Paralysis agitans and levodopa in "Ayurveda": ancient Indian medical treatise

Mov Disord. 1990;5(1):47-8. doi: 10.1002/mds.870050112.


Neurologic diseases (Vata rogas, Sanskrit) and the pharmacologic treatment of them were described in the ancient Indian medical system--Ayurveda. This article explores paralysis agitans, which was described under the name Kampavata. Mucuna pruriens (Atmagupta, Sanskrit), which contains levodopa, was used in the treatment of Kampavata. Existence of paralysis agitans prior to the industrial revolution is not just of historical interest, but would also suggest that under the hypothesis of exposure to environmental toxins as a possible cause of paralysis agitans, natural organic compounds with worldwide distribution should also be considered.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • History, Ancient
  • India
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use*
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic / history*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / history*
  • Plants, Medicinal


  • Levodopa