Mucuna Pruriens: Versatile Dopamine and Testosterone Booster

mucuna_pruriens_flowerIt seems that whatever ails you, in all corners of the world the Good Lord has furnished us with a plant remedy. Pain? Opium. Depression? St. John’s Wort. Listlessness? Cocaine.

Mucuna pruriens has for thousands of years been used to treat Parkinson’s disease. It grows in India and is made by grinding the velvet bean into a powder. It is also used to treat snakebites and low libido.

M. pruriens contains high amounts of levadopa, the precursor used by the body to create dopamine, epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine. Pure levadopa is used in modern medicine to treat Parkinson’s disease. M. pruriens is potentially a better treatment for Parkinson’s as it contains nicotine which also boosts dopaminergic neurotransmission. Research is ongoing. Via these same mechanisms I have also found it to be effective as a smoking cessation aid. However, like existing dopaminergic drugs for this purpose, such as bupropion, it is a double-edged sword in that smoking pleasure is greatly intensified while on the drug, should one give in to temptation.

M. pruriens significantly increases dopamine. Words I associate with dopamine are vigour and vitality. Taken early in the morning, one quickly finds oneself motivated, happy, and enjoying an internal “glow”. I can certainly use it to trigger an ad hoc hypomania should the desire grip me. M. pruriens is an effective antidepressant. Like other dopaminergic drugs such as cocaine and MDMA, M. pruriens for me triggers jaw tightness and gurning.

Due to its effects of raising dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine, M. pruriens will amplify other stimulants and also increase the addictive qualities and pleasure of other drugs and habits.

Testosterone, Dopamine & Sex Drive

Mucuna pruriens significantly increases testosterone and can even reverse male infertility. Even a small increase in dopamine and testosterone significantly raises sex drive.

In the personal development sphere there is currently much talk of the pros of giving up masturbation in order to increase sex drive (and thus, it is assumed, general motivation). One site even recommends abstaining from orgasm entirely to retain dopamine sensitivity. If you want to experience the effects of raised dopamine and testosterone immediately, without having to wait several days without jerking off, mucuna pruriens is your cheat code.

I never had a problem with sex drive anyway (in fact, turning it down a bit would be nice) but mucuna pruriens moves it to the next level. I’m practically foaming at the mouth on this stuff, and compulsive masturbation is a common occurrence. The main reason for this, aside from the vastly increased sex drive, is the amplifying effects increased dopamine has on orgasm. You have never experienced an orgasm till you’ve had one on mucuna pruriens. It is mind-blowing. I can barely see afterwards. It is literally knee-weakening. M. pruriens has the potential to turn sex and masturbation into a full-blown addiction.

mucuna-pruriensDosage & Tolerance

Mucuna pruriens is an incredibly versatile drug. It’s a panacea whether you just want to feel nice, spice up your sex life, or treat one of the above mentioned conditions.

For a standard dose I fill up two size 00 capsules, which weighs in at about a gram.

I buy my mucuna pruriens from eBay and it comes direct from India, even arriving in a cloth sack looking like something from colonial times! It is cheap as hell: a 300g sack costs about $15 and will last me well over a year. It makes you think how many perfectly good treatments are out there growing wild in the world, ready to be picked and utilized for next to no cost. But Big Pharma won’t make much money that way, so you’re stuck with their lab-made simulacra at extortionate prices.

Tolerance builds rapidly to mucuna pruriens, but also subsides just as rapidly. Day one for example will be the most intense, followed by a decent day two and a lacklustre day three. Waiting three days will return it to maximum potency. I therefore recommend only using it a couple of times a week if it is to be enjoyed consistently. I personally use it infrequently as I consider it a present to myself as and when I fancy it.

I recommend stacking mucuna pruriens with St. John’s Wort and green tea for an all-natural antidepressant combo, which gives incredibly clear vision and focused thought!

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23 Responses

  1. moviestar says:

    Hey Illuminatus,
    We seem to be walking on the same paths. I’ll describe my experiences maybe we can learn something more about this valuable plant.

    A couple months ago I got some mucuna pruriens 40% extract. I didn’t know what the dosage was so I took like a tea spoon everyday. For a couple days I was ecstacic to say the least. My personality changed. I was very happy and easy to talk with. After a couple days I took it again and I had an occurece of horrible brain fog. In fact I had to lay down and sleep. I did some research and it turned out that I had all the symptoms of dopamine overdose.

