Mucuna Prurita Hook

Botanical Name: Mucuna Prurita Hook

Sanskrit Name: Kapikkachu

Family Name: Fabaceae


Vernacular names :

  1. Hindi – Kounch
  2. English –Cow hage or cow-itch
  3. Malayalam –Naikorana
  4. Tamil –Punai kali


Atmagupta, Risyaprokta, Kandura, Markati, Svayamgupta, Languli, Risabhi, Adhyanda, Guptaphala, Svagupta, Ajadaphala.

Ganas in classical texts:

Charaka: Balya, Madhuraskandha, Purisavirajaniya

Susruta: Vidarigandhadi, Vatasamgamana

Vagbhata:Vidaryadi, Durvadigana


Mucuna Prurita Hook is quoted with the name Adhyanda by Charaka (C.S.Ci.3/266) while Susruta mentioned the synonyms Kusimbivalli (S.S.Su.46/46) and Languli (S.S.Su.19/29). Similarly Vagbhata introduced another name Kandukari (A.H.Su.15/9). Even the name Kapikacchu are not used widely during Samhita period. Susruta did not use this synonym at all. BrihatTrayihave described this plant mainly with the names like Atmagupta and Svayamgupta.

All the three texts have mentioned the synonym Markati once each (C.S.Ci. 9/52; S.S.Ut.29/7 & (also 33/7) A.H.Ut.6/34).

Though we come across the mentioning of a herb by name ‘Kacchura’ under Purisavirajaniya group of Charaka (C.S.Su.4), its identity with Kapikacchu is doubtful. Thakurji considers it may be even Duralabha.

Mucuna Prurita Hook is mainly known for its Balya, Vrisya, Vatahara properties and the seed powder is now used widely in the management of Parkinsonism.

Controversial Studies

Bapalalji reported that by mistake the term Langali or Languli is identified with M. Pruriens. Langali without any controversy identified as Gloriosasuperba and there is no second opinion over this issue. Languli (S.S.Su. 19/29) may be the synonym of Kapikacchu according to Thakur Balvanth Singh. However the name Langula (C.S.Su.277) indicates a variety of rice (salidhanya).


Though there are no varieties mentioned in the classical literature Zandu pharmaceuticals have developed several varieties (chemotypes) for their research on Kapikacchu in parkinsonism. Another species M. monosperma D.C. is also widely used.

Botanical details

Mucuna Prurita Hook is a herbaceous twinning annual.

Leaves– trifoliate, grey silky below; leaflets elliptic, broadly ovate or rhomboid ovate, unequal at the base.

Flowers– in axillary, pendulous racemes, purple.

Fruits– pods, curved, turgid, longitudinally ribbed, 5-10 cm, densely clothed with gray or pale-brown bristles (causes intense itching and dermatitis).

Seeds– 4-6, ovoid

Chemical constituents

Seeds- L-dopa, mucunine, mucunadine, prurienine, purienine, tryptamine

Seed oil- stearic, palmitic, myristic, arachidic, oleic, linoleic acids & sterol.

Podtrichomes- 5- hydroxytryptamine

Whole plant- choline


Rasa –madhura, tikta

Guna – guru, snigdha

Virya – usna, sita

Vipaka –madhura

Karma –vata- pittahara, balya, brimhana, vajikarana


Vatavyadhi, Parkinsonism, Klaibya, Kastartava, Mutrakrichra.

* Note- Sodhala quoted that Atiyoga (excessive usage) of Kapikacchu leads to Mada and Vibhrama (inebrient state).

Part used–Seeds, root, pod-hair


Seed powder 3-6g; root decoction 50-100m1; pod hair powder 125 mg

Therapeutic uses

Vatavyadhi- Decoction of the seeds of Kapikacchu for one month will improve the strength of arms

Krimi- The pod hair powder (125mg) is given with jaggary, honey or butter

Atisara- Root paste is used inPakvaRaktatisara

Vajikarana- Seeds are boiled in milk alongwith wheat and taken with ghee (S.S.Ci.26).


Vanarigutika, MasabaladiPachana

Research works

  1. Total alkaloids of seeds showed weak neuromuscular blocking effects on frog rectus abdominus (Bhattcharya&Sanyal, 1969).
  2. Indolic bases derived from M. pruriens showed antispasmodic action on smooth muscle preparations against spasms induced by acetylcholine, histamine, serotonin and oxytocin. Nuromuscular blocking activity of the d-tubocurarine type, was observed by 5- methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine and an unidentified 5-oxy-indole-3-alkylamine, whereas the unidentified 13-carbolene only potentiated the acetylcoholine response on frog rectus abdominis (Ghosal et al., 1970,1971).
  3. Bufotenine showed both in vitro and in vivo anticholinesterase activity similar to but 20-30 times weaker than that of physostigmine (Bhattacharya &Sanyal, 1971).
  4. The total indolealkylamines produced marked behavioural changes including excitation, tremors, piloerection etc. (Bhattacharya et al., 1971a).
  5. The powdered seed extract showed hypotensive activity in dogs and spasmodic action in guinea pig preparation (Ramaswamy et al., 1979).
  6. The seed extract showed a potent antiparkinsonian effect which was not however, entirely due to L-lopa. The L-dopa free fraction of the seed showed significant antiparkinsonian activity at a dose of 200mg/kg i.p. (Nath et al., 1981).
  7. pruriens seed diet produced hypoglycaemic effect in normal rats (Pant et al., 1968).
  8. Seed diet showed hypocholesterolemic effect in rats (Pant et al., 1968).
  9. The protein isolated from the seeds in the diet led to a reduction in the cholesterol content of the liver and blood in rats (Singh et al., 1968).