I take Mucuna Pruriens on a pretty regular basis even though tolerance is acquired quickly. The silver lining is that tolerance dissipates just as fast. M. pruriens an amazing herb. Commonly known as Velvet Bean, M. pruriens is native to Asia, but is also found in Africa and South America. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine all over the world. On top of being a great herb for human consumption, as a legume, it’s a powerful nitrogen fixer.
M. pruriens is interesting to me because it contains many powerful neuro-factors, most abundantly and famously, L-DOPA. In addition, there are also trace amounts of serotonin, 5-HTP (serotonin precursor), nicotine, DMT, and norharmine. That’s such a dynamic mix! It contains serotonin and dopamine and both of their precursors. It contains nicotine and DMT, which are both psychoactive. To top it off, norharmine is an MAOI, which helps protect the aforementioned substances. Granted, these are very small percentages and if the effects were noticeable, the plant would be “illegal.” But it is interesting to me that all of those are found in the same plant. And even though the dosage is small, the energetics are still there. Since L-DOPA is found most abundantly, that’s all I’m going to cover for now.
Levodopa is the precursor to dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline. The L indicates the chirality of the molecule. A molecule is chiral if it is asymmetrical; if the mirror image is not the same. The enantiomer (mirror image) of levodopa is D-DOPA, or dextrodopa. As far as I know, D-DOPA is not biologically active in humans. L-DOPA is also a precursor to melanin.
Dopamine is one of the most abundant hormones in the human body and has its arms and legs in all different kinds of functions. I prefer to take precursors, as in most cases it’s harder to overdose. The upside of L-DOPA is that it can cross the blood brain barrier. Once in the central nervous system, it is then decarboxylated (off-carbon) to dopamine. Inside the brain, dopamine is associated with motor control, motivation and arousal. The Substantia Nigra contains a large amount of motor related dopaminergic neurons. Damage here results in Parkinson’s. “Substantia Nigra” translates (from Latin) to “dark substance,” and is known as such because of the dark pigment of the neurons. If you’re David Wolfe, you probably already knew this. I think one of the most interesting uses of dopamine is in the eye. It’s released in the retina from cells that have no axons. This only happens in daylight, and enhances visual perception. The cones become more active, with an increased sensitivity to color and light.
If you aren’t yet convinced that M. pruriens is a Jing herb, you will be now. Dopamine is involved in regulating the immune system, including stimulating bone marrow and helping fight cancer through DNA protection and more efficient apoptosis. Here’s the kicker, there are dopamine receptors inside the kidneys! The kidneys actually produce dopamine! Most of dopamine’s actions in the kidneys are related to sodium regulation and blood flow.
I have been using Sun Potion’s Mucuna Pruriens Extract for a while now and am very satisfied. Their extract is on average 15% L-DOPA. The plant material is organically grown in India and cold processed. To me, there’s not much in it for flavor. A little smokey perhaps. It goes really well with He Shou Wu, a potent MAOI-B, or Rhodiola. Not surprisingly enough, it’s commonly paired with cacao. Combine the neurotransmitter boosting effects of M. pruriens with theobromine, anandamide, PEA and cacao’s own MAOIs, and you're in for a real party!
Ultimate Party Tonic
400mL of liquid of choice (warm but NOT HOT gynostemma, gotu kola or other favorite tea)
1 Tbsp Cacao
1/2 Tbsp fat (coconut oil/ghee/tocos)
1/2 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Mucuna Pruriens Extract
1/2 tsp He Shou Wu Estract
1/2 tsp Rhodiola Extract
1/8 tsp Sea Salt
Mix/Blend and enjoy!