Time to indulge! Here’s a recipe that ticks all the boxes when it comes to sweet treats for the health-lover that you are: its easy (ridiculously so), its fast (got 15 minutes?), there no added sugar (only the goodness of maple syrup), and its rich in neurochemical-boosting, mood-liftin’, endorphin-surging herbs. Of course, there’s got be herbs in it! We’re making Magic Velvet Bean Chocolate!
Oh friends, it’s a dreary day. Wet, cold, misty on the hills and all the rest. I’m looking at muted skies and dreamy tree-scapes here as the chocolate-maker in me comes alive. Today I’m sharing a really goodie with you. It will warm you up from the inside, with velvety, sweet, waves of well-being as we feed your brain neurochemistry and satisfy those wintery afternoon sweet cravings with a healthy treat. This is Magic Velvet Bean chocolate just for you…..
Mucuna pruriens is the Magic Velvet Bean. What a name! It truly is magical as you’re about to find out. Mucuna is a legume and it belongs to the Fabaceae (Pea) family. Among all the botanical plant families, this one’s known for its rich protein content, and that tells us that Mucuna is probably rich in amino acids, the building blocks for neurochemicals like dopamine, melatonin and serotonin. Neurochemicals like these all play an important role in helping us feel happy and content. Turns out it’s VERY rich in these constituents. Phytochemical studies on the plant show its rich in L-dopa, tryptamines, phenols, alkaloids and tannins. What does that mean in simple terms? It means this plant has the potential to affect our central nervous systems, influencing our mood, motivation and behaviours.
Historically its been used as a herbal aphrodisiac and fertility booster, specifically for male infertility. It’s also been used for disorders of the nervous system like anxiety and worry. It’s used in Ayurveda for such conditions as well as arthritis and Parkinson’s disease, because it contains L-dopa which has an anti-parkinsonian action.
Magic Velvet Bean, Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0
A 2004 study on parkinsons patients found that treatment with Mucuna powder offered quick boosts to dopamine levels without adverse effects, a sign of better tolerability and efficacy, compared to conventional L-dopa medications. It was admittedly, a very small n-number though (low participant number). Some large scale human studies are really needed here. This amazing plant’s been studied for Parkinsons disease since the 19th century but so far there’s a small smattering of animal studies which (beyond the realms of ethics) don’t give us the kind of prescribing information we need as clinicians.
Other studies suggest therapeutic efficacy in reproductive conditions like poor semen quality, anxiety, sickle cell anaemia and human breast cancer. A 2007 study of 60 male subjects taking 5g of Mucuna powder daily demonstrated its ability to reduce psychological stress significantly, increase antioxidant levels, and boost sperm count and motility.
Overall, studies show that Mucuna has antioxidant, neuroprotective and euphoric properties. So of course we’re putting it in a chocolate recipe! It’s also thought to be anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory. Bonus!
Magic Velvet Bean Chocolate
Cacao powder, Cacao butter, Maple syrup….nearly there!
For rainy days…or any days really
- ½ cup Cacao butter
- 2.5 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- ½ Tbsp Mucuna pruriens powder
- Pinch of Pink Himalaya salt
- ½ tsp Vanilla essence
- Pop a saucepan on the stove on medium heat and bring to boil. Then place a stainless steel or ceramic bowl on top. You can buy specialized bowls that hook onto the sides of your saucepan if you’re keen. I got this one from IKEA. You can also use a small milkpan or Turkish coffee pot for your bowl.
- Put the cacao butter into the bowl and leave to gentle melt. Once it’s melted, stir in the maple syrup. Tip: Ideally the boiling water isn’t touching your stainless steel bowl. I know you can see it here, but my bowl is held around 2/3rd of the way up the saucepan to avoid this. But if you’re holding a small pan or coffee pot in there and it’s hitting the water, it will likely still work out fine.
- Next turn off the heat and move the saucepan setting off the stove. Mix in the cacao powder and Mucuna powder, salt and vanilla essence. Once it’s all dissolved and liquified, its ready to pour into molds.
- Pour carefully into the molds and place in a fridge for 10 – 15 minutes.
Make your own double boiler set up but putting a steel mixing bowl onto your pot, but ideally don’t let the boiling water touch it.
The experience of Magic Velvet bean Chocolate is dreamy and melty. Consider having it with a cup of tea on a cold, dry, winters night as the perfect harmonizer for your circulation and mood. You might even want to throw one your chocolates into a hot cup of milk and melt it into a dreamy hot chocolate. Hmmm, might just try that myself!
Melt-in-your-mouth goodies here
- Lampariello LR, Cortelazzo A, Guerranti R, Sticozzi C, Valacchi G. The magic velvet bean of Mucuna pruriens. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine. 2012 Oct 1;2(4):331-9.
- Katzenschlager R, Evans A, Manson A, Patsalos PN, Ratnaraj N, Watt H, Timmermann L, Van der Giessen R, Lees AJ. Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson’s disease: a double blind clinical and pharmacological study. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry. 2004 Dec 1;75(12):1672-7.
- Rai SN, Chaturvedi VK, Singh P, Singh BK, Singh MP. Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson’s and in some other diseases: recent advancement and future prospective. 3 Biotech. 2020 Dec;10(12):1-1.
- Shukla KK, Mahdi AA, Ahmad MK, Jaiswar SP, Shankwar SN, Tiwari SC. Mucuna pruriens reduces stress and improves the quality of semen in infertile men. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2010 Mar 1;7(1):137-44.
Hey there! Welcome to my world of totally natural and powerful healing medicines. Medicines from nature. Medicine from Source. I’m a naturopath and herbalist with extensive clinical experience working with a range of health conditions including hormonal, metabolic, mental health, sleep and more.
I’ve brought together years of clinical and teaching experience, academic skill and curiosity to bring you this blog. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!