 2021

Carbidopa and Levodopa. Lexi-Drugs. Lexicomp. Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Riverwoods, IL. Accessed July 15, 2021. http://online.lexi.com

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Written by Stephanie Nicole Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Jul 16
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