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Psoralea corylifolia in chinese medicine

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

  • there have been reports to the CSM/MCA in relation to Chinese Medicine preparations containing Psoralea corylifolia fruit associated with severe adverse skin reactions

  • preparations containing Psoralea corylifolia have been used for centuries in topical preparations in Chinese Medicine for the treatment of alopecia and vitiligo; also systemic preparations have been used for enuresis, impotence, and frequent urination

  • Psoralea corylifolia contains the furanocoumarin constituents isopsoralen and psoralen

  • the CSM/MCA have highlighted concern regarding the use of Psoralea corylifolia in unlicensed herbal preparations because:
    • the fruit contains significant levels of furanocoumarin and this constituent can result in photoxicity
    • there may be wide variation of the amount of psoralen in the fruit and thus preparations may contain variable amounts of psoralen
    • there has been no establishment of a safe dose of psoralen or Psoralea corylifolia

The CSM has advised that unlicensed medicines including Traditional Chinese Medicines that contain Psoralea corylifolia should not be used because of the risk of serious skin toxicity.

Reference:

  • CSM/MCA (2001). Current problems in pharmacovigilance, 27, 12-13.

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