Home - Mucuna pruriens research

Why mucuna pruriens has less side effects than synthetic levodopa

The plant mucuna pruriens (velvet beans) stimulates libido and fertility much more than can be achieved with synthetic levodopa. Even in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, mucuna pruriens has benefits that are absent in a levodopa regimen. Thus, it is clear that the immense positive effects of velvet beans do no stem from the L-dopa alone.

This was acknowledged in the scientific study quoted below, were the authors stated:

"The distinctive neurophysiological findings in the basal ganglia and the ability to ameliorate parkinsonism without causing dyskinesias strongly suggest that Mucuna pruriens acts through a novel mechanism that is different from that of LD."

LD = levodopa

Here the abstract of the study (original URL below):

Abstract

Christopher A. Lieu et al.

Chronic treatment with levodopa (LD) in Parkinson's disease (PD) can cause drug induced dyskinesias. Mucuna pruriens endocarp powder (MPEP) contains several compounds including natural LD and has been reported to not cause drug-induced dyskinesias. We evaluated the effects of Mucuna pruriens to determine if its underlying mechanistic actions are exclusively due to LD. We first compared MPEP with and without carbidopa (CD), and LD+CD in hemiparkinsonian (HP) monkeys. Each treatment ameliorated parkinsonism. We then compared the neuronal firing properties of the substantia nigra reticulata (SNR) and subthalamic nucleus (STN) in HP monkeys with MPEP+CD and LD+CD to evaluate basal ganglia circuitry alterations. Both treatments decreased SNR firing rate compared to HP state. However, LD+CD treatments significantly increased SNR bursting firing patterns that were not seen with MPEP+CD treatments. No significant changes were seen in STN firing properties. We then evaluated the effects of a water extract of MPEP. Oral MPWE ameliorated parkinsonism without causing drug-induced dyskinesias. The distinctive neurophysiological findings in the basal ganglia and the ability to ameliorate parkinsonism without causing dyskinesias strongly suggest that Mucuna pruriens acts through a novel mechanism that is different from that of LD.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445014/