    From there I learnt that 1 gram is probably a safer dosage. However the effects aren’t that strong with 1g. Also I’m very skeptical of extracts. If God made this medicine he wanted you to take everything in it not just extracted. Recently I ordered full beans that I will blend and make a tea of. We’ll see how that works.

    You didn’t mention mucuna’s dream intensifying effects. I noticed it one day when I took mucuna and went for a nap. Very intense dreams! I can replicate it anytime by taking it right before bed. I’m still not sure what is the purpose of these dreams because I’ve had bad nightmares on it too (normally I dont – so I’m wondering if mucuna is a teaching plant like the ayuahasca brew)

    Also, you seem to be taking St. John’s Wort for a long time. Do you know about the damage it does to your eyes? At least the extracts do. Google it.

    Other stuff that has been amazing for me and I’ve been using them for some time are:
    (I’d be interested on your thoughts on these or a blog post)

    rhodiola (cognitive enhancer)
    gotu kola (general boost / fatigue elimination)
    curcumin (fatigue elimination)
    passiflora (relaxation / high)
    astragalus (seasonal allergies)

    • Illuminatus says:

      Hi moviestar, welcome back! 🙂

      Re dosage, as a (self-diagnosed) cyclothymic, I appear to have high sensitivity to any drug which hits the reward circuit (which explains my high responsiveness to almost all of the drugs I’ve tested over the years — I was probably triggering hypomania with each new drug!). So 1g, for me, is more than ample. But, yes, those with different responsiveness may need to take more. I would still recommend sticking to only taking it a couple of times a week though, to keep tolerance fresh!

      Re extract vs. full bean, I use the ground full bean ordered direct from India. I now agree about taking the whole plant. E.g. having reviewed many St. John’s Worts, including high-concentration hyperforin extract (presumed to be “the best” since that is the supposed active ingredient), I found the ground full extract to be the best as the stems contain MAO inhibitors which enhance the hyperforin and hypericin. This is the same reason full tobacco is far more potent than nicotine extract (and why electronic cigarettes are shit) — tobacco also contains an MAO, norharmane: the same one full mucuna pruriens contains! (I did not mention this in the article for conciseness). Opium is another example whereby the full plant contains thebaine, a stimulant rather than an analgesic which would potentially help regulate tolerance.

      Re dream enhancement of mucuna pruriens: it contains small amounts of the psychedelics DMT and 5-MeO-DMT!! Along with the MAO inhibitor present, it has the potential for mild psychedelic experience (though I do not detect this during the day). DMT is of course one of the neurotransmitters involved in dreaming.

      Re SJW, I have not taken it for a very long time. I used it for about 3 months mainly as a BDNF enhancer. It served its purpose then tolerance quickly grew so I abandoned it. I have not seen the research about damage to the eyes.

      Re the other drugs you mentioned, I’ve tried rhodiola and curcumin and could not detect any benefit. I haven’t tried the others you mentioned.

  2. moviestar says:

    The dream effects are very clear for me. I consider only taking it for that purpose because during the day it mostly makes me drowsy. Still gonna try the beans, they might have a better effect. Maybe tomorrow.
    Have you ever thought of smoking mucuna?

    Same experience with SJW. I drank tea made of the dried plant. One of the happiest weeks of my life but then it stopped working :/
    (extract doesn’t work at all for me and its most likely extracts that do eye damage)

    Rhodiola is probably the most mysterious herb I’m taking. I don’t how it works. But it does. I make a tea out of the dried root. A cognitive boost and higher energy is clearly felt, but its not like caffeine, its different. Same goes for gotu kola.

    Curcumin has to be prepared properly. Best done with a normal dish. I make an indian sabji with curcumin. Just potatoes and different kinds of vegatables. Lots of curcumin (like two table spoons) and MOST IMPORTANTLY :
    – fat (I use olive oil ans ghee)
    – lots of normal black pepper (for the piperin)
    – (optional) capers (for quercitin)

    After eating a dinner like this I am fresh and alert for the rest of the day. Normally I’m tired in the evening.
    The effect is nearly the same as modafinil, without any side-effects. In fact curcumin seems to work in the same way as modafinil according to this guy:

  3. Pogy says:

    Hey man, what do you recommend buying?
    Should I purchase extract? or exact herbs?
    and are there brands you recommend? or just buy it from random sellers.

