Herbal preparations that contain Mucuna pruriens seeds are sold online in the Netherlands. RIVM has examined whether these preparations are harmful to health. Very little scientific information about Mucuna pruriens is publicly available. Accordingly, it is not possible to determine a safe dose. However, there are indications that Mucuna pruriens can have negative effects on the liver, kidneys and the development of unborn children. As a precaution, RIVM therefore advises not to use food supplements containing Mucuna pruriens during pregnancy and breastfeeding, or in case of liver or kidney problems.

In other cases, RIVM advises to use these supplements with caution. Among other things, the advice is to be alert for side effects and cease use when side effects occur. In addition, it is important to follow the instructions on the packaging. If you use medicines, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using supplements that contain Mucuna pruriens.


Despite the fact that little is known about Mucuna pruriens, we do know that one of the substances in Mucuna pruriens seeds is levodopa. Levodopa is used as a medicine in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The quantity of levodopa ingested through food supplements containing Mucuna pruriens is comparable to or higher than the quantity of levodopa ingested by people with Parkinson’s disease when they first start using the medicine. The side effects of this medicine, such as gastrointestinal symptoms, involuntary movement (dyskinesis) and psychological symptoms, can therefore also occur when using nutritional supplements containing Mucuna pruriens.

Additional research into herbal preparations

RIVM carried out this risk assessment on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Earlier this year, RIVM already published risk assessments on Ashwagandha, Huperzia serrata and Tabernanthe iboga. Two other similar risk assessments will be published in the autumn.