Health Benefits of Velvet Bean

Mucuna pruriens, colloquially known as the velvet bean, is a legume that, although originating in the tropical regions of Africa and Asia, is known worldwide for its medicinal properties. It was heavily incorporated in Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient southeast asian medical system that dates back almost 3,000 years and is still practiced today in India and Nepal.

Nutritionally, like other conventional legumes, the velvet bean is a good source of fatty acids (such as linoleic acid) and essential amino acids, rendering it an effective dietary source.

Mucuna pruriens has many other names as well, ones that you recognize but did not know were synonymous. Some examples are the itchy bean, bengal velvet bean, and lyon bean.

Because of its historical significance as a green vegetable crop, reputation in ancient herbal medicine, and the fact that it possesses immense nutritional quality, the mucuna pruriens bean has been investigated for its pharmacological make-up, effects in the body, and any potential toxicity it may confer.

While this research has definitely opened Mucuna pruriens to western populations, it is still an under utilized tropical legume.

What Are the Health Benefits of Velvet Beans?

Mucuna pruriens has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant and neuroprotective effects. It has also historically been used as a natural aphrodisiac and a promoter of male fertility, enhancing sperm count and overall semen quality.

It also optimizes the hormonal network responsible for reproductive function, upregulating testosterone hormone levels in the male reproductive system and reducing FSH and prolactin levels in women. Because of this, velvet beans are a potent maintenance agent for sexual health.

Apart from promoting healthy sperm, they can also be used to manage aspects of some sexual disorders, including premature ejaculation.

1. Boosts Dopamine Levels

One of the main components of the Mucuna pruriens bean is an amino acid called levodopa (also referred to as L-dopa). It is the precursor of Dopamine, a chemical messenger used by nerve cells in the central nervous system that enables various cognitive functions.

This is why the velvet bean is known to boost dopamine levels- the L-dopa that it contains can permeate the blood brain barrier and undergo conversion by an enzyme (catalyst) known as DOPA decarboxylase into dopamine, thereby replenishing this supply.

The velvet bean’s ability to boost dopamine levels ties into not only its efficacy in certain diseases but also its promotion of sexual function, as an adequate supply of this neurotransmitter is required for libido.

2. Improves Sleep

While mucuna pruriens has not been directly proven to improve sleep, a study conducted in 2012 concluded that, when it was given as a dietary supplement in combination with Chlorophytum borivilianum, eighteen subjects reported significant improvements in sleep quality.

The sleep-wake cycle is largely governed by a small gland in the brain known as the pineal gland. It functions by secreting varying amounts of a hormone known as melatonin based on the amount of light reaching the retina.

The pineal gland has been shown to have receptors for dopamine, which means this neurotransmitter may be more involved in our sleep processes than we initially thought. This may explain the improvements in sleep exhibited by mucuna pruriens consumption and why it can be beneficial in different sleep disorders.

3. Effective Against Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder characterized by an insidious onset of resting tremors, muscle rigidity and postural instability. It is a relatively common form of dementia, causing gradual declines in multiple domains of cognitive function.

According to the Parkinson’s foundation, around 90,000 diagnoses are given yearly in the United States, with 1.2 million Americans expected to live with the condition by 2030.

The pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease is rooted in the dopaminergic chemical pathways in the brain. The disorder occurs due to a loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells in a region of the brain known as the substantia nigra.

This area is part of a larger network known as the basal ganglia, a circuit that facilitates the planning and execution of bodily movements. The decrease in dopamine levels creates an imbalance amongst the different chemical messengers, causing improper muscle movements.

The clear association between attenuated dopamine production and the development of Parkinson’s disease has made this a prime treatment target.

First-line management of Parkinson’s disease is carbidopa-levodopa, an L-dopa combination drug that allows it to penetrate the blood brain barrier, boosting dopamine levels in the brain. Because of this, the L-dopa in velvet beans can benefit patients with Parkinson’s disease.

L-dopa is not the only reason why one of the main health benefits of velvet bean is for the preservation of the brain. It also has significant anti-oxidant properties, probably as a result of the phenolic compounds it contains. Free radicals are unstable molecules constantly present in the body as a result of our normal metabolism. They can roam the brain and attack our nervous tissue, damaging cellular membranes and structures.

That’s why anti-oxidants are highly sought after as dietary components. They essentially scavenge and neutralize free radicals, providing protection for the brain and nervous sytem. Velvet bean extracts can help combat Parkinson’s disease and other nervous disorders.

4. Effective Against Snake Bites

Another example of the mucuna pruriens benefits includes its ability to protect against certain forms of venom. In fact, certain parts of Nigeria have used velvet beans as a way to treat snake bites, prescribing the seed pods prophylactically for protection. This could be because the plant produces certain glycoproteins that resemble snake venom proteins.

Administering mucuna pruriens extracts can trigger an immune response in the body and stimulate the production of antibodies against these proteins.

This benefit is important especially in areas where contemporary medicine may not be as prevalent- populations can use velvet bean extracts to combat snake venom poisoning.

5. Improves Digestive Function

Like other legumes, velvet beans are rich in fiber and non-digestible carbohydrates. In a healthy adult diet, this is essential for promoting bulky stool formation and providing our gut microbiome with the nutrients it requires.