  4. Luke says:

    Illuminatus> Have you tried Kratom?

    • Illuminatus says:

      Yes. I didn’t think much of it. For a highly functional opioid experience I recommend tramadol, but it’s highly addictive.

  5. Luke says:

    Interesting. The quality of the vendor can vary dramatically as can one’s experience with differing strains and dosage. For me some strains do absolutely nothing while others can be truly energising, pro-social as well as cognitively enhancing – All of which I lack due to classic brain fog at times. Yes it is mild but I have no experience with other opioids such as tramadol to compare. Ive found it quite life changing, but it is addictive however.

    I’m not a vender but I can recommend and as suppliers of high quality genuine product.

    On a side note I’m really enjoying reading your articles and your e-book too. The cold shower approach is horrific!!!

    • Illuminatus says:

      Yes, I spoke to Chris at and he said the same thing re the strains. Can you link me to an item from one of those websites you’ve already tried please, and say roughly how many doses you get from it? That’s the other thing — the prices. If I wanted opioids I would just get tramadol. It’s so fucking cheap if you know the right places. However, it’s just been made illegal in most of the world, elevating it to the same level of control applied to things like Vicodin. So I won’t be discussing anything about obtaining it on this website.

      Glad you’re enjoying my stuff. 🙂 Re the e-book, that’s very old now and I consider most of it outdated. I don’t do the cold shower thing any more for example, though it was an interesting experiment at the time. If I was to go back in time and teach my younger self about social anxiety, this is roughly the approach I would take:

      1) Teach about expectations. Most of the interhuman world is about self-fulfilling prophecies. If you expect hostility, you will attract that. It’s about what your attention picks “out of the cloud”. I would teach him how to notice what he EXPECTS out of each situation, and how he is making that come true for himself.

      2) I would teach him to retrain expectations to positive ones via visualization — including integrating basic social skills.

      3) I would teach him very basic rapid relaxation techniques such as vagus nerve self-stimulation (which I still need to write up), and also noticing anxious muscle tension and letting that go. So a body-orientated approach to relieving anxiety, rather than dealing with it more conceptually as I did in the book.

      4) A general breath meditation to be done every day, and I would not attach any outcomes or goals re social anxiety to that. So that would be kept entirely separate, as it should be. A basic meditation should be done daily with NO outcomes attached to it.

      And I would also be sure he understood never to label it “social anxiety” — the reality is, I never called it that anyway at any point in my life. The book was called that because it’s what people are calling it. But it’s not an “it” at all — it’s just 2 or 3 thought/emotion processes interacting and leading to repeatable outcomes. Labelling it a pathology is a retrograde step, and it’s making people MORE crazy.

      How did you find out about my site, Luke?

      • Vysotsky says:

        “Re the e-book, that’s very old now and I consider most of it outdated.”

        Do you still recommend (in general, not necessarily for anxiety) the meditation techniques (e.g. presence walks) which you wrote down in the book?

        • Illuminatus says:

          This is a quick reply so I won’t go into too much detail. I’m also going to notate the meditations from memory rather than re-read them from the book.

          Meditation 1: Observing overlays — Yes, this is really standard mindfulness anyway (becoming aware of what’s passing through your mind).

          Meditation 2: Presence walks — Great for awareness. These walks show you what you mind is currently primed to find “out there”. However, I would add a point to actively visualize the world you WANT to experience re socializing, so visualize seeing happy faces and having positive experiences for, say, 15 minutes per night. This primes your mind to find that “out there”.

          Meditation 3: Observing emotions with equanimity — Good, but I would stress how long it takes to actually become adept at this. However, 1 week spent doing this for 1 hour per day will garner rapid results and a change in the way one relates to one’s emotions. E.g. I see all emotions as movements now, and that only came after practising an hour a day, no less. But it only took a week for me to become very good at this.

          Meditation 4 — Amazingly I have never noticed before that in the book I skipped the numbering straight to Meditation 5. Oops!

