Kapikacchu  photo

Mucuna pruriens – Semen (Fabaceae)

Common name: Kapikacchu (H), Cowhage (E)

Sanskrit: Kapikacchu, Atmagupta

This broad bean sized seed is a superb restorative to the reproductive system. Like many seeds it has the ability to potentiate the reproductive tissue as well as the nervous system. It is also used to treat tremors and spasms. The surface of the seed pods are ‘velvety’ like a monkey’s skin. It is also an allergenic which causes an itch, hence the name ‘one who scratches like a monkey’. Atmagupta means ‘secret self’ referring to its therapeutic seed concealed within the irritating bean pod.

Botanical Description

Kapikacchu is a creeping, evergreen climber that can reach heights of up to 3 metres. It has characteristically soft and downy leaves that can grow to 45cm in length. It produces clusters of purple or white, pea-like flowers during the summer that are then followed by flattened pods that grow up to 9cm in length and are soft and velvety to the touch. The pods contain 3-6 seeds that are a dark brown-orange in colour and are covered in irritant bristles. Kapikacchu is native to India and common to tropical climates where it is commonly grown as cattle fodder. There are black and white varieties of this plant.

How it Works

Kapikacchu contains the amino acid levodopa (L-dopa), an essential precursor of dopamine. L-dopa has demonstrated the ability to breakdown monoamine oxidase (MAO), a primary indicator in Parkinson’s disease, but also in conditions characterised by nervous paralysis, cramping, tremors and spasms.

Certain alkaloids in kapikacchu increase the numbers of spermatozoa and levels of testosterone and androgens. Kapikacchu has also demonstrated improvements in levels of libido and stamina in both women and men, with increased levels of sex hormones.

Into the Heart of Kapikacchu

Kapikacchu is considered as a restorative to the nervous and reproductive system, with a specific indication in Parkinson’s disease. It is an excellent remedy for any nervous condition that is characterised by areas of numbness, paralysis, tremours or loss of nervous control. The presence of L-dopa in kapikacchu makes it excellent for any form of dopamine deficiency or dopamine influenced condition. The ability of kapikacchu to calm nervous spasms, has also made it a useful herb in treating digestive cramping and spasms that are exacerbated by nervous tension and stress.

In Ayurveda, kapikacchu is viewed as the ultimate restorative and tonic to the male and female reproductive system. It will rejuvenate and strengthen the organs themselves

but also improve overall libido, vigour and stamina.


Reproduction: Kapikacchu is a tonic to the whole reproductive system in both men and women, treating low libido, infertility, impotence, spermatorrhoea and premature ejaculation. It is considered to be one of the ultimate Ayurvedic reproductive tonics for both men and women.

Nerve: As it contains L-Dopa, it is a specific remedy for Parkinson’s disease (noted for the severe loss of dopamine from the basal ganglia). Its overall influence on the nervous system indicates its use in paralysis, spasms, twitching, tremors and cramps.

GIT: The anti-spasmodic function of kapikachu can help alleviate intestinal spasms, pain and gas.

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