Herbs containing L- Dopa: An update

Anc Sci Life. 2007 Jul;27(1):50-5.


L-Dopa is the drug of choice in the treatment of Parkinson's disease but it has dose related adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, orthostatic hypotension, end of dose deterioration, on off phenomena and on chronic therapy motor complications synonymous to parkinsonism. Mucuna pruriens (M.P) commonly known as velvet beans or cowitch are used in case of spasms associated with Parkins onism. Clinical efficacy of seeds of this plant was confirmed and the efficacy was contributed to its L-Dopa content. M.P extract showed twice the antiparkinsonism activity compared with synthetic L-Dopa. There is sufficient L-Dopa in broad bean (Vicia faba) pods. One study proved its efficacy in Parkinsonism. Ginkgo biloba extract showed protective effect in vivo and invitro. 50% ethanolic extract of Plumbago zeylanica was effective in rats. The following plants were reported to have L-Dopa but their protective effect is yet to be established in animal models. Vigna aconitifolia, Vigna unguiculata, Vigna vexillata, Prosopis chilensis, Pileostigma malabarica, Phanera vahlis, Parkinsonia acculeata, Macuna urens, Canvavalia glandiata, Cassia floribanda, Casia hirsute and Dalbergia retusa etc.

Keywords: Antiparkinsonism; L-dopa; alternative medicine; herbs.