          Meditation 5: Breathing correctly — I follow the “full breath” principle now, which I described a little here:
          However, soon after writing that I was able to do a full breath literally all the time, including while doing sitting meditation (so lying down like in that post just trained the full breath). Also, the full breath is not diaphragm-centric like in the e-book’s Meditation 5 (and a whole lot of other resources by other authors) – the whole torso should fill evenly. Breathing is with the whole torso, not just the diaphragm.

          Meditation 6: Unconditional happiness — This isn’t bad, but depends too much on concepts (e.g. thinking about someone you like). Doing full breath and watching emotions with equanimity always generates happiness for me, now, as it directly escapes concepts. Additionally, some unhappiness is required in life to do course corrections, a.k.a. “reality checks”. These periods of unhappiness should not last more than a couple of days, however, and should result in an action plan, derived from good rational thinking and tried-and-tested personal development methods. Avoiding unhappiness entirely is not realistic in a modern life context.

          In all, the meditations are pretty general and still stand.

          If I were to write the book again it would give perhaps 2 or 3 really solid meditations, and the rest of the book would talk about cultivating mindsets and social skills. Social anxiety is really mainly about “not knowing what to do if X happens” and being overly concerned about / focused on that. “X” is also often something that only has a vague chance of actually happening, and I would drive that point home also.

  6. Luke says:

    I’ll send over a couple of links when I’m not in work! Most vendors offer a trial pack of a variety of samples so you can get a feel for each strain. I buy 100g bags of each strain I like as price drops significantly with economies of scale. I currently dose about 5g twice a day and rotate 4 strains, taking only one strain per day to minimise tolerance build up. 4-6 grams is best for energising benefits but will settle to a more relaxing sedation after a couple of hours. So a 100g bag offers typically 10 days (or 20 servings) of use at roughly £16 (or 80p per serving).

    I wouldnt consider myself to be a victim of ‘social anxiety’ anymore, however I still enjoy/and benefit from reinforcement of principles and new ideas. I still find it easy to slip back into hold habits though. I totally agree with your above points, especially how labelling something immediately reinforces the problem. Ekhart Tolle writes brilliantly on the role of identity.

    Over time I’ve come to realise from a thinking perspective is that perception is everything. The paradigms through which we view our worldview automatically interprets our understanding of events and hence our reaction. When I expect the best and re-frame any negative events within a bigger context/goal, my life suddenly becomes exciting and emotions of fear turn into anticipation.

    I haven’t yet mastered proper meditation other than guided mediation (good for visualization) and brainwave entrainment audios (relaxing and somewhat grounding at best), so its my goal to spend more time on this. Any sources you can recommend? Have you much experience with NLP?

    I found you through the goodlookingloser’s friends page

  7. Lampa says:

    Would you suggest Mucuna to girls, too?

    • Illuminatus says:

      Give it a go, sure. See how it makes you feel generally in the day. If it makes you too aggressive (women aren’t as used to testosterone as men) then stop using it.

      It’s a potent aphrodisiac in both genders.

  8. paris says:

    Ive really enjoyed this page. Came across it through the pretty purple photo of the mucuna pruriens at the top of the page. Haven’t tried it before so i now too have a small package on its way from India.

    re the ‘Kratom’ I have however used that regularly with much the same dosage as Luke has described however i found tolerance is reached very quickly (3 days) so i’d stop taking it for a week or two in between does. A great site for kratom and virtually all ‘legal’ herbs is if it’s any help………..where you can even get the ayuahasca if you so wished.

  9. Rigz says:

    Hey Illum, you know a lot about neurotransmitters and libido so I thought I’d ask here.

    I’ve had a low libido for a couple of years now, which I figured was due to low testosterone. I started taking a few supplements, zinc, boron, etc and that definitely helped a bit, although I still felt it was low compared to what it was a few years ago. Anyway I got a blood test done and it turns out that I have 14 ng/dl of free testosterone which is actually on the HIGH end of the levels for my age. I started thinking that maybe I had a deficiency in other neurotransmitters like dopamine, so I tried some mucuna pruriens, no effect other than a headache and a bit of gurning. I’m not sure what this could mean, when I took MDMA a few years ago I didn’t really notice any increased libido, in fact I actually found it impossible to get hard, however it did make me socially fearless and able to talk to people effortlessly. Now I’m thinking that perhaps I do have a neurotransmitter problem but not an obvious one, seeing as so many people say that MDMA and dopamine heavy supplements give them a huge increase in libido.

