Psoralea corylifolia (Babchi) is an important plant in the Indian Ayurveda and Tamil Siddha systems of medicine, and also Chinese medicine. The seeds of this plant contain a variety of coumarins including psoralen. The seeds have a variety of traditional medicinal uses, but the specific role (if any) of psoralen in these uses is unknown.
P. corylifolia has been implicated in at least one case of severe hepatotoxicity in a 64-year-old woman who self-medicated with a variety of Aryuvedic herbs for her vitiligo. The authors identify psoralens as "the primary candidate causing the hepatotoxic reaction".
P. corylifolia extract contains a number of chemical compounds including flavonoids (neobavaisoflavone, isobavachalcone, bavachalcone, bavachinin, bavachin, corylin, corylifol, corylifolin and 6-prenylnaringenin), coumarins (psoralidin, psoralen, isopsoralen and angelicin) and meroterpenes (bakuchiol and 3-hydroxybakuchiol).
Use in traditional Chinese medicine
P. corylifolia L., or Bu Gu Zhi in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an herb used to tonify the kidneys, particularly kidney yang and essence. It is used for helping the healing of bone fractures, for lower back and knee pain, impotence, bed wetting, hair loss, and vitiligo.
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- Tang SY, Gruber J, Wong KP, Halliwell B (April 2007). "Psoralea corylifolia L. inhibits mitochondrial complex I and proteasome activities in SH-SY5Y cells". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1100: 486–96. doi:10.1196/annals.1395.053. PMID 17460213.
- Teschke, R; Bahre, R (2009). "Severe hepatotoxicity by Indian Ayurvedic herbal products: A structured causality assessment". Annals of Hepatology. 8 (3): 258–66. PMID 19841509.
- 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: 67–74. doi:10.1016/j.jchromb.2005.04.008.
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- Cheng, Xia (2001). Easy Comprehension of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Chinese Materia Medica, Canadian Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, p343.
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