Mucuna pruriens, commonly known as cowhage, may cause side effects such as nausea and abdominal bloating, according to WebMD. Insomnia, abnormal body movements and vomiting are less frequent side effects. Additionally, cowhage causes major interactions with blood pressure medication and certain antidepressants. The powdered supplement, made from the seed, is safer than the hair of the cowhage bean pod, which irritates the skin.
People suffering from heart disease, diabetes, low blood sugar, liver disease, skin cancer or stomach ulcers, or mental illness should not take cowhage. In addition to interfering with blood-pressure medication and antidepressants, cowhage may also interfere with diabetes medication, as well as with certain antipsychotics. While cowhage likely does not have many side effects of its own, its effect on medications is a major concern, as reported by Healthline.
Mucuna pruriens is available in powdered form, which is possibly safe if taken by mouth for up to 20 weeks. The powder is made from the seed of the cowhage plant. People should avoid the hair of the cowhage bean pod, as it is possibly unsafe, according to WebMD. This part of the plant causes severe skin irritation, burning, itching and swelling.
Mucuna pruriens is used to treat Parkinson's disease, anxiety, parasitic infections and arthritis, among other conditions, notes WebMD.