The Cowitch or Werepe, a herb native to India, the Caribbean and Africa, is well known for its tonifying and strengthening properties. It is also known to improve skin texture and appearance. Many apply this directly to the skin for joint and muscle pain, to stimulate surface blood flow involving paralysis and to treat scorpion stings. Several skin diseases like psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema are directly related to increased oxidative stress and ROS production. Recent preliminary studies evaluates that the topical extracts from the herb for treatment of skin diseases can be worthwhile. Scientists and doctors in the west are now beginning to take a serious look at the potential benefits of this potent herb on the effects of its compounds on treating skin ailments.
The significance of the perennial legume as traditional medicine
The medicinal properties of the herb come from its seed but other parts like the pod and roots can also be used for the preparation of herbal medicine. Its fresh beans can easily be consumed, but before that it should be soaked for a maximum of 48hours to remove the toxins contained within it and ensure safe consumption. This medicinal plant has been used for centuries in India as Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient traditional medical science practiced since the Vedic times. The beans were used as a powerful aphrodisiac in Ayurveda, to treat diseases like Parkinsonism, nervous disorder and arthritis, and even applied as paste on scorpion sting to absorb the poison. This under-utilized medicinal plant is known to resist attack from insects, thereby controlling biological infestation during storage. However, further research work is being carried out to explore the various benefits that this perennial herb can provide.
Scientific study of this medicine on Parkinson’s disease
The seed powder of the herb has been used in India for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease since the ancient times. However, research work conducted till date has not been able to determine the best use of the herb for this treatment. The appropriate dosage to be charged, the length of the treatment and its interaction with other medicines used for the condition has not yet been determined clearly. It is quite usual that the inclusion of this herb to a person’s Parkinson treatment pattern would require the dosage to be lowered. The treatment for eachindividual patient has to be customized by initially charging lower doses and then slowly increasing the dosage while lowering the drug dosage prescribed. However, there are several other useful components in the herb that regulates anti-Parkinson activity and function of the brain. This is because the variety of chemical constituents that accompany L-Dopa plays a major role in its ability to treat Parkinson’s disease. Through a study conducted in 2004, it was seen that the powder improved the brain mitochondrial complex-I activity to a significant level but kept the total monoamine oxidase activity (in vitro) unaffected. The treatment showed significant restoration of the levodopa, serotonin, norepinephrine and dopaminelevels in the substantia nigra.