Why Mucuna (Kapikacchu) Really Is That Amazing
You may have heard about Mucuna and its ability to support a healthy nervous system because of its L-dopa content. It’s true. It’s pretty fantastic. But you may not have heard about mucuna’s benefits to other organ systems in the body, specifically the reproductive and digestive systems. Mucuna has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years, and it is known by several names including kapikacchu, atmagupta, and cowhage. In moderation, mucuna is beneficial for all doshas, but it has a special affinity for balancing vata dosha because of its heavy, stabilizing, and nourishing qualities. We would like to take a few minutes to shine a light on this wonderful herb and its incredible ability to rejuvenate several systems of the body.
Mucuna and the Nervous System
Let’s start with the nervous system since so many people are familiar with mucuna because of its effect on that system. Mucuna has a sweet taste and a hot energetic effect.1 In the world of herbal energetics, the unique combination of sweet and hot creates an amazingly nourishing herb that is calming and soothing, making it ideal for excess vata in the nervous system. Vata in the nervous system can manifest as occasional tingling, spasm, tremor, fear, anxiety, sleep difficulty, trouble keeping attention, poor memory or communication, spaciness, dizziness, or poor movement to name a few.2 The heavy, unctuous nature of mucuna helps to warm and stabilize the erratic excess movement of vata.
One of the reasons mucuna is so popular is because it is a natural source of the amino acid, levodopa (L-dopa). L-dopa is a precursor to the neurotransmitter, dopamine, which is responsible for a long list of functions, from sensory experiences to emotional responses. And don’t forget about this grounding herb anytime you’re going through a time of extra stress, lots of travel, or late nights—situations where vata can easily become disturbed. To specifically target the nervous system, mucuna is traditionally taken with warm milk. It is such a treat in the evenings when you’re winding down before bed!
Mucuna and the Reproductive System
In Ayurveda, nutrients get processed and nourish the seven tissues of the body (dhatus) sequentially. After the nervous system tissues, the reproductive tissues are nourished. So, if the nervous system is malnourished and has high vata, these same depleting qualities will be passed along to the next tissue layer, the reproductive tissues. You can begin to see why it is crucial to rejuvenate the nervous system in order to get proper nutrition and nourishment passed on to the reproductive system. Because of its profound effect on the nervous system, and the resulting effect on the more subtle tissues of reproduction, mucuna is considered to be one of the ultimate Ayurvedic tonics for both men and women. It has long been used for this purpose, and it can be found in many traditional Ayurvedic formulas for couples preparing for pregnancy.
In a study with sixty healthy men, for instance, taking Mucuna pruriens daily improved sperm count and motility.3 And in an animal model with rats taking mucuna extract for forty-five days, there was increased sexual desire, increased time leading to ejaculation, along with erections.4 It is said that the benefits extend to women as well. Mucuna promotes ojas and serves as a natural way to encourage a healthy sex drive and libido. It is traditionally taken with ashwagandha and ghee to directly target the reproductive tissues and support fertility for men and women alike.
Mucuna and the Digestive System
Ever feel like your stomach is making flips, flutters, or butterflies? Or do you get a case of diarrhea when you are really nervous? That happens because our digestive system is incredibly responsive to the state of our mind and nervous tissues through an incredible network of neurons and messenger hormones. For this reason, the soothing and warming qualities of mucuna help with occasional intestinal cramps or spasms, gas or bloating, and bowel movement regularity.5
Because mucuna is so effective when it comes to soothing the nervous system, we wanted to make sure it is easy to take on the go, so you can find the support you need, when you need it. We offer Mucuna as a liquid extract and as a bulk powder, and now, due to popular demand, it is available in tablets as well! Remember mucuna (kapikacchu) the next time you need rejuvenation support to soothe vata and keep your nerves grounded and nourished.