What is It?
Velvet Bean, also called Macuna, is a legume from Africa and Asia. It is a shrub with climbing vines which reach 15 metres in length. It has been used for centuries by traditional systems of medicine and in Ayurvedic medicine.
Different parts of the herb are used for many conditions ranging from scorpion bites to erectile dysfunction. However the main use in northern hemisphere countries is for symptoms of depression.
What is it Used For?
Velvet Bean has many traditional medicinal usages including: treating pain, infertility, scorpion bites, snakebites, toothaches, low testosterone, inflammation, low libido, parasites, muscle spasms, stress, high blood sugar, fever, and high cholesterol.
Different countries use it for various ailments. For instance, Germany uses Velvet Bean for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, intestinal gas, muscle pain, rheumatism, and intestinal worms. Brazil uses it for as an aphrodisiac, diuretic, for stress, edema, and intestinal worms. India uses it for cancer, cholera, cough, debility, delirium, diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery, edema, fertility, gout, impotency, kidney stones, menstrual disorders, nervousness, scorpion stings, snakebites, infertility, tuberculosis, intestinal worms, as an aphrodisiac and uterine stimulant. Clearly this herb is a useful and versatile medicine.
Depression is another application for Velvet Bean. In North America treating depression is one of the main uses for Velvet Bean. Depression has become a major concern in North America over the last 20 years. Antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed medications by MDs. There are many causes for depression including a lack of day time light (known as Seasonal Effective Disorder), poor sleep, emotional trauma, stress, chronic pain, substance abuse, hormonal disruption, nutritional deficiencies and even food sensitivities.
Symptoms of depression range in severity and in combination of symptoms from person to person. Symptoms can include: fatigue, an increase or decrease in sleep, loss of ability to function in daily activities, anxiety, foggy thinking, irritability, anger, weepiness, pain, and reclusiveness.
In North America and parts of Europe, Velvet Bean is also being used for its L-Dopa content for the treatment of Parkinson disease. Parkinson’s disease is believed to be related to low levels of Dopamine in certain parts of the brain. Once L-Dopa, from Velvet Bean, has crossed from the bloodstream into the brain, it is converted into the neurotransmitter Dopamine. The resulting increase in Dopamine concentrations in the brain is thought to improve nerve conduction and to assist in lessening the movement disorders in Parkinson’s disease.
Another common application for the use of Velvet Bean is for the treatment of Diabetes. Numerous laboratory studies have been conducted on the blood sugar lowering effect of Velvet Bean. These studies consistently demonstrated that Velvet Bean can effectively lower blood sugar levels. An extract of Velvet Bean decreased blood sugar levels in rats by more than 30% and 50% after four months.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.