Mucuna pruriens Benefits

Mucuna pruriens
Latin Name

Mucuna pruriens

Also Known As

Velvet bean, Cowhage, Cowitch, Picapica, Kapikachu, Yerepe, (Yoruba) Atmagupta.


All areas in tropical forest

Parts Used

Seeds, roots

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Also known as “Kapikachhu”, Mucuna Pruriens has been widely consumed as an integral part of daily life by indigenous peoples across the globe. In Central America it is still used to this day as a coffee substitute, whilst in certain parts of Guatemala it is a staple food in tribal diets.

Macuna Pruriens is classified in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a jing enhancing herb. Jing loosely translates as “life force” or “vital essence” and is deeply nourishing at the most fundamental levels to the body. Jing is believed to be depleted as we age, making Mucuna a prized herb for longevity as well as being a powerful aphrodisiac and adaptogenic herb.

Mucuna Pruriens Benefits

Sexual Health

Researchers at the Department of Biochemistry, Chhatrapati Medical University in India found that Kapikachhu supports the normal function of the male reproductive system, in particular supporting normal levels of male fertility. This appears to be related to the ability of this herb to; increase libido (men and women), increase sperm count, enhance blood circulation to the genitals, strengthen and tone the sexual glands and release bound up testosterone – increasing the level of bio-available testosterone.

Its libido enhancing effects are thought to be due to the high levels of L-dopa (an amino acid which converts into dopamine), contained in this herb. Dopamine is an essential component of the body and is especially required for the proper functioning of the brain. L-dopa contains natural secretagogues which are believed to support the body’s ability to stimulate the natural release of HGH (human growth hormone). The blood carries dopamine to the brain where it naturally increases HGH production from the pituitary gland. The increased dopamine levels optimise the production of other hormones – including testosterone – leading to an increased sex drive and improved sexual performance in both men and women.

Brain Health

Mucuna Pruriens is also especially beneficial to brain health, its primary compound “levadopa (L-dopa)” is a precursor to dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Whilst dopamine is most commonly associated with pleasure, it actually plays a critical role in muscle control. L-dopa is synthesized in the brain into dopamine, and is often used as a treatment in Parkinson’s disease. By raising low dopamine levels, this herb can have a positive effect on motivation, attention span, the ability to relax and general mental well-being.


Sometimes referred to as “nature’s chill pill”, Mucuna Pruriens is a master adaptogen. Adoptogenic herbs contain a unique set of phytonutrients that feed the adrenals, balance hormones and significantly reduce stress levels by lowering cortisol. 

Typical Use
Kapikachhu / Mucuna pruriens Herbal powder- 1 teaspoon up to 3 times daily    Kapikachhu / Mucuna pruriens Herbal Tincture Dosage: 2-5ml up 3 times daily    or as directed by an herbal practitioner. 
Folklore and History

Mucuna Pruriens has occupied an important place among aphrodisiac herbs in India since ancient times. Susruta mentions the use of the seeds as promoters of virility, as does Bhavamisra. It is categorized as visya - a substance that improves sexual vitality and functioning. Its use as an anthelmintic (anti-parasitic), has also been mentioned in older books on traditional medicine. Yogaratnakara has a reference to its use in a formulation for tremors. 

Mucuna pruriens
In addition to L-dopa, Mucuna contains 5-HTP, nicotine, N-DMT, bufotenine, 5-MeO-DMT. As such, it could potentially have psychedelic effects, and it has purportedly been used in ayahuasca preparations.  The leaves contain about 0.5% L-dopa, 0.006% dimethyltryptamine (DMT) 0.0025% 5-MeO-DMT and 0.003% DMT n-oxide.        

Due to the L-dopa content Mucuna is not recommended for people on L- Dopa medication.