Uses of Kavach and the Significance of Levodopa

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Biological Source, Morphology, Distribution and Properties of Kavach:

Kavach consists of the dried seeds of Mucuna pruriens (M.prurita) belonging to the family Fabaceae (Leguminosae).

Cow itch or kaj kujli. The pod is covered by h...

Cow itch or kaj kujli. The pod is covered by hair like structures that result in an allergic reaction. The skin start itching.The pods are roasted on a fire to get rid of the hairs and the inner nuts eaten during famine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is also known as cow itch plant and cowharge. It is found throughout the India and is commercially cultivated in tropical parts like Maharashtra. The seeds of kavach are black in colour, odourless and are bitter in taste. Seeds are reinform in shape.

Chemical constituents present in Kavach :

Seeds of Kavach contain amino acids including levodopa (l-dopa, L 3,4 dihydroxy phenyl alanine), licithin. They also contain alkaloids like mucunine, mucunadine, prurienine, prurienininine and fat.

Uses of Kavach :

  • Levodopa is of prime importance in the treatment of incapacitating, paralysis agitans (parkinsonism).
  • Levodopa shows maximum effects in rigidity and hypokinesia.
  • It abolishes or supresses the conditions like dysphagia, sialorrhea, seborrhea, postural instability, speech difficulties.

Side effects of levodopa :

  • Nausea
  • Vomitting
  • Anorexia
  • Epigastric pain
  • Flatulence
  • Dry mouth

Synonyms of Kavach

  • Bengali – Alkusi
  • Hindi – Kavach
  • Malayalam – Shoriyanam
  • Marathi – Kach Kuhili
  • Sanskrit – Kapikachechha, Atmagupta
  • Tamil – Punajkhali
  • Punjabi – Dulagondi
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