Tremors, muscle rigidity, and physical instability are among the common effects of Parkinson’s disease. While these symptoms physically manifest, the disease is a result of inadequate dopamine—a crucial neurotransmitter—production and brain tissue degeneration. With the increase of patients developing Parkinson’s disease in recent years, researchers are trying to come up with new and safer ways to alleviate the disease with fewer side effects.
Parkinson’s Disease and Mucuna Pruriens
Based on many research findings, oxidative stress is a crucial factor in the development and progression Parkinson’s disease. Antioxidants are beneficial in lowering the impact of oxidative stress from free radicals that can damage the brain, cells, and blood vessels over time. Many plants and herbs contain antioxidants in different amounts and many researchers have been studying their potential as nutritional supplements.
Herbal-powers.com noted that Mucuna pruriens or Velvet Bean, which have been used since the 300 BC in Ayurvedic healing. Studies indicate it has high levels of antioxidants and natural levodopa or L-dopa, which as a dopamine precursor. Parkinson’s patients are administered a synthetic type of L-dopa for increasing dopamine production in their brain and thereby combat some of the effects of the disease.
As with other medications, including the synthetic forms of natural substances, adverse effects are common especially with continued use. Aside from low blood pressure, vomiting, dizziness, uncontrollable muscle movement, and nausea, synthetic L-dopa causes dyskinesia or involuntary drug-induced muscle movement.
A study that compared natural L-dopa with the synthetic version, on the other hand, came up with promising results. All participating patients suffered from dyskinesia after getting synthetic L-dopa treatment. After being administered mucuna seed powder, however, they exhibited quicker dopamine stimulating reaction minus the side effects from synthetic L-dopa.
It is important to keep in mind that while Mucuna pruriens show promise for combatting the effects of Parkinson’s disease, it’s not really a treatment or a cure. It is, however, an effective supplement to ward off the negative symptoms of the disease. Additionally, you should consult your doctor before taking it to avoid overlapping with other medications that you may be taking.