Mucuna pruriens Benefits & Information

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
Kapikachhu / Mucuna pruriens is a well known Ayurvedic herb, is well documented for its Aphrodisiac qualities as it is known to increase sperm count and boost testosterone levels, it is also known to help the body build lean muscle and break down fat, so is often used by athletes and body builders in sports medicine, and by those wishing to follow a weight loss plan. It is also good for boosting the mood and has anti-depressant effects.   Mucuna pruriens contains a natural source of L-Dopa, which was made famous by the movie 'Awakenings' with Robin Williams. Mucuna stimulates the brains production of dopamine which improves mood, sexuality, co-ordination and studies have been done to show its positive effects on Parkinson's disease. Dopamine encourages the release of HGH (human growth hormone) from the pituitary gland, and it is HGH that aids the body build muscle and break down fat.   Kapikachhu / Mucuna prurien is a traditional plant medicine from the Americas, also grown in Asia and Africa. It is used in many ways, infusions, poultices, powders and confectionary as well as the beans being cooked and eaten as food. It is known to also have mild psychedelic effects.
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

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

Mucuna pruriens
Mucuna contains high concentrations of levadopa, a direct precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It has long been used in traditional ayurvedic Indian medicine for diseases including Parkinson's disease. In large amounts (e.g. 30g dose) it has been shown to be as effective as as pure levodopa carbidopa in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease, but no data on long-term efficacy and tolerability is available.  In addition to levodopa, Mucuna also 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.