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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Glycosides

Psoralea consists of dried ripe fruits and seeds of Psoralea corylifolia Linn, belonging to family Leguminosae.






Bavachi fruits, Malaya tea, Bavachi seeds.


Biological Source


Psoralea consists of dried ripe fruits and seeds of Psoralea corylifolia Linn, belonging to family Leguminosae.


Geographical Source


Psoralea is mainly found in India, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Vietnam.




The plant is an annual herb attending to a height of 60 cm to 1 m. The plant contains prominent grooves of glands and white hairs on the stem and branches. Fruits are very small 3–4.5 mm long and 2–3 mm broad. Fruits are dark chocolate to black in colour with pericarp attached to seeds. Fruits are ovate, oblong or bean shaped, compressed, glabrous rounded or mucronate and pitted. Seed is produced from campylotro-pous ovule and are kidneyshaped, 2–4 mm long, 2–3 mm broad, smooth, exalbuminous with straw coloured hard testa. Fruit has no smell, taste is bitter, acrid and unpleasant.


                                                  Psoralea corylifolia



A thin section of fruit shows pericarp with prominent ridges and depressions, consisting of collapsed parenchyma and large secretory glands containing oleoresinous matter; testa, outer layer of palisade epidermis, layer of bearer cells which are much thickened in the inner tangential and basal radial walls and two to three layers of parenchyma are seen; cotyledons of polyhedral parenchyma and three layers of palisade cells on the axial side are also present.


Chemical Constituents


Psoralea contains coumarin compounds like psoralen, isopsoralen, psoralidin, isopsoralidin, carylifolean, bavachro-manol and psoralenol. It also contains fixed oil (10%), essential oil (0.05%) and resin.

The seeds contain flavonoids such as bavachalcone, bavachinin, isobavachalcone, bavachin and isobavachin, etc. The seed oil yielded limonene, β-caryophyllen oxide, 4-terpineol, linalool, geranyl acetate, angelicin, psoralen and bakuchiol.



Chemical Tests

1.     Psoralea dissolved in alcohol and sodium hydroxide solution is added and observed under UV light, yellow fluorescence is observed.


2.     Psoralea is dissolved in small amount of alcohol and add 3 times of propylene glycol, 5 times of acetic acid and 40 times of water, a blue fluorescence is observed under UV light.




The fruits are aphrodisiac, antibacterial and tonic to the genital organs. The seed is anthelmintic, antibacterial, aphrodisiac, astringent, cytotoxic, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It is used in the treatment of febrile diseases, premature ejaculation, impotence, lower back pains, frequent urination, incontinence, bed wetting etc. It is also used externally to treat various skin ailments including leprosy, leucoderma and hair loss.


Marketed Products


It is one of the ingredients of the preparations known as Purim, Erina (Himalaya Drug Company), Purodil, Luko-skin (Aimil Pharmaceuticals) and Sage Somaraji oil (Sage Herbals).


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