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Kaunch Beej: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions and More!

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction: 

Kaunch Beej is the Hindi name of Cowhage or Cowitch. The scientific name of the plant is Mucuna pruriens. It belongs to the family Fabaceae of legumes and is a good source of protein. The seeds are generally called Magic Velvet Beans and are an important herb that may be used to help with nervous disorders and potential to help with Parkinson’s disease. 1-3 

Nutritional Value of Kaunch Beej: 

Kaunch beej consists of a wide range of phytochemical constituents like glycosides, reducing sugars, saponins, alkaloids and tannins, which may be responsible for its potential uses. 2 Other nutritional components of kaunch beej are:

kaunch beej powder and seeds

Did you know?

Name Percentage Composition (%) Calculated per 100 g serving size 
Crude Protein 24 – 31.44   
Crude Carbohydrates 42.79 – 64.88  
Crude Fat 4.1 – 14.39  
Crude Fibre  5.3 – 11.5   
Ash 2.9 – 5.5  
Potassium 0.806 – 2.790  
Sodium     4 – 70 mg 
Iron  1.3 -15 mg 
Zinc     1 -15 mg 
Phosphorus  98 – 498 mg 
Magnesium  85 – 477 mg 
Calcium  104 – 900 mg 
Copper  0.33 – 4.34 mg 
Table 1: Nutritional value chart of Kaunch Beej (Mucuna pruriens)2

Properties of Kaunch Beej: 

Kaunch Beej may be used in a variety of ailments due to its beneficial properties.

  • It may show anti-parasitic property
  • It may have anti-microbial property
  • It may have antioxidant property
  • It may have anti-inflammatory property
  • It may show some anti-venom activity4
  • It may show ant-debility (physical weakness) activity5
  • It may show blood sugar lowering property6

Potential Uses of Kaunch Beej

Some of the other potential uses of kaunch beej are: 

In Ayurveda, Kaunch beej might be useful for managing male infertility due to its aphrodisiac properties.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Potential uses of Kaunch Beej for Parkinson’s Disease: 

Levodopa is the widely used drug to treat Parkinson’s disease, since 1960s. However, the low-income countries are at disadvantage to make use of it due to its cost. Recently, Kaunch Beej with its L-dopa component may have shown potential to help with Parkinson’s disease. It may also exhibit fewer adverse effects than levodopa in studies. This may indicate the potential kaunch beej in Parkinson’s disease1,3However it is a severe conditions and needs proper medical intervention. Please consult your doctor for better advice.

Potential uses of Kaunch Beej for Diabetes: 

In studies the Kaunch Beej extract is found to have a strong ability to reduce blood glucose levels. Additionally, their may be weight loss in persons with diabetes due to muscle wasting. Kaunch Beej, research and observations demonstrated that the amount of weight loss due to diabetes was reduced due to kaunch beej.6,7 This may indicate some beneficial effects of kaunch beej in diabetic person, but you must always consult a doctor for conditions like diabetes.

Other uses of Kaunch Beej: 

  • The Kaunch Beej may have some effect against snake bite venom. It is used as safety measures against snakebites in tropical regions of Asia and Africa.4
  • Kaunch Beej may lead to reversing the effect of obesity on liver and adipose tissues when used as dietary supplement.8,9

Though there are studies showing the benefits of kaunch beej in various conditions, these are insufficient. And there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of kaunch beej on human health. Furthermore, every person may respond differently to these herbs. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor before using kaunch beej for any medical condition.

Also Read: Ashokarishta – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Kaunch beej is a geriatric tonic, as mentioned in Ayurvedic literature. Along with Parkinsonism, Kaunch beej might also be useful to manage constipation, oedema, tuberculosis, fever and menstrual disorders.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Kaunch Beej? 

Kaunch beej can be used as:

  1. Seed Extract
  2. Cooked seeds
  3. Seed concoction.3

One should always take the advice of an Ayurvedic physician before having kaunch beej. In addition, we recommend you do not replace or discontinue your ongoing medications with any ayurvedic or herbal preparations without seeking the medical advice of a qualified doctor. They will guide you with the best form and dosage in which the herb can be used per your health condition.

Side Effects of Kaunch Beej: 

The most common side effects of kaunch beej include: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal bloating10 

Some of the other possible side effects may be: 

  • Hallucination 
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Abnormal body movement
  • Insomnia10 

However, if you experience such side effects, immediately take medical attention from your physician who has prescribed it to you. They will prescribe you a better treatment possible to overcome the side effects.

