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Mucuna pruriens (velvet beans, cow-itch) effectiveness variations
Review by Sam Sanare
There are two parameters which greatly determine the effectiveness of mucuna pruriens (velvet beans) for any application, one objective, and one subjective.
The objective parameter is the cultivar (the specific genetic strain) of mucuna pruriens. There are more than 100 major varieties. This is no surprise as beans are a legume that lend themselves easily to cultivation by selective breeding. They have a short life cycle of just a few months, and grow under many different conditions.
Most cultivars were bred to get rid of precisely those properties that determine the usefulness of mucuna pruriens as a herbal remedy, or an instrument of sexual shamanism.
Natural, wild mucuna pruriens is rich not just in one, but in two chemicals that are related to neurotransmitters in higher animals including humans: serotonin and L-dopa.
The serotonin is concentrated in the fur of the pods, especially unripe pods. And the serotonin in the fur is an itching skin irritant. This explains one of the many English names of the plant: cowitch.
Not co-witch but cow-itch. When cattle, not exactly known for intelligent selectiveness of grazing choices, get to chew young mucuna beans, or just touch them, they will suffer great discomfort and exhibit strange behavior in attempts to battle the itch.
In human commerce the only usefulness of velvet beans pod shells is in the manufacture of itching powder.
On the outside, it's serotonin, in the inside it's L-dopa, which is even more dopaminergic than the neurotransmitter dopamine because, unlike dopamine, L-dopa passes the blood brain barrier, and it is converted into dopamine only in the brain.
A common physical reaction to uncontrolled quantities of L-dopa passing the blood brain barrier, or of strong dopaminergic stimulation in general, is nausea, up to the degree of vomiting.
And indeed, dopaminergic stimulants are used as an emetic (a drug inducing vomiting) in veterinary medicine, for example when dogs have ingested poisons.
Mucuna beans can be used for this purpose, but synthetic emetics (dopaminergics all of them) are usually preferred .
L-dopa is an important medication in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder characterized by a lack of dopamine in the nigrostriatal tract of the brain.
However, for the treatment of Parkinson’s, synthetic L-dopa is commonly used. Mucuna pruriens contains L-dopa at various ratios, and whether that is the only chemical constituent responsible for its effects is unclear.
Also, the L-dopa content in different mucuna pruriens cultivars varies wildly, to put it mildly.
The reason for this variation is the predominant use of cultivated mucuna pruriens... not as a medicinal herb but as feedstock for farm animals. It is grown as a substitute for soy beans at locations with poor soil fertility and dry climates, such as the Indian Deccan.
When grown as fodder plant, the medicinal properties of mucuna pruriens, such as the L-dopa content, are viewed as antinutritional factors that must either be destroyed in the production of silage, or shouldn't be there in the first place in a scientifically bred or genetically engineered cultivar.
While protein content in fodder plants usually is welcome, farmers don't want the protein to be L-dopa... which would make cattle, hogs, and goats vomit.
Thus, practically all Indian mucuna pruriens varieties (sold om Western healthfood chains or Amazon) are low in or entirely void of L-dopa... that's the main feature, the strains have been designed for. Did you buy some and feel nothing? No surprise. Healthfood chains anyway don't want you to feel anything. They are afraid of litigation.
Mucuna pruriens isn't native to India. It's native habitat is Southeast Asia, predominantly Thailand. If in India, mucuna pruriens grows outside farmed environments, then these are escaped seeds of domesticated strains.
On the other hand, in Thailand, especially the Northeast with poor soil conditions and a hot dry climate most of the year, original mucuna pruriens, unmodified by cultivation, is the only bean that grows in the wild.
In Northeast Thailand, mucuna pruriens is typically found on unattended agricultural plots. This wild mucuna pruriens is considered a pest by most farmers, rather than a valuable herb. Because of the serotonin fur on the pods, farmers can't let their cattle and water buffaloes graze there. Thus, farmers just burn down overgrowth with mucuna pruriens infestation.
We at Sumatra Pasak Bumi Thailand are the only people in Northeast Thailand who grow velvet beans (mucuna pruriens), the wild, itchy strain. And when our workers are in the fields, they wear all kinds of protective clothing, and most certainly gloves.
On the bright side of it, from a medicinal perspective, we have the best mucuna pruriens you could buy.
Now for the subjective factors of mucuna pruriens' effectiveness.
The efficacy of mucuna pruriens can vary enormously from person to person.
