Posted: 29 Jul 2014 08:00 AM PDT
Infertility and low libido, common symptoms associated with male dysfunction, have been heavily researched and written about for centuries. Henry VIII, the famous King of England during the sixteenth century, is a prime example of this statement. He did his best to hide his infertility from the public, blaming his many wives for his impotency by promptly placing them on the chopping block. With today's science, men can no longer blame these issues on other people or outside circumstances. Luckily, there are some safe and simple options available that may help prevent and decrease problems associated with male sexual dysfunction.
For hundreds of years, Ayurvedic medicine has employed a potent remedy for promoting male sexual health: Mucuna pruriens. According to Ayurvedic texts, this tropical plant acts as an aphrodisiac, improves fertility and sperm quality, and may be used to address male impotency. Current research is beginning to support its application in this area of male reproductive health.
A Natural Fertility Booster
Medical practitioners often examine sperm count and mobility to determine male fertility. Chances for reproduction become minute when the quality (and quantity) of sperm is relatively low. If sperm isn't mobile, it can't get to where it needs to be in order for reproduction to take place.
With its rich history of being used for improving fertility, several researchers have begun examining Mucuna pruriens and their actual reproductive effects. One study examined the effectiveness of M. pruriens seed powder on improving sperm quality. Men who were given the tropical plant showed a marked improvement in sperm volume and movement.  Another study administering similar doses of M. pruriens in 60 men found that participants enjoyed improved fertility, increased sperm count, and increased sperm mobility.  These men also experienced a significant reduction in stress. Stress, whether it is metabolically induced or environmentally triggered, may negatively influence fertility.
An additional research study investigated the effect of Mucuna pruriens on 150 men, with 75 of the men identified as infertile and another 75 identified as fertile (control group). Researchers noted that semen quality significantly improved following M. pruriens intake. Steroid hormone production also increased, an important factor for increasing the levels of testosterone (male sex hormone) in the body. Testosterone is one of the steroid hormones responsible for strengthening and maintaining fertility. Increasing testosterone naturally can also be very helpful for improving libido in males. 
Increases Growth Hormone
Here's some good news for you fitness fanatics out there: M. pruriens appears to increase growth hormone in men during regular physical activity. Growth hormone encourages cellular regeneration and protects against DNA damage and oxidative stress. The effects of growth hormone doesn't stop there, as more and more research is shedding light on its benefits for male fertility and libido.
In one research study, 15 men were given a supplement containing M. pruriens once a week for two weeks. After taking the supplement, circulating serum growth hormone levels began to increase.  Animal models have also found a significant improvement in hormone levels, libido, and potency, all factors that are affected by the presence of growth hormone. 
The biggest issue with most drugs, including those that are designed to treat male sexual dysfunction, is the wide assortment of side effects. Having an erection for more than four hours, for example, is just one of the many embarrassing reported effects following initial or regular use of male sexual health medications. Despite its effectiveness for improving male sexual health, Mucuna pruriens has shown to exhibit little to no side effects. 
One Final Thought
For the male readers out there, be sure to consult with your natural health practitioner before using M. pruriens for improving your sexual health. While this tropical legume can be a healthy addition to your lifestyle, your specific issues may also be a mere symptom of an underlying problem. Whether it's nutritional, environmental, or biological, your health is individualized and should be discussed with a qualified, trusted medical physician.
What is your take on Mucuna pruriens? Have you seen any improvements after taking it? Let us know in the comments!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
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