Also Read: Nagkesar – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Precautions to Take with Kaunch Beej:  

  • The hair on the pods of kaunch Beej is considered extremely unsafe. As the hair have a stinging effect on our skin causing harsh itching, stabbing sensation and inflammation.1
  • Cardiovascular patients must not take kaunch Beej without doctor’s prescription due to the presence of the component, levodopa.3,7,11 
  • In addition to this, Levodopa may also interfere with the following disease conditions and worsen them – Gastrointestinal bleeding, mental illness, and skin cancer (melanoma).11 
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Avoid kaunch beej during pregnancy and breastfeeding. There is no sufficient data on its usage during pregnancy and breastfeeding safely.
  • Children and elderly: There is not enough information on the usage of kaunch beej in children and elderly. Therefore, it is advisable to be cautious about giving kaunch beej to children or the elderly.
  • Do not use any herb for self medication without consulting an Ayurvedic physician.

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

The following drugs may interact with the active components of Kaunch Beej: 

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) for depression
  • Methyldopa for blood pressure and Kaunch Beej should not be taken together
  • Hypertension medicine as the two medicines together may lower the blood pressure to critically low level. 
  • Diabetes medicine as the two medicines together may lower the blood sugar to critically low level.10

Therefore always discuss your ongoing medications with your doctor and they will further give you a suitable prescription for you as per your conditions.

Also Read: Nutmeg – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is Kaunch Beej

Kaunch Beej is called Cowhage or Cowitch in English. It is a legume that grows in tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. It is widely called Magic Velvet Beans. It is either used as a major source of dietary protein in some parts of the world or as a herbal product.1

Can Kaunch Beej be Used for Weight Loss Therapy? 

Kaunch Beej has a demonstrated effect on weight loss therapy. The seeds may improve the body composition by making appropriate changes in liver and adipose tissue caused by obesity.8,9 However consult a qualified nutritionist if you are looking to achieve your weight loss goals.

What are the Uses of Kaunch Beej?

Kaunch seeds are an excellent source of protein. They also may have several beneficial properties that make them an ideal ingredient in various ayurvedic medication. Kaunch Beej concoction can also help with reducing blood glucose levels and manage body weight. In addition, Kaunch Beej may help with Parkinson’s disease.1,4,6,11 Further studies are needed to establish the given effects of kaunch beej and it is best to consult a doctor for advice on these conditions before consuming kaunch beej.

Also Read: Shankpushpi – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

References: 

  1. Lampariello L, Cortelazzo A, Guerranti R, Sticozzi C, Valacchi G. The Magic Velvet Bean of Mucuna pruriens. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine 2012;2:331. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2225-4110(16)30119-5. 
  2. Cilia R, Laguna J, Cassani E, Cereda E, Pozzi NG, Isaias IU, et al. Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson disease. Neurology  ® 2017;89:432–8. 
  3. MP-4 Contributes to Snake Venom Neutralization by Mucuna pruriens Seeds through an Indirect Antibody-mediated Mechanism* | Elsevier Enhanced Reader n.d. https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0021925820408750?token=5B2D64C051A3E83569C484ED4502896989268CBB6EA438D057EDE4E71C2511677BC76016ECF236059435E3928EC35743&originRegion=eu-west-1&originCreation=20220201121013 (accessed February 1, 2022). 
  4. Mallurwar V R JAJ and DNJ. Studies on Immunomodulatory Activity of Mucuna Pruriens. Indian J Pharm Educ Res 40(3) July – Sept 2006 n.d. 
  5. Bhaskar A, Vidhya VG, Ramya M. Hypoglycemic effect of Mucuna pruriens seed extract on normal and streptozotocin-diabetic rats. Fitoterapia 2008;79:539–43. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.FITOTE.2008.05.008. 
  6. Arunchandra Singh S, Anandraj Vaithy K, Manimekalai K, Kotasthane D, Rajasekar SS. THE EFFECT OF MUCUNA PRURIENS SEED EXTRACT ON PANCREAS AND LIVER OF DIABETIC WISTAR RATS. Int J Cur Res Rev 2016. 
  7. Tavares RL, de Araújo Vasconcelos MH, Dorand VAM, Torres Junior EU, Tavares Toscano LDL, de Queiroz RT, et al. Mucuna pruriens treatment shows anti-obesity and intestinal health effects in obese rats. Food & Function 2021;12:6479–89. https://doi.org/10.1039/D0FO03261A. 
  8. Evaluation of the anti—diabetic properties of Mucuna pruriens seed extract | Elsevier Enhanced Reader n.d. https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S1995764511601612?token=83632CC78B77B4BCCD1D407837D39E2DABA8751FBF8347663895B244C01DC3AA8F06889A93CC218B098A46EF4029A8AF&originRegion=eu-west-1&originCreation=20220201120918 (accessed February 1, 2022). 
  9. COWHAGE: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews n.d. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1020/cowhage (accessed February 3, 2022). 
  10. Duangnin N, Phitak T, Pothacharoen P, Kongtawelert P. In vitro and in vivo investigation of natural compounds from seed extract of Mucuna pruriens lacking l-DOPA for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine 2017;10:238–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.APJTM.2017.03.001

Also Read: Lavender – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

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