Mucuna pruriens are a bean with African and Asian origin which is also known by other names such as velvet bean, devil bean, cowitch and cowage and has been used in traditional medicine for ages to treat a myriad of conditions including snake bites, Parkinson’s disease and as an aphrodisiac. But it’s the prospects of boosting testosterone production that has raised interest in this bean.

This has led to a number of studies being conducted to establish the effects of consuming the beans. The studies have produced very positive results which predicate the traditional use of mucuna pruriens in traditional medicine. In this discussion, we explore what makes the velvet bean tic, why it makes sense to use it and how much you should take to increase testosterone and thereby boost your libido.

Active Ingredients in Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna pruriens is a legume and as such the beans are rich in protein at between 20 and 35 percent. However, the velvet bean is better known for its other contents which, according to research have beneficial activity in the human body. The active ingredients include:

  • Levodopa (L-dopa)
  • Serotonin
  • Nicotinic acid
  • Beta carboline
  • Behenic acid
  • Saponins
  • Anthrapuinones
  • Tannins
  • Terpenoids
  • CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10)
  • Nicotine adenine dinucleotide
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium

What are the Mucuna Pruriens Benefits?

Mucuna pruriens is associated with many benefits. The velvet bean is especially important for men who seek to elevate their testosterone levels.

And while the other ingredients are important, as far as men are concerned, L-dopa sits at the top for increasing T levels. The dry mucuna pruriens bean typically contains 3 – 7 percent L-dopa. It is worth noting that L-dopa is a precursor for the neurotransmitter known as dopamine. After consuming mucuna pruriens, its l-dopa is converted to dopamine which is responsible for various functions including activation of androgen receptors besides the following:

  • Inhibits production of prolactin
  • Boosts production of testosterone
  • Boosts production and quality of sperms
  • Stimulates production of the prohormone GnRH, which boosts production of testosterone
  • Improves brain functions including memory, learning ability and speed
  • Reduces blood sugar levels
  • Potential anti-Parkinson’s disease
  • Anti anxiety
  • Improves mood

Mucuna Pruriens improves hormonal health

As we have seen, mucuna pruriens contains levodopa, a precursor for dopamine. We have also learnt that dopamine affects production and activity of various hormones. It specifically has positive effects on the hormones responsible for a healthy male reproductive system. This has been established through many studies.

In one study, rats were given 1000mg of l-dopa per kilogram of body weight.  After 7 to 14 days, it was found that luteinizing hormone levels rose significantly in the rats. This caused a rise in testosterone production.

In a human study, men with stress-related infertility were given 5g of mucuna pruriens seed powder per day for a period of 90 days. At the end of this period, it was found that these men’s sperm volume increased by 688 percent while the control group of men with normal sperm counts achieved a 32 percent increase. At the same time, the first group of men achieved a reduction in their blood cortisol levels by 110 percent. The non-infertile control group achieved a reduction of 38 percent.

In another study of the effects of mucuna pruriens on testosterone, LH and prolactin hormone levels, a group of infertile men were given 5g of mucuna for 90 days. At the end of this period, it was found that their testosterone levels rose by 38 percent while levels of luteinizing hormone rose by 41 percent. The control group comprising men with healthy T levels realized an elevation of 27 percent and 23 percent for testosterone and LH respectively. In the same study, it was found that semen dopamine rose while prolactin levels decreased by 32 percent for the infertile men, and 19 percent for the normal guys.

More studies established that besides L-dopa converting to dopamine and increasing androgen levels, it activates androgen receptors thereby boosting their testosterone uptake activity.

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Recommended dosage size

While no standard dose has been established, the commonly recommended dosage is an average of 500mg daily, and in any case, not more than 1 gram daily. For those who are taking mucuna pruriens for the first time, the recommended dosage is 100mg for up to three times daily.

Side effects

Most studies have found no significant side effects even after mucuna pruriens was taken for up to 20 weeks. However, the following side effects may occur especially with high doses: NauseaVomiting, Bloating, Insomnia, Headache, Agitation, Itching and Low blood sugar.


From the studies carried out so far, we can assume mucuna pruriens may increase testosterone production.The velvet bean works on the various prohormones and hormones involved in production and application of testosterone. It is also worth noting that it produces the greatest effect in individuals with low testosterone than in individuals with normal testosterone levels.