Sexual dysfunctions are characterized by disturbance in sexual desire and in the psycho-physiological changes that comprise sexual response cycle. Such disturbances can cause marked distress and interpersonal difficulty in enjoying sexual intercourse. The sexual response cycle can be divided into the following phases:
- (1) Desire: This phase consists of fantasies about sexual activity and the desire to have sexual activity.
- (2) Excitement: This phase consists of a subjective sense of sexual pleasure and accompanying physiological changes. The major changes in the male consist of penile tumescence and erection. The major changes in the female consist of vasodilatation in the pelvis, vaginal lubrication and expansion and swelling of the external genitalia.
- (3) Orgasm: This phase consists of a peaking of sexual pleasure, with release of sexual tension and rhythmic contraction of the perineal muscles and reproductive organs. In the male, there is a sensation of ejaculatory inevitability, which is followed by ejaculation of semen. In the female there are contractions (not always subjectively experienced as such) of the wall of the outer third of the vagina. In both genders, the anal sphincter rhythmically contracts.
- (4) Resolution: This phase consists of a sense of muscular relaxation and general well being. During this phase, males are physiologically refractory to further erection and orgasm for a variable period of time. In contrast, females may be able to respond to additional stimulation almost immediately.
The sexual dysfunctions include:
- (1) Sexual desire disorders: hypoactive sexual desire disorder, sexual aversion disorder;
- (2) Sexual arousal disorders: female sexual arousal disorder, male erectile disorder;
- (3) Orgasmic disorders like female orgasmic disorder, male orgasmic disorder, premature ejaculation; and
- (4) Sexual pain disorders like dyspareunia, and vaginismus.
The sexual dysfunction may be lifelong when it is present since the onset of sexual functioning. Acquired type of sexual dysfunction develops only after a period of normal functioning. Psychological factors play a major role in the onset, severity, exacerbation, or maintenance of the sexual dysfunction.
Kapikacchu is one of the famous herbal drugs mentioned in Ayurvedic classics for various types of sexual disorders.
Kapikacchu [Mucuna pruriens (Linn.) D.C.]
Kapikacchu is an herbaceous, and twinning annual climber found throughout India in the hills ranging up to 3000 ft. height. Hairs on the pods of this climber are similar to that of monkey, that’s why synonyms like Kapikacchu, Kapiloma, Kapi, Markati and Vaanari are used for it. Most of the Ayurvedic remedies described in literature for treating sexual dysfunctions and infertility contain Kapikacchu seeds as one of the ingredients. Two types of Kapikacchu seeds are described – wild and cultivated. The wild variety has better utility in clinical practice than the cultivated one and black seeds are considered better than white ones.
Kapikacchu powder consists of powdered seeds of Mucuna pruriens (Linn.) DC.
|English name||Cow hedge|
|Latin name||Mucuna pruriens (Linn.) D.C.|
Main chemical constituents
Mucuna pruriens is a good source of L-dopa, it also contains a number of amino acids.
Quality standards of Kapikacchu seeds are based on the following physical constants:
|Total ash||Not more than 3.45%|
|Acid-insoluble ash||Not more than 0.33%|
|Alcohol-soluble extractives||Not less than 10%|
|Water-soluble ash||Not less than 0.4%|
Method of preparation
- (1) Clean the dried seeds of Kapikacchu by removing dust and other foreign particles and grind them into a fine powder.
- (2) Filter the powder through 85 mesh sieve and store in an airtight glass or plastic food container, away from direct sunlight and in a cool place.
- (3) The potency of Kapikacchu powder is best retained up to four months after preparation.
Kapikacchu powder has aphrodisiac, nervine tonic, anti-parkinsonism, anti-inflammatory, and hypocholesterolaemic properties.
Dose and mode of administration
Seed powder in the dose of 3 to 5 grams once a day with warm milk at night.
Indications and uses
Kapikacchu is useful in various sexual disorders including loss of libido, erectile dysfunctions, night emission, premature ejaculation, spermatorrhoea and oligospermia. It is also used in Parkinson’s disease and hypercholesterolaemic conditions.
Precautions and safety aspects
- (1) The use of Mucuna pruriens for a prolonged period causes weight loss. The protein fraction is said to be responsible for this effect.
- (2) Judicious use in recommended dose is well tolerated.
- (3) Persons consuming Kapikacchu may suffer from diarrhoea which if not controlled with dietery changes and normal medication may require discontinuation of Kapikacchu intake.
- (4) Spicy, dry, sour and stimulant food items and emotional outbursts should be avoided during medication with Kapikacchu.
- (1) Sabnis Mukund. Chemistry and pharmacology of Ayurvedic medicinal plants (with organic structure & natural photographs). Varanasi: Chaukhamba Amarbharati Prakashana, 2006. p. 232-233.
- (2) Sharma PC, Yelne MB, Dennis TJ. Database on medicinal plants used in Ayurveda. Vol. 1. New Delhi: Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, 2001. p. 201.
- (3) Sharma PC, Yelne MB, Dennis TJ. Database on medicinal plants used in Ayurveda. Vol. 1. New Delhi: India Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, 2001. p. 202.
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- (2) Amin YMN et al. Sexual function improving effect of Mucuna pruriens in sexually normal male rats. Fitoterapia. 1996.
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- (5) Influence of drugs on male sex behaviour and its pharmacological aspect. Indian drugs. 1982.
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- (7) Jayatilak PG et al. Effect of an indigenous drug on accessory reproductive function of mice. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. 4(2), 1976.
- (8) Kapikacchu. Web site http://www.herbalayurveda.com/downloads/kapikacchu.pdf (accessed 22 February 2010).
- (9) Mehra BL, Skandhan KP, Singh G. Studies on Klaibya (male sexual dysfunction) and its management with Vajikarana. Jamnagar: Gujarat Ayurved University, 1995.
- (10) Pharmacological study - Aphrodisiac activity of the seeds of Mucuna pruriens. Indian Drugs. 31(7), 1994.
- (11) Raja Reddy G, Sharma PP. A comparative pharmaco-therapeutic study of Erandamula and Kapikacchu beeja with special reference to Vrushya karma. Jamnagar: Department of Dravyaguna, Gujarat Ayurved University, 1999.
Source: Traditional Herbal Remedies for Primary Health Care - WHO