First of all, some people may be allergic. If they are, they experience an explosive immune response, and the effects are all negative. And they are dose dependent. Thus, it is a wise idea to make a personal allergy test before full scale consumption.
This is a proper approach not just for mucuna pruriens, but for any dietary or medicinal substance destined for ingestion. For an allergy test, just use a quantity that is the equivalent to that of a pinch of salt for a single fried egg.
Some people are allergic to nuts. Others to shrimp. Or to honey. Or to cat hair.
Chances are 99.999 percent that you aren't allergic to mucuna pruriens. But still, you don't want to be the one in 100,000. So, make an allergy test, please.
Apart from an allergic reaction, there is the possibility of a profound reaction. This possibility exists for our mucuna pruriens concentrate and the various other sexual enhancement extracts we sell.
While an allergic reaction is always negative, a profound reaction is usually a lucky constellation if you just keep the dosage low enough.
However, sometines a profound reaction is also unwanted.
Most unwanted is a profound reaction in patients with epilepsy. Mucuna pruriens increases dopamine at synapses. This means that there will be more neuronal firing. And epileptic attacks are events of massive uncontrolled neuronal firing throughout the brain. Therefore, products that increase neuronal firing, such as dopaminergic mucuna pruriens, are strictly contraindicated in people with epilepsy.
Mucuna pruriens can be used as a treatment in another neurological condition, Parkinson’s disease. I assume that anybody who arrives at our site, knows this already.
Some patients with depression to a degree warranting psychiatric attention can benefit from dopaminergic stimulation, including dopaminergic stimulation by mucuna pruriens.
But in other psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and anxiety psychoses, dopaminergic stimulation is the opposite of what physicians usually want to achieve.
Not that mucuna pruriens wouldn't make patients with schizophrenia and psychoses feel good. It certainly does, even in comparatively small dosages. But a certain school of thought in psychiatry, with a good number of adherents, thinks that excessive dopaminergic signal transduction in the mesolimbic and mesocortical pathways of the brain is responsible for the troublesome manifestations of schizophrenia and psychoses. And the neuroleptic drugs used to treat these psychiatric problems are usually dopamine antagonists, while L-dopa, mucuma pruriens, and all Parkinson’s medications are dopamine agonists.
Mucuna pruriens is not advised in people with schizophrenia and psychoses, as it may make these illnesses worse.
Other psychiatric disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) that may be aggravated by mucuna pruriens, including Paraphilic disorders like voyeuristic disorder, exhibitionistic disorder, frotteuristic disorder (rubbing against others, for example in means of public transport), masochism disorder, sadism disorder, pedophilic disorder, fetishistic disorder, and transvestic disorder.
The manual used to include homosexual disorder, but this has now been corrected, and homosexuality is considered a healthy expression of a sexual orientation.
The severity of all those sexual disorders depend on the degree of sexual desire a person experiences, and as mucuna pruriens increases sexual desire, it is logical to assume that these disorders will become more agitating.
As a precaution, LGBT individuals in countries where their orientations are still considered criminal, or a mental disease treated with a hangman's nose, may better forsake the pleasures mucuna pruriens can afford.
So, what are the effective dosages of our mucuna pruriens concentrate?
The range is wide: 300 mg up to 30 grams per application. Yes, this is a 100-fold difference between the dosage for a person with the lowest and the person with the highest intake.
Users with a dopaminergic-responsive depression will often have the most dramatic benefit on even just minimal dosages, single 300 mg caps.
Low dosages, such as two 300 mg capsules twice a day may be used for neuro protection.
2 grams twice a day as 6 or 7 capsules or as a teaspoon of loose extract powder mixed into water can be a long-term regimen to improve fertility and libido.
Parkinson’s symptoms would be treated with upwards of 5 grams several times a day - quantities too much for capsules.
Dosages of more than 10 grams should be treated with caution. Work yourself up in steps. Do 3 grams before 5, do 7 grams before 10, do 5, 10, 15 grams each a few times before trying 20.
Those who suffer from advanced Parkinson’s may need 20 or more grams to ameliorate paralysis, even when such quantities cause nausea.
Some people can stomach high dosages for on-demand sensations. Sensational sex, this is. They only use mucuna pruriens in preparation for what they expect to have the opportunity. Without Viagra, please. Because this is much better.
Desire will be in the "Oh-my-God! - Longing,-Libido,-and-Lust-is-the-Holy-Trinity!" category. And orgasm feels like "Oh my God! I am truly in paradise!