The seed is traditionally used as prayer beads in Hinduism
The benefits have not been proven by science but rudraksha is believed to provide good support for those who are constantly on the move and who eat and sleep in a variety of places. This is because it is claimed to create a cocoon of the wearer's own energy. It is said that if the situation around one is not conducive to one's kind of energy, one will experience difficulty settling down. This was noted as being especially difficult for sadhus and sanyasis, as they were constantly moving, and were traditionally never supposed to rest their heads in the same places twice. Likewise, the rudraksha may be helpful for travellers and professionals who eat and sleep in a variety of places.
Sadhus or sanyasis living in the forest would have to resort to naturally available water sources. A common belief was that, if the rudraksha is held above the water, it would go clockwise if the water was good and drinkable. If it was unfit for consumption, it would go counter-clockwise. This test was also believed to be valid for other edibles.
When worn on a mālā, it was also said to ward off and act as a shield against "negative energies".