Kapikacchu – Mucuna pruriens Benefits, Dose, Side Effects – Ayurveda

Kapikacchu – Mucuna pruriens is a very famous multi-faceted herb of Ayurveda, with immense health benefits. Its usage is spread from aphrodisiac to neurological conditions. Its extract – L-dopa is widely used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
It is widely used in treating sexual and neurological disorders.
Botanical name: Mucuna pruriens Hook.
Family: Fabaceae (Simbi kula /Aparajita Upakula)

Vernacular names

Hindi name: Kaunch, Kevanch
English name: Cow-hage, Cow itch, Velvet beans
Kannada – Nasukunni
Malayalam – Naikurana
Tamil name – Poonai Kaali Vithu, poonaiKali Vithu, poonaiKali Vidai

Medicinal qualities, Effect on Doshas

Guna (qualities) – Guru (heavy to digest), Snigdha (unctuous, oiliness)
Rasa (taste) – Madhura – sweet, Tikta – Bitter
Vipaka – madhura taste conversion after digestion
Veerya  – Hot potency
Prabhava – Special effect – Vrushya – aphrodisiac

Effect on Tridosha – balances all the three Doshas

Mucuna pruriens benefits

Vrushya – aphrodisiac
Bruhmani – Nutritive, nourishing
Guru (heavy to digest)
Vatahara – balances Vata – useful in neurological disorders
Pittasranashini – useful in bleeding diseases
Balya – improves strength and immunity
Bahumala – causes increased production of feces, increases bulk of feces
Vataghni – Useful in Vata related neurological disorders
Dushtavrananashini – useful in healing infected wounds with pus formation.

Seed is especially a natural aphrodisiac and balances Vata.
Its oil is heavy to digest, sweet and astringent.

Its root decoction causes uterine constriction on external application. It also induces menstruation, hence used in the treatment of  amenorrhoea.

The studies have shown that the seed has following health benefits-

  • Increases libido and sexual virility
  • Promotes the sperm count in men and ovulation in women
  • Increases blood circulation to the genitals and hence acts as a good aphrodisiac
  • Decreases symptoms of stress and anxiety and hence acts as a mood elevator
  • Strengthens the urogenital system due to its potent nervine effect
  • Supports  central and peripheral nervous system and thereby acts as a very good tonic etc.

Vanari kalpa, Kapikacchu pak, Atmagupta bala mashadi kashaya, Kapiukacchu choorna are the important preparations of Kapikacchu available in the market.

Parts used, Dosage

Parts used: Seed, root, pod hair.

Mucuna pruriens dosage:
Seed powder – Up to 6 – 10 grams per day for adults.
Seed Extract – 250 – 500 mg, once or twice a day after food.
Decoction – 5 – 15 ml, once or twice a day, in divided doses.

Kapikacchu cowhage home remedies

By Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu), PhD

Marital fatigue

1. Kapikacchu remedy for sexual fatigue, tiredness:
3-5 gram of fine powder of cowhage is taken along with a cup of warm milk twice daily, before food. This is useful to improve sexual power, premature ejaculation, lethargy and fatigue.

Body ache

2. Cow itch remedy for bodyache, muscle pains:
Kapikacchu-Shatavari and Gokshura are taken in equal amounts, together – 1 teaspoon, mixed with 2 cups of water, boiled and reduced to half a cup. Filtered. This is advised in a dose of 50 ml, once or twice a day to treat neuralgia, fatigue, bodyache, backache etc.

Senile debility

3. Kapikacchu milk remedy for back ache and senile debility:
5 grams of coarse powder of mucuna is cooked with cow’s milk. It is added with a teaspoon of ghee and half a teaspoon of sugar. This is useful in treating backache and senile debility.

For weight gain

4. Mucuna sweet cake  for weight gain and body stability:
Fine powder of mucuna – 2 tablespoons  is cooked well with a cup of milk till it turns into a semi solid mass.It is fried with a tablespoon of ghee till it turns brown. This is cooked in mild heat with constant stirring till the whole mass turns into a cake. If needed, cardamom, saffron, and clove can be added as per taste.

This is spread over the plate smeared with little ghee. On self cooling this can be stored. This delicious cake is an effective nutrient in gaining weight and to overcome senile debility.

Mind irritation

5. Mucuna seed remedy for mind irritation and concentration:
Regular usage of seed decoction in the dose of 40-50 ml helps to relieve the disorientation and irritation of the mind.


