Belonging to the Fabaceae family, the velvet bean is commonly found in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It is an annual climbing legume having its origin in Southern China and Eastern India, where it was cultivated as a green vegetable crop. It was traditionally used as a food source by many ethnic groups throughout the world. It is widely popular for its nematicidic effects and is known to possess notable allelopathic activity. It has been use for ages in India for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. L-dopa gets converted in to dopamine, an important brain chemical known to enhance mood and body movement. This herb enhances the overall sexual activity due to an increase in dopamine and is commonly found in herbal libido products. It has been traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent as an Ayurvedic medicine and for treating many dysfunctions in the Unani medicine.
Extraction of the velvet bean
In recent research study, attempts were made to find out the suitable method for extraction of L-dopa and other active components from the seeds of mucuna pruriens plants using different solvents and screened for their antioxidant properties. The extract containing amino acids and water ethanol extract showed encouraging results related to antioxidant activities against DPPH radicals. These are used in male impotency, aphrodisiac, sexual debility and also known to possess anti-parkinson property. Ayurvedic doctors have been using this herb in India for centuries without the additional use of VitaminB6 or any decarboxylase inhibitor. Herbal medicine suppliers have this herb available in various extracts, the standardized extract potencies being 10%, 20% or 60% L-dopa and even 99%. However, it is quite difficult to judge the best extract potency for different medical conditions since its comparisons are not yet available. Till date, 15% extract potency seems to work well. Excess L-dopa percentage might remove other beneficial substances from the plant.
Ensure better sleep with velvet bean
The dopamine chemical plays major role in the brain processes related to falling asleep and the REM stage of sleep associated with dreaming. Studies on animal have shown that reducing dopamine levels by a large margin can lead to an inability to falling asleep. It has even been proved that a mild reduction in the level of dopamine can lead to tension and restlessness ultimately leading to sleeping problems. Most people who take this extract report an improvement in their ability to fall fast asleep. Increasing the dopamine level by a substantial margin may have the opposite effect, so it is always necessary to start of with low dosage. It is also recommended to take the herb well before sleep in order to ensure the best results out of its use.
The aphrodisiac and dopamine effects of this supplement
This legume has been used for ages for its aphrodisiac properties, and is still used to increase the libido in both genders because of its increased concentration of dopamine. It has also been used to treat Parkinson’s disease through the extraction of L-Dopa from the seeds of mucuna pruriens plants.