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Genus Psoralea : A review of the traditional and modern uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology

  • Koul, Bhupendra1
  • Taak, Pooja1
  • Kumar, Arvind2
  • Kumar, Anil
  • Sanyal, Indraneel
  • 1 , Punjab 144411, India
  • 2 Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry Centre, CROM-MASS, CENIVAM, Industrial University of Santander, Carrera 27, Calle 9, Edificio 45, Bucaramanga, Colombia
Published Article
Journal of Ethnopharmacology
Elsevier B.V.
Publication Date
Dec 03, 2018
DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2018.11.036
PMID: 30521980
PMCID: PMC7127090
PubMed Central
  • Article


Ethnopharmacological relevance The genus Psoralea (Fabaceae) harbours 105 accepted species that are extensively used by local peoples and medicinal practitioners of China, India, and other countries for treatment of tooth decay, psoriasis, leucoderma, leprosy, kidney problems, tuberculosis, indigestion, constipation and impotence. Presently, pharmacological research reports are available on only few species namely Bituminaria bituminosa (Syn: P. bituminosa ), P. canescens , P. corylifolia , P. esculenta , P. plicata and P. glandulosa which are valued for their chemical constituents and traditional uses. Aim of the review This review article provides explicit information on traditional uses, phytochemistry, and pharmacological activities of selected Psoralea species. The possible trends and perspectives for future research on these plants are also discussed. Materials and methods An extensive and systematic review of the extant literature was carried out, and the data under various sections were identified using a computerized bibliographic search via the PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar, CAB Abstracts, MEDLINE, EMBASE, INMEDPLAN, NATTS as well as several websites. Key findings A total of 291 bioactive compounds from 06 species of genus Psoralea have been isolated and characterized. However, P. bituminosa alone possess nearly 150 compounds. These bioactive compounds belong to different chemical classes, including flavonoids, coumarins, furanocoumarins, chalcones, quinines, terpenoids and some others due to which these species exhibit significant anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-helmintic, anti-diabetic, diuretic, hepatoprotective, anti-cancer and anti-tumor activities. P. corylifolia L. (Babchi), a Chinese traditional medicinal plant has been used in traditional medicine for many decades for its healing properties against numerous skin diseases such as leprosy, psoriasis and leucoderma. Conclusions The in vitro studies and in vivo models have provided a simple bio-scientific justification for various ethnopharmacological uses of Psoralea species. From the toxicological perspective, the root, leaf, and seed extracts and their preparations have been proven to be safe when consumed in the recommended doses. But, meticulous studies on the pharmaceutical standardization, mode of action of the active constituents, and sustainable conservation of Psoralea species are needed, to meet the growing demands of the pharmaceutical industries, and to fully exploit their preventive and therapeutic potentials.

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