6. Root powder / decoction for sciatica:
Kapikacchu root powder also has rejuvinative benefit and nervine tonic effect. Its powder or decoction is useful in the treatment of back ache and sciatica.
Read related: Sciatica – Ayurvedic Understanding And Successful Treatment Options

Sanskrit verse

Mucuna pruriens - Ayurveda Details
Mucuna pruriens – Ayurveda Details
kapikacchu Ayurveda details

Side effects

It may cause burning sensation or constipation in some people. 
There are no definitive research made on side effects of Mucuna pruriens. But because the drug has aphrodisiac and neurological effects and because it has high amounts of L Dopa, this medicine should always be taken under strict medical supervision.
It is best to avoid this medicine during pregnancy and lactation. Children should be given this medicine only under strict medical supervision.

However, all the side effects of Levodopa can not be correlated with side effects of Mucuna pruriens. It is a natural herb with a healthy mix of phyto-chemicals and Levodopa is just one among them.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Cowhage powder (Kapikacchu) in Parkinson’s disease

Ayurveda medicines

Ayurveda medicines with Mucuna pruriens as ingredient:
Mushalyadi Churna – Used in PE, ED etc.
Manmath Ras, Iksuhradi Lehyam – Used in Aphrodisiac therapy
Mashabaladi kashaya  – Used in neurological disorders such as Hemiplegia, facial palsy, Tinnitus etc.
Amritaprasha Ghrita – Used in  burning sensation, fever, bleeding disorders, cough, asthma, weakness and gynecological diseases.
Because of its use in increasing stamina, it is used as an ingredient in numerous bodybuilding supplements.

Should Kapikacchu be necessarily taken by people after marriage? Can it be used as a nerve tonic by unmarried people?
It can be taken even by unmarried people or people without any sexual disorders, for other health benefits of Kapikacchu such as improving nerve strength.

Chemical composition

In kapikacchu the primary compound is known as levodopa, or L-dopa, a precursor to dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Due to its chemical constituents good appreciation is made in the management of  movement disorders, altered memory functions, sleep disorders, mood related problems, and learning disabilities.

Sanskrit Synonyms

Kapikacchu – The pale brown bristles of the fruit causes intense itching on skin contact
Guptapala, Svagupta, Atmagupta – Fruits are self protected by the bristles.
Markati – having bristles similar to monkey
Kandura – causes itching
Durabigraha – Difficult to pluck as its hairs cause itching
Adhyanda – Seeds resembles testicles
Vrushyabija, Ajata – Seeds are potent aphrodisiac
Sukashimbi – Fruits having stiff hairs
Langali – Fruits resembles shape of tail of monkey
Shukashimbi –  the fruit shape resembles a bird’s beak.

Classical categorization

Charaka Samhita –
Balya – Tonic group of herbs
Madhuraskandha – Group of herbs with sweet taste

Sushruta Samhita
Vidarigandhadhi group of herbs
Vatasamshamana – Group of herbs that balance Vata.


An annual twinner|
Branches – Slender, More or less hairy at first, glabrescent
Leaves – Trifoliate, compound, stipules are lanceolate, all leaflets are subacute, mucronate, pubescent above, densely clothed with silvery grey hairs beneath
Inflorescence – 6 – 30 flowered raceme
Fruit – Pod, curved on both ends, densely clothed with persistent irritant bristles which are at first pale brown, afterwards steel gray. Have 5- 6 seeds
Seeds – Small brownish black, hilum is not the length of the circumference of the seed. Kidney shaped. Seed coats are hard. The embryo consists of two hard dusky brown cotyledons. With no odor.

Patanjali Divya Shuddh Konch Beej Churan – manufactured by Patanjali Ayurved Limited.

