Extraction of bioactive principles from Mucuna pruriens seeds

Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2007 Feb;44(1):56-60.


Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC. Syn. M. prurita Hook. (Papilionaceae) is used in male impotency, as aphrodisiac, in sexual debility, and as nervine tonic. It also possesses anti-parkinson property, possibly due to the presence of L-DOPA. In the present study, attempts were made to develop the suitable method(s) for extraction of L-DOPA/other active components from the seeds using different solvents. The various extracts were also screened for their neuroprotective and antioxidant activities. In addition, TLC and HPLC fingerprinting of the extracts for amino acid components were also developed for preliminary and sophisticated analysis. The L-DOPA could be obtained in good yield on extraction with EtOH-H2O mixture (1:1) using ascorbic acid as protector. Interestingly, n-propanol extract, which contained negligible amount of L-DOPA, had shown significant neuroprotective activity, suggesting that some components, other than L-DOPA, might also be responsible for anti-Parkinson property of seeds. The extract (MW-0100) containing mainly amino acids and water-ethanol extract (1:1) (MWEL-1299) showed promising antioxidant activity (EC50 = 2.5 microg) against DPPH radicals. MWEL-1299 also exhibited encouraging results against 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP+) toxicity. The TLC fingerprinting may be used to authenticate the plant material in herbal industry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / isolation & purification
  • Amino Acids / isolation & purification
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Mucuna / chemistry*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Seeds / chemistry


  • Alkaloids
  • Amino Acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Levodopa