AYURVEDIC LEVODOPA · Parkinson's Resource Organization



There is another flurry of information going around pertaining to the Fava Bean, Macuna pruriens. This time there has been more research and more options, included products ; such as where the manufacturers have standardized dosages.

            The National Institutes of Health, in their Journal of  Clinical and Diagnostic Research, write: According to many studies, sprouted fava beans are a rich source of levo-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-dopa) the precursor of dopamine, and they are now being investigated for use in the management of Parkinson’s disease. The addition of Carbidopa (C-dopa) can reduce the daily use of the L-dopa dosage requirements, and it can also reduce the side effects which are associated with the L-dopa administration.

            The present research was conducted to find the levo-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-dopa) and Carbidopa (C-dopa) in fava beans, green peas, and green beans by High-Performance Gas Chromatography (HPLC). Carbidopa (C-dopa) is a peripheral decarboxylase inhibitor. As a substitution therapy, it used in combination to treat Parkinson’s disease.

            The result: We obtained L-dopa and C-dopa from fava beans which were in the fresh and dry sprouted form, whose concentrations were 1.4,1.5 and 2.6,2.4 mg/ml respectively. The maximal stimulation of the L-DOPA content was seen on day 8 for the fava beans, which was 100% higher than that of the control level.

            And in Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that fava beans are a good source of natural L-dopa and C-dopa. The quantification of this capacity according to the stage and the plant part could be suitable for applications in the food industry and in plant medicine. The consumption of fava beans can increase the levels of L-dopa and C-dopa in the blood, with a marked improvement in the motor performance of the patients with Parkinson’s disease, without any side effects.

            Zandu has created a product called Zandopa HP200, an Ayurvedic formulation derived from the seeds of Mucuna pruriens. Mucuna Pruiens has a long history of use in Ayurvedic practice for Central Nervous System disorders and also as a geriatric tonic. They are a natural and richest known source of L-dopa. They are more readily bioavailable than synthetic L-dopa.

            Zandu’s Composition: Each 7.5gm contains - Standardized processed seed powder of Kauncha (Mucuna pruriens) 6.525 gm in a flavored base.

            Zandu has published their description of Zandopa as Life is beautiful again. Indication: Idiopathic Parkinsonism. Special instructions: PRECAUTIONS: All known precautions and contraindications as applicable to synthetic L-dopa formulation should also be followed while prescribing Zandopa. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, if taken by patients, must be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to the institution of Zandopa therapy. As with levodopa,periodic evaluations of hepatic, hematopoietic, cardiovascular, and renal functions are recommended during extended therapy with Zandopa. Zandopa should be administered with caution in severe cardiovascular or pulmonary disease, bronchial asthma, renal, hepatic, or endocrine disease and in the presence of peptic ulcer or chronic narrow-angle glaucoma. SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects include nausea, anorexia, cardiac irregularities, orthostatic hypotension, weight gain, hot flushes, numerous dyskinesias, and psychiatric symptoms such as agitations, hallucinations, delusions, and nightmares. Side effects, as encountered with synthetic L-dopa formulations, have not been seen to the same severity with Zandopa.

            The dosage they’ve published is: NOT TO BE TAKEN WITH MILK. In a half glass of water (approx.100ml) suspend prescribed dose of powder, stir and drink immediately. A measure of 7.5gm (approx.) is provided in the container L-dopa content of Zandopa powder is readily soluble in water. Patients finding difficulty in swallowing of the bulk may be advised to stir the powder in water for nearly one minute and strain. The clear solution thus obtained may be consumed by the patient.

            According to Dr. Geoffrey Leader, MN, ChB, FRCA and Lucille Leader, Dip, ION, MBANT, NTCC, CNHC reg, in their newest book Parkinson’s Disease ~ How to Optimiser On-Off Periods during L-Dopa Therapy (Denor Press)

            Taking Macuna Pruriens is calculated using the same dietary and timing principles as the chemical version of L-dopa.

            L-dopa is found in the bean, mucuna pruriens. Dosage has been standardized by manufacturers, and it has undergone positive peer-reviewed trials. Zandu Xandopa HP200 is an example.

            Trials have demonstrated that mucuna pruriens is bioavailable with effective efficacy.

            However, people are urgently advised NEVER self medicate whether a product is pharmaceutical or biologic. Patients must only take dopaminergic support that has been prescribed by their neurologists.

            The effects of mucuna pruriens must be medically monitored, taking the biochemical effects into account.


            The PROvocative question is, does your neurologist know about Fava beans, their standardized dosages, or how you could purchase and prepare them if you wished to do so on your own? If you know one, please let us know, and with their permission, we will share their name with the world.

            We have heard that if you can prepare tinctures (a medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol) of fava beans with some brandy, vodka, or scotch, for example, the chance of the nutrients and elements getting through the blood-brain-barrier might be increased dramatically.

            If you have successfully used fava beans, we would like to know and share the information.

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Updated: August 16, 2017