Sthanika karma (Systemic Acton)

External Use
Its fruit if contacts with skin can cause severe itching and irritation

Nervous system – Seeds and roots are nerve strengthening. Indicated in Neurological disorders.
Digestive system – Fruit hairs have Anthelmintic action. In Round worm infestation (Gandupada krimi)

To treat Roundworm infestation (known as Gandupada krimi), a mixture of fruit hair, jaggery, and butter can be administered, followed by a purgative treatment. This effectively eradicates and eliminates the worms from the body.Reproductive system – Seed is aphrodisiac. Root is a uterine stimulant; which is indicated in dysmenorrhea.
Circulatory system – In edema root decoction along with its alkali and gomutra (cow urine) can be given.
Excretory system – Seed increases urine production. Root decoction is indicated in Dysuria.
Satmikarana – Promotes body strength

53 comments on “Kapikacchu – Mucuna pruriens Benefits, Dose, Side Effects – Ayurveda

  • Mithu Kuttan

    07/11/2014 - 1:23 pm

    Sir, i was wondering if there is any psychoactive plant/medicine in Ayurveda which helps you being in an altered state of mind (meditative).

    Thank you.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      08/12/2014 - 10:25 am

      Herbs like Brahmi, Shankhapushpi etc improve concentration level. But there is nothing that I know, other than one’s own determination and God’s grace, that would make someone to meditate more.

      Reply to comment
      • Stephen

        17/04/2020 - 5:37 am

        I can say from long experience that these in the traditional formulas with vacha, ashwagandha etc gives easier meditation and markedly more results from the practice

        Reply to comment
  • Raj Paul

    11/07/2016 - 12:21 am

    white or black kaunch seeds………….which one is effective?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      11/07/2016 - 6:59 pm

      Black variety is the better one, as per Prof. LK Dwivedi.

      Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    24/01/2017 - 9:19 pm

    Hi, after meal, with milk, should solve the acidity issue.

    Reply to comment
  • Yuvraj Singh

    10/02/2017 - 2:49 pm

    I am using kappikacchu by Himalaya. Side effects are itching, bloating and black stools ? Should I continue ?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      06/03/2017 - 12:16 pm

      Hi, if you are getting these side effects, it is better to stop it.

      Reply to comment
      • rohit

        27/05/2017 - 10:50 pm

        can every one use Kapikachhu and its side effect are

        Reply to comment
  • GauravS

    24/03/2017 - 2:51 am

    Hi, was wondering if seed powder dosage is correct? Other herbs such as Ashwagandha have dosages listed for both tablets and powder. Wondering if this dosage refers to tablets and not powder?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      19/04/2017 - 10:01 pm

      Thank you for pointing out. Mistake is corrected.
      Seed powder dose is up to 8 – 10 grams per day.

      Reply to comment
  • Hemanth

    28/03/2017 - 5:25 pm

    My dad is a 12 years known Parkinson patient, recently underwent pallidotomy, please suggest if he can continue to consume Kapikachhu churna. He complains of pain in his limbs

    Reply to comment
  • Viswanaath VS

    15/05/2017 - 12:48 pm

    The tamil name for this is “Poonai Kaali Vithu”

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      29/05/2017 - 9:48 am

      Thank you very much. Added to the list of vernacular names.

      Reply to comment
  • Kevin Ford

    31/05/2017 - 9:49 am

    Hello, I was wanting to know if it is safe to take Mucuna Pruriens, Holy Basil and Ashwagandha together. I have done research on all 3 but I am not sure how safe it is to take them together.

    Thank you for your time.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      08/06/2017 - 6:49 pm

      It is fine to take them together.

      Reply to comment
  • Sanjay

    21/07/2017 - 5:11 pm

    Sir Whats is the tamil pronouncement of this word….in herbal shop by saying what we can get marina pruriens

    Reply to comment

    26/07/2017 - 11:26 pm

    Whether it causes irritation

    Reply to comment
  • kannan

    09/08/2017 - 9:38 pm

    himalaya kapikachhu contain bronopol preservative is it safe or patanjali kaunch better one?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      10/08/2017 - 10:19 am

      All Ayurvedic tablets contain one or the other preservatives in permissible limits.

      Reply to comment
  • David

    12/08/2017 - 3:57 pm

    Can we use this powder for development of facial hair growth

    Reply to comment
  • Shoaib

    22/08/2017 - 1:22 am


    Is it ok to take Gokhsura and Kapikachu by Himalaya in morning after breakfast.

    Also Confido and Speman by Himalaya in evening after dinner.

    Is it ok to take all four pills daily for 60 days

    Reply to comment
  • asd

    18/10/2017 - 1:50 am

    Sir kindly tell any herb for my height i am 21 years also i have some hormonal problem how to fix them as well plz plz reply

    Thank you 🙂

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    19/10/2017 - 2:46 pm

    Better to remove cover and grind it.