While they may initially cause cramping and bloating, velvet beans allow these bacteria to thrive and support the normal functioning of our bowels.

This includes breaking down toxic substances, facilitating the synthesis of important vitamins (B and K), and fermenting fibers to produce short chain fatty acids that combat and prevent chronic diseases.

Dietary fiber in itself has been linked to a decreased risk of certain cancers, especially colorectal cancer.

6. Helps Treat Disorders Like ADHD

Neurotransmitters are essentially chemical messengers that allow nerve cells in the brain to talk to eachother. As such, they are important for maintaining cognition in a healthy adult and facilitate focus, alertness and wakefulness.

People suffering from ADHD have some sort of imbalance or deficit in this system, which is why they are usually treated with stimulants in an effort to replenish the levels of these neurotransmitters for important regions of the brain to function.

As a rich source of L-dopa, mucuna beans can exert a similar effect on people with ADHD without many of the side effects that accompany stimulant use, such as excessive weight loss and elevated blood pressure.

7. Enhances Mood

It’s important to understand that dopamine plays a vital role in the body’s reward and motivation system. While depression (and its management) is mostly defined by deficiencies of serotonin and norepinephrine, low dopamine levels in the brain’s circuitry can take away the ability to feel pleasure (a state of mind known as anhedonia).

Mucuna extract alleviates this by upregulating the dopamine supply within these neural networks and can improve many symptoms of depression.

8. Effective Against Parasites and Microbes

Traditional medicine has also used Mucuna pruriens seeds to fight parasitic and bacterial infections. These antimicrobial properties can be a result of the anti nutrients present within the velvet bean, including phenols, tannins and methanol extracts.

While they may not completely replace modern antimicrobial agents, the capabilities of the velvet beans in terms of fighting off infections has a great amount of therapeutic potential.

9. Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels

Both types of diabetes mellitus are characterized by an imbalance in the insulin-glucose regulation system. Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas and is responsible for sequestering glucose within cells after meals to process these molecules for energy production and storage. When insulin is either depleted or can no longer activate cells to take up sugar, it can accumulate in the blood.

The bioactive compounds in mucuna beans have anti-diabetic effects by mimicking insulin and forming an additional pathway to take up glucose. More specifically, it is the d-chiro-inositol within these beans that is responsible for this.

10. Helps Lower Blood Pressure

In addition to this, the linoleic acid content of velvet bean seeds can promote prostaglandin production, which are chemical signalling compounds that can cause blood vessel dilation and an overall reduction in blood pressure.

This cardiovascular benefit can probably be attributable to many other factors as well, namely the velvet bean’s impact on sleep, mood and stress.

11. Reduces Stress

One of the overarching health benefits of the velvet bean is that, because of its potential impact on sleep, mood and sexual function, it is capable of reducing psychological stress. Maintaining low levels of stress and cortisol are important in maintaining longevity and a healthy state of mind.

What Kinds of Velvet Bean Supplements Are There?

Mucuna pruriens can be found as a supplement in the form of a powder, liquid or capsule. The products you find online will contain anywhere from 400-1000mg of velvet bean extract per serving.

Velvet Bean Powder

Mucuna pruriens beans can be roasted and ground into their powder form. This is a common way of distributing the supplement. Users normally take their daily serving directly or in combination with their meals.

Velvet Bean Liquid

Mucuna pruriens is often extracted in tincture form. This can be mixed with water or taken with a sweet drink for effortless ingestion. Producers of liquid mucuna pruriens extracts often claim that taking it in this manner optimizes absorption and digestion.

Velvet Bean Capsules

One of the most effective forms of the velvet bean extract is in capsule form. Capsules allow this supplement to be packaged in small forms, making transportation and consumption very simple. It also allows the substance to be produced as a combination of other beneficial ingredients.

What Kind of Velvet Bean Powder Should I Use?

When looking for velvet bean powders to purchase, you need to carefully look at the supplement facts to see just how much extract you’re getting with each serving. Many supplements will boast low prices and high volumes. In many cases, these products will have suboptimal and ineffective dosages.

What is Zero-IN?

Zero-IN is a meticulously developed and refined natural supplement made to optimize your daily function and tap into your ultimate potential. It draws on the power of the velvet bean and combines it with turmeric root, pine bark, and vitamin D to produce a state-of-the-art brain blend.

How Will Zero-IN Benefit Me?

Zero-IN enhances mental clarity, optimizes the dopamine levels in your brain, and fine-tunes your sleep-wake cycle, allowing you to wake up energized in the morning and ready to tackle your day.

Zero-IN’s antioxidant properties provide you with the protection and strength you need to combat the harmful molecules that are constantly threatening your body’s inner environment.

The Vitamin D content in Zero-IN functions to not only maintain bone strength but more importantly to strengthen cognitive functioning and the immune system.


Mucuna pruriens is a storied and decorated legume whose immense medicinal properties have been documented for thousands of years.

With health benefits for cognitive function, cardiovascular health, and immune strength, it is without a doubt one of the most potent ancient therapeutics still used to this day.

Mucuna pruriens can be effective in the treatment of Parkinson disease, infertility, ADHD and other nervous disorders. With its health benefits in mind, it is undoubtedly an effective and all-encompassing supplement.