How does Cowhage work?

Cowhage contains levodopa (L-dopa), which is used to treat Parkinson's disease. L-dopa is changed to the chemical dopamine in the brain. Symptoms of Parkinson's disease occur in patients due to low levels of dopamine in the brain. Unfortunately, most L-dopa is broken down in the body before it ever reaches the brain unless special chemicals are used with levodopa. These chemicals are not present in cowhage.

Are there safety concerns?

The cowhage bean wall formulation called HP-200 seems to be safe for most people. The hair of the cowhage bean pod is not safe for use.

The most common side effects include nausea and a sensation of abdominal bloating. Less frequently reported side effects include vomiting, abnormal body movements, and insomnia. Cowhage bean can also cause headache, palpitations, and symptoms of psychosis including confusion, agitation, hallucinations, and delusions. The hair of the cowhage bean pod is a strong irritant and can cause severe itching, burning, and swelling.

Do not use cowhage if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have cardiovascular disease.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You have hypoglycemia.
  • You have melanoma.
  • You have liver disease.
  • You have peptic ulcer disease.
  • You have a psychiatric condition.
  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks.

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