    Reply to comment
  • Malathi

    31/10/2017 - 10:44 am

    Hello Dr., Thanks for your reply. Can this be taken during proteinuria problem?

    Reply to comment
  • Purnendu Debnath

    12/11/2017 - 1:42 pm

    Is kaunch beej powder create some digestive issues? I think it may have started in me. Is it true that kaunch beej may create some digestive issues? Is it good for digestion or for stomach? please reply me fast. I am in a confusion.

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    15/11/2017 - 9:28 pm

    I really doubt, if it can be of any use. However, it is worth trying for 1 week time.

    Reply to comment
  • mohit

    17/11/2017 - 1:29 pm

    Hello doctor.
    After consuming kaunch,Ashwagandha and kaunch with milk at night. I had bloating stomach and had some blood once in stool.
    What to doi?
    Is it really linked with its consumption.

    Reply to comment

    12/12/2017 - 7:36 am






    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      24/12/2017 - 5:17 pm

      5 grams 3 times a day after food.

      Reply to comment
  • Pascale

    23/12/2017 - 6:41 am

    Hello doctor,
    Can kapikacchu be useful for essential tremor?

    Reply to comment
  • Malathi

    27/02/2018 - 5:39 pm

    Between kapikachu choornam and zandopa, which is better

    Reply to comment
  • Suresh

    04/03/2018 - 8:17 pm

    Hello Dr Webber,
    It’s a good article. Since the focus of kapikatch is essentially strenthening well being of the user, .can someone take it similar to ginseng or chawanprash
    Thank you.

    Reply to comment
  • Malathi

    15/03/2018 - 11:37 pm

    Hello Dr, if a middle aged woman consumes kapikachu choornam for general debility, is there any chance of developing facial hair or masculine features?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      16/03/2018 - 6:07 pm

      No. The woman will not develop facial hair or masculine features.

      Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    02/04/2018 - 10:19 pm

    It is partially useful in growing facial hair in men. It can be taken with water.

    Reply to comment
  • Ravi Pradhan

    06/05/2018 - 11:02 am

    Hello Doctor. Do kaunch beej need any type of purification such as boiling in milk before grinding them.

    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    04/06/2018 - 9:30 am

    2 – 3 grams per day.

    Reply to comment
  • Hasan

    08/06/2018 - 10:52 am

    Can a unmarried male use this for treating depression and anxiety alongwith Ashwagandha ?

    Reply to comment
  • Cian Bennett

    20/06/2018 - 7:17 pm

    Hi Dr J, Great site..only just found it the other day. I was wondering if the constipation caused by mucuna is common first of all and if it subsides with time? Would it be best taken 30 minutes after a meal? I’m using a seed powder mucuna from biopure.
    Warm regards,

    Reply to comment
  • Cian

    26/06/2018 - 3:14 pm

    Hi Dr,
    I was just wondering how common constipation is with Mucuna Seed powder? I used it before and it may have been causing issues, however it may have been another supplement I was using!

    When I do decide to go back on it should the constipation go away with time, and is there anything I can do to mitigate this if it does occur?

    Warm regards,

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      22/07/2018 - 3:50 pm

      I had another client complaining of mild constipation with Mucuna. Try it for one month, your body should be able to adjust with it, in that period.

      Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    01/08/2018 - 12:00 pm

    Usually it does not cause headache.

    Reply to comment
  • Ravu

    04/09/2018 - 1:20 am

    Is kaunch beej powder effective in weight loss??

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      04/09/2018 - 11:06 am

      Usually it is not used for weight loss treatment.

      Reply to comment
  • Jenna

    23/01/2019 - 1:04 pm

    If in small amounts in a formula, can children have this?

    Reply to comment
  • Anthony Tooley

    06/02/2020 - 12:18 am

    Thank you Dr. J V Hebbar. Very good information on mucuna. To Mitchu Kuttan – You may be interested in nymphaea caerulea. Blue lotus, pink lotus, and white lotus can all be used to induce a psychoactive state conducive to meditation. In fact, many Buddhist and Taoist monks have an ancient powder, made from pink and blue lotus that induces a zen state.

    Reply to comment
  • Sriram

    07/05/2021 - 12:39 pm

    I have been advised to take Kapikachu churna with warm water twice daily after food for Parkinson’s. Does the churna brings vast change if taken regularly? How long should I take this? Please advise

    Reply to comment

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