One of the key public health concerns is infertility. It has been associated with the manifestation of one or more medical ailments of either female or male origin. As of now, nearly 15% of couples have challenges in conceiving, and male factor causes 50% of such cases. Also, in 10-15% of infertile couples, the causes are unknown. It is believed that the problem of infertility is directly associated with stress as typified by a feeling of dissatisfaction and displeasure. Hitherto, appropriate treatment of male infertility of unknown causes has not been found. Nonetheless, in the Chinese and Indian systems of traditional medicine, Mucuna pruriens has been utilized to improve endurance against stress and to treat male sexual disorders such as unexplained infertility and psychogenic impotence for decades but only lately, the western world has started to conduct research that can support this natural supplement.
Mucuna pruriens is also referred to as cowitch, cowage, velvet beans, sea beans, buffalo beans, or kevach in Hindi. It is a prevalently used drug in the Unani and Ayurvedic system of medicine. Its various seed traditional formulations are used in managing some diseases such as diabetes, male infertility, arthritis, nervous disorders and rheumatoid. It has also been reported that the seed powder of Mucuna pruriens is helpful in the treatment of stress, and it also improves semen secretion and serves as an aphrodisiac in diseases associated with sexual weakness or loss of sexual potency. Mucuna has also been known to have a neuroprotective effect on brain cells.
The Active Compositions of Mucuna pruriens
Mucuna pruriens is a significant source of L-3, 4 dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) and its seeds have antioxidants, neuroprotective and hypoglycemic properties. Compositions of its seeds also include the alkaloids, nicotine, prurienidine, gallic acid, lecithin, glutathione, mucunine, b-sitosterol, and so forth. Mucuna pruriens also possesses other bioactive substances such as flavonoids, steroids, tryptamine coumarins and metals like manganese, zinc, copper, iron and magnesium.
The Conclusion of The Western Research
In the Chinese and Indian systems of traditional medicine, the seeds and fruits of Mucuna are used to treat problems and ailments connected to the reproductive systems. Its seeds are widely used for reproductive tonics for men and women because it is believed to support healthy sperm and ova, proper performance of the reproductive organs, and it improves secretions of genital hormones in Asia.
A study can show that Mucuna pruriens improves male fertility through its action on the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis. Another similar research has also demonstrated that Mucuna pruriens decreases stress and enhances the quality of semen in infertile men. Mucuna pruriens can considerably ameliorate psychological stress, improve sperm count and motility.
Mucuna contains several bioactive constituents which are responsible for reactivating the antioxidant defence system, a vital organic mechanism accountable for the maintenance of body homeostasis. Psychological stress has been reported to elicit detrimental effects on various factors related to semen quality, which include sperm concentration and characteristics. Other problems, such as weak ejaculation, impotence, and low sperm count, have been traced to psychological factors behind male infertility. In a study conducted to evaluate the impacts of Mucuna in infertile men under mental stress, treatment of the infertile men with Mucuna ameliorated psychological stress. This indicates that Mucuna is very useful for the management of stress.
Levodopa aids in increasing the level of dopamine in the brain. An increased level of dopamine leads to increased libido. Treatment with Mucuna brings about an increase in the level of dopamine in the brain which in turn activates sexual behaviour and increases the level of plasma testosterone. L-DOPA and dopamine are involved in the stimulation of the hypothalamus and forebrain to secrete hormone responsible for releasing sex hormones. When these two sex hormones, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), are secreted, they cause an increase in the synthesis of testosterone (male sex hormone) by Leydig cells of the testis.
It is believed that increased dopamine level in the brain is not only to maximise the release of hormones like sex hormones but also to increase sexual drive, improve performance and reduce psychological stress. Interestingly, the use of Mucuna may also support proper performance of the male genital system and aid sperm transport. In a nutshell, Mucuna appears to influence fertility by acting on the brain through the release of dopamine, leading to resultant effects on the reproductive system. As regards to its dosage for treatment of infertility, 5gm of Mucuna pruriens powder has been demonstrated to increase general quality of semen, sperm count and motility. It should be taken with water.