Psoralea corylifolia

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Psoralea corylifolia
Psoralea corylifolia - Agri-Horticultural Society of India - Alipore - Kolkata 2013-01-05 2282.JPG
Scientific classification
P. corylifolia
Binomial name
Psoralea corylifolia
  • Cullen corylifolium (L.) Medik.
  • Lotodes corylifolia (L.) Kuntze
  • Lotodes corylifolium (L.) Kuntze
  • Psoralea patersoniae Schönl.
  • Trifolium unifolium Forssk.

Psoralea corylifolia (Babchi) is a plant used in the Ayurveda and Chinese systems of traditional medicine. The seeds of this plant contain a variety of coumarins, including psoralen.


Psoralea is from the Greek 'psoraleos' meaning 'scabby' and refers to the appearance given to the plants by the small glands which cover them; corylifolia comes form the similarity of the leaves to those of Corylus, a genus of trees in the northern regions of the world and common in Sweden, the home of Linnaeus, the author of the species.[1]


Psoralea corylifolia grows 50–90 cm tall and is an annual plant. It has pale-purple flowers in short, condensed, axillary spikes. Its corolla is pale purple. Flowers one-seeded fruits. The most distinctive feature is the occurrence of minute brown glands which are immersed in surface tissue on all parts of the plant, giving it a distinctive and pleasant fragrance.[2]

Habitat and distribution[edit]

P. corylifolia is native to India and Sri Lanka, and was occasionally cultivated in Arabia for its supposed medicinal properties.[3]

Chemical constituents[edit]

P. corylifolia extract contains numerous phytochemicals, including flavonoids (neobavaisoflavone, isobavachalcone, bavachalcone, bavachinin, bavachin, corylin, corylifol, corylifolin and 6-prenylnaringenin), coumarins (psoralidin, psoralen, isopsoralen and angelicin), meroterpenes (bakuchiol, and 3-hydroxybakuchiol).[4]

Use in traditional medicine[edit]

P. corylifolia L., or Bu Gu Zhi in traditional Chinese medicine, is an herb used as a supposed therapy for several disorders,[5] although there is only limited clinical evidence for such effects, such as treatment of lichen-induced dermatitis by psoralen extract combined with sunlight exposure.[6]


  1. ^ G. Miller, Anthony; Morris, Miranda (1988). Plants of Dhofar. Oman. pp. 174–5. ISBN 978-071570808-8.
  2. ^ G. Miller, Anthony; Morris, Miranda (1988). Plants of Dhofar. Oman. pp. 174–5. ISBN 978-071570808-8.
  3. ^ G. Miller, Anthony; Morris, Miranda (1988). Plants of Dhofar. Oman. pp. 174–5. ISBN 978-071570808-8.
  4. ^ Zhao LH, Huang CY, Shan Z, Xiang BG, Mei LH (2005). "Fingerprint analysis of Psoralea corylifolia by HLPC and LC-MS". J Chromatogr B. 821 (1): 67–74. doi:10.1016/j.jchromb.2005.04.008. PMID 15905140.
  5. ^ Cheng, Xia (2001). Easy Comprehension of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Chinese Materia Medica, Canadian Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, p343.
  6. ^ Atzmony, L; Reiter, O; Hodak, E; Gdalevich, M; Mimouni, D (2016). "Treatments for cutaneous lichen planus: A systematic review and meta-analysis". American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 17 (1): 11–22. doi:10.1007/s40257-015-0160-6. ISSN 1175-0561. PMID 26507510.