Cowhage (Mucuna pruriens)

background

Cowhage (Mucuna pruriens) seeds have been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat Parkinson's disease. This traditional use is supported by laboratory analysis that shows cowhage contains 3.6-4.2% levodopa, the same chemical used in several Parkinson's disease drugs that is a precursor to dopamine. In a few clinical trials in Parkinson's disease patients, three cowhage treatments yielded positive results. However, more research should be conducted to elucidate the treatment that is the most effective. In addition, cowhage seeds have nutritional quality comparable to soy beans and other conventional legumes, but several antinutritional/antiphysiological compounds prevent these seeds from being used as a food source.

Related Terms

Dolichos pruriens, Fabaceae (family), kapikachu, kiwach, Mucuna birdwoodiana, Mucuna pruriens, Mucuna sempervirens, velvet bean.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Parkinson's disease (Grade: C)
Traditional Ayurvedic medicine and preliminary evidence suggests that cowhage contains 3.6-4.2% levodopa, the same chemical used in several Parkinson's disease drugs. Cowhage treatments have yielded positive results in early studies. However, more research should be conducted to determine the treatment that is the most effective.