Mucuna Pruriens - a natural brain-booster!

I have been a fan of Earthshift products for about 2 years.  I use products from them ranging from Ayurvedic herbs to chia seeds to Hibiscus tea and recently I was invited to be a part of their blogger program (and no, I am not being paid for a review of any kind).  I have been a writer since I learned to hold a pencil, so to be given the opportunity to write about products that I am trying, using and am passionate about is so much FUN!  Dream come true in fact!

I decided to try their Mucuna Pruriens powder.  At first I was like "Macoo-What??" The name is hard to pronounce and I had never heard of it before.  So off to the ol' internet I went!

The "benefits" listed on various reputable websites were intriguing, to say the least!  With a grandfather that had dementia during the last years of his life I have always been drawn to health foods and holistic practices that are benefitting to the brain.  Mucuna fits that bill!  So with its wide range of brain-boosting powers I thought I would give it a try!

Just a little background:  

*I enlisted the help of Global Healing Center for terminology and medical accuracy  

 Mucuna Pruriens Pod - fuzzy hair fibers act as toxin repellent 

Mucuna Pruriens Pod - fuzzy hair fibers act as toxin repellent 

 Mucuna Pruriens seeds of two different colors.

Mucuna Pruriens seeds of two different colors.

Mucuna is a tropical bean also referred to as the Velvet Bean or Cowhage.  It is an Ayurvedic herbal medicine that has been used for various ailments such as: snakebites (topically treated with the bean pod's hairy fibers), intestinal disorders, sexual response, depression, and most recently it is being used in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease.  WOW! 

In Mucuna, the L-dopa works with other significant antioxidants to promote optimal brain health.  Because of the release of L-dopa, it helps to increase brain levels of dopamine which helps to regulate moods and therefore this herb has been used for centuries as an anti-depressant, an aphrodisiac and fertility booster in both men and women.  It has been fairly recent that its use in the "generally healthy body" has shown to boost motivation and endurance in physical activity (i.e. working out, yoga, etc.) and protect the brain from stress and keeps cognitive and neural functions in check.  It is the boost in male fertility that was a surprise in some research studies.  It appeared to promote sperm quality and count! Go figure! ...it reduces stress, therefore increases fertility...food for thought ;)

Mucuna Pruriens powder can be added to drinks or various foods (I added it to my coffee or juice in the morning) and it is recommended to start at 1/4 teaspoon daily.  The taste is a bit smoky and earthy so it pairs well with coffee, black teas and hearty green juices.  I even read that it hides nicely in chocolate!

My experience:

For the first 5-ish days I used 1/4 tsp in my morning coffee.  At day 6 or 7 I upped the dosage to 1/2 tsp and I noticed some nausea and heart racing (which are some noted side effects).  After a few days of those slight side effects I just reduced the dosage back down to 1/4 tsp.  I am only 5'1 and extremely sensitive to new products so I typically only use the minimum dosage recommendation of any herbs or supplements; I was not surprised at all that I felt different with a minor increase.

I have not noticed the aphrodisiac effect that so many websites promote with Mucuna (darn!).  Oh well.  I DID notice a significant energy boost and a small amount of intestinal relief (I have a very finicky digestive system) right off the bat.  I noticed a nice boost in thought-processes, cognition, and (most importantly for me) a good and steady mood regulation.  For an introverted, easily-overstimulated, Pisces, mother to two Pisces children, having ups and downs is par for the course.  That is life, right?  Well for me, finding all-natural ways (such as a daily yoga practice) to take care of myself mentally as well as physically is my top priority so that I can be the best ME I can be.  I like that Mucuna is a bean that has been shown protect the brain from stress - who doesn't want that?!  Who doesn't want to think clearer, have a bit more energy and stay calm during chaos?     Yep, I thought so.

In the end would I recommend Mucuna to others?  Yes.  It is an all-natural brain-boosting herb that has many different benefits for many different people.  I was told once by an Ayurvedic practitioner that herbs will work in your body's environment the way your body needs it to.  Also, when you get herbs such as Mucuna Pruriens from Earthshift Products you can rest assured knowing that you are getting the highest quality organic products. Period. 

After 2 weeks of using the product I am taking a week off just to compare & contrast how my mind and body work with and without the herb.  I believe it is a process and a journey in getting to know our bodies as well as our brains!  What works for one person will not work for another.  We are all unique, special and we will never be a "finished product."  I am a researcher, a knowledge-junkie and I never want to stop learning about myself.

Have you used Mucuna Pruriens?  If so, what are your experiences and do you have any recipes or suggestions with it?  Leave in the comments below or email me, I would LOVE to hear about it!

Your mental and physical health should both be at the top of your priority list.  Take care of your body AND your brain!

I am not being paid for my review.  I am, however, an Earthshift Products Affiliate and should you choose to buy Mucuna or any other Earthshift organic health food products, I would love it if you would use the following link (I get a few bucks for passing on the good word)...thank you and stay healthy!   http://earthshiftproducts.com/?AFFID=E010