    I’m also thinking of the possibility that I’m not deficient in any hormones or neurotransmitters, and perhaps it is an awareness issue. The idea being that being in a “thought trance” the majority of the time and not in a body awareness trance might be stopping the “activation” of the neurotransmitters/hormones that are actually in me. So they are there in the body, but they require a conscious effort to go “into” the areas of the body that create them in order to activate them. If I put my awareness in my balls I definitely notice an increase in sexual desire that spreads out from the genitals. At the same time I don’t really have any strong evidence other than that.

    I’m just wondering what you think is the best course of action, keep trying supplements that affect different neurotransmitters in a trial by error method of finding one that works, or focus solely on body awareness and trying to increase libido manually through the kinaesthetic and its relation to neurotransmitter dumps/hormones in the body.

    • Illuminatus says:

      I suggest you look into pyroluria:

      The questionnaire is at the bottom. Total them up and let me know how many you got, please — this is part of my research into this condition. I’ll do an article on it when I’ve learned a bit more about it.

      • Rigz says:

        21 of those apply to me. So the idea is that it results in an inability to make serotonin due to lack of b6? I’ll mega dose zinc and b6 for the next couple weeks and see what happens

        • Illuminatus says:

          P5P is the recommended form of B6 (Solgar brand being the best, according to my source). I use zinc picolinate.

          I was put onto this condition by a blog reader. His website is:

          I do not score very highly on the questionnaire, which is the main reason I haven’t taken more interest in pyroluria.

          It’s not clear to me what the B6 and zinc are doing for me (if anything). I actually still find niacin (B3) to be the most effective anti-inflammatory for me, about which my source tells me I likely have a different variety of methylation to those who respond more to B6.

          Like I say, I really haven’t gone into this step in much depth, so you will have to do your own research. There are lots of YouTube videos available.

          Side story: A girl at work casually commented that she doesn’t remember having dreams. That questionnaire just flooded into my mind (it’s nice having a high IQ at times) and I asked if she also had white spots on her fingernails. She said yes, so I sent her the questionnaire. She scored 25. I took her to the vitamin store at lunch and got her B6 and zinc. She was a regular migraine sufferer, too. It’s been 3 weeks now and she hasn’t had a single migraine. That is pretty amazing considering she was having them every day before the vitamins. Migraines aren’t even on that list, so there may be scope to heal other conditions with correct supplementation.

          • Illuminatus says:

            P.S. My main interest in the condition is that my experience running this blog and forum tells me many of my readers will score highly on the questionnaire. In fact, the first guy I polled from this community scored around 30. (I personally score <10, but this would have been much higher before I started doing daily concentration meditation/ kundalini).

            • Rigz says:

              I’ve been trying p5p, niacin, vitamin c, evening primrose oil and zinc for a couple of weeks now. My libido has increased but I’m not getting the revolutionary effects that have been reported by pyroluriacs. I don’t think I have pyroluria.

              Strangely enough I took ibuprofen yesterday and noticed a drastic decrease in anxiety and muscle tension, I just felt a lot lighter. I think my issues are due to inflammation more than a nutrient deficiency. I’m not sure how ibuprofen can reduce anxiety but a quick google search shows that other people have had the same effect.

          • James says:

            Magnesium/zinc helped with my migraines.

            I only got about 10 on that questionar, when I younger with a more messed up diet it would have been slightly higher.

  10. Barry says:

    As far as Mucuna goes, you have to understand that the level of l-dopa vs other natural constituents will dramatically affect things like whether you feel stimulated or drowsy. You need to find the right percentages for you. Generally the refined high l-dopa lighter colored products will energize more, the darker more natural formulations will actually tend to make you drowsy due to the herb containing serotonin and 5-HTP. The issue is that for the l-dopa to work, you need at least some of the natural constituents. What I do is take a 99% l-dopa capsule along with a very small amount of powdered whole herb that only has 15% l-dopa. I believe there may be a natural decarboxylase inhibitor in the herb that makes the l-dopa work more effectively without side effects. If mucuna doesn’t give someone the results this is almost always the issue.

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