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Culen belongs to the Otholobium genus, although for many years it was classified in the Psoralea genus. In fact most of the literature published prior to the early 1990s refers to culen as Psoralea glandulosa. In Brazilian herbal medicine systems culen is used for asthma, diabetes, fevers and to heal wounds.* For more information about culen please refer to the Database File for Culen in the Tropical Plant Database. To see pictures of culen, click here. Check out the new Discussion Forums to see if anyone is talking about how they are using this natural rainforest remedy.
Traditional Uses:* for fevers, colds, and flu; for other upper respiratory problems (bronchitis, asthma, etc); for psoriasis, vitiligo, wounds, and other skin problems; as a digestive aid for anorexia, indigestion, intestinal gas, etc.; for intestinal worms and parasites
Suggested Use: This plant is best prepared as an infusion (tea): Use one teaspoon of powder for each cup of water. Pour boiling water over herb in cup and allow to steep 10 minutes. Strain tea (or allow settled powder to remain in the bottom of cup) and drink warm. It is traditionally taken in 1 cup dosages, 2-3 times daily. For more complete instructions on preparing herbal infusions see the Methods for Preparing Herbal Remedies Page.
Contraindications: Culen contains furanocoumarin chemicals which might cause photosensitivity in some people.
Drug Interactions: None reported.
Third-Party Published Research*
All available third-party research on culen can be found at PubMed.
A partial listing of the published research on culen is shown below:
Mosti, L., et al. “Synthesis of angelicin heteroanalogues: preliminary photobiological and
pharmacological studies.” Farmaco. 1998; 53(8-9): 602-10.
Lampronti, I., et al. “Accumulation of gamma-globin MRNA in human erythroid cells treated with
angelicin.” Eur. J. Haematol. 2003 Sep; 71(3): 189-95.
Yang, Z., et al. "The osteoprotective effect of psoralen in ovariectomy-induced osteoporotic rats via stimulating the osteoblastic differentiation from bone mesenchymal stem cells." Menopause. 2012 Oct;19(10):1156-64.
Don, M., et al. "Neobavaisoflavone stimulates osteogenesis via p38-mediated up-regulation of transcription factors and osteoid genes expression in MC3T3-E1 cells." Phytomedicine. 2012 Apr 15;19(6):551-61.
Ming, L., et al. "[Effects of isopsoralen on bone marrow stromal stem cells differentiate and proliferate in vitro]." Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2011 Aug;36(15):2124-8.
Ming, L., et al. "[Effect of isopsoralen on the proliferation and differentiate of osteoblasts in vitro]." Zhong Yao Cai. 2011 Mar;34(3):404-8.
Lim, S., et al. "Estrogenic activities of Psoralea corylifolia L. seed extracts and main constituents."
Phytomedicine. 2011 Mar 15;18(5):425-30.
Liver Protecting Activity:
Cho, H., et al. “Bakuchiol: A hepatoprotective compound of Psoralea corylifolia on
tacrine-induced cytotoxicity in HEPG2 cells.” Planta Med. 2001; 67(8): 750-751.
Cholesterol Lowering Activity:
Abzalova, M., et al. “Effect of drupanol (bakuchiol) on some indexes of lipid metabolism in
experimental animals.” Dokl. Akad. Nauk. Uzssr. 1984; (2): 50-51.
Yeh, J., et al. “Antioxidative components of buu-kuu-jy (Psoralea corylifolia L. seeds).” Shipin.
Kexue. (Taipei) 1993; 20(6): 574-585.
Anti-inflammatory & Fever Reduction Activity:
Yang, H., et al. "Psoralidin, a dual inhibitor of COX-2 and 5-LOX, regulates ionizing radiation (IR)-induced pulmonary inflammation." Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Sep 1;82(5):524-34.
Lee, S., et al. "Phenolic compounds isolated from Psoralea corylifolia inhibit IL-6-induced STAT3 activation." Planta Med. 2012 Jun;78(9):903-6.
Choi, S., et al. "Isolation and anti-inflammatory activity of Bakuchiol from Ulmus davidiana var. japonica."
J Med Food. 2010 Aug;13(4):1019-23.
Backhouse, C., et al. “Active constituents isolated from Psoralea glandulosa L. with
antiinflammatory and antipyretic activities.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2001; 78(1): 27-31.
Ferrandiz, M., et al. “Effect of bakuchiol on leukocyte functions and some inflammatory
responses in mice.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 1996; 48(9): 975-980.
Backhouse, N., et al. “Antiinflammatory and antipyretic activities of Cuscuta chilensis, Cestrum
parqui and Psoralea glandulosa.” Int. J. Pharmacog. 1996; 34(1): 53-57.
Cytotoxic & Antimutagenic Activity:
Bronikowska, J., et al. "The coumarin psoralidin enhances anticancer effect of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)." Molecules. 2012 May 29;17(6):6449-64.
Majeed, R., et al. "Bakuchiol derivatives as novel and potent cytotoxic agents: a report." Eur J Med Chem. 2012 Mar;49:55-67.
Szliszka, E., et al. "Enhanced TRAIL-mediated apoptosis in prostate cancer cells by the bioactive compounds neobavaisoflavone and psoralidin isolated from Psoralea corylifolia." Pharmacol Rep. 2011;63(1):139-48.
Chen, Z., et al. "Anti-tumor effects of bakuchiol, an analogue of resveratrol, on human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cell line." Eur J Pharmacol. 2010 Sep 25;643(2-3):170-9.
Chen, H., et al. "[Vitro antitumor activity and synthesis of the key intermediate of bakuchiol]." Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2010 Apr;45(4):467-70.
Wall, M., et al. “Plant antimutagenic agents. 2. Flavonoids.” J. Nat. Prod. 1988; 51(6):
Kubo, M., et al. “Cytotoxicity of Corylifoliae fructus. I. Isolation of the effective compound and
the cytotoxicity.” Yakugaku. Zasshi. 1989; 109(12): 926-931.
Bhakuni, D., et al. “Screening of Chilean plants for anticancer activity.” Lloydia.1976; 39(4):
Li, X., et al. "Bakuchicin induces vascular relaxation via endothelium-dependent NO-cGMP signaling."
Phytother Res. 2011 Oct;25(10):1574-8.
Antimicrobial Activity (Virus, Bacteria, Mycobacteria, & Fungi):
Madrid, A., et al. "Antifungal study of the resinous exudate and of meroterpenoids isolated from Psoralea glandulosa (Fabaceae)." J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Dec 18;144(3):809-11
Lau, K., et al. "Two antifungal components isolated from Fructus Psoraleae and Folium Eucalypti Globuli by bioassay-guided purification." Am J Chin Med. 2010;38(5):1005-14.
Hsu, P., et al. "Bakuchiol, an antibacterial component of Psoralidium tenuiflorum." Nat Prod Res. 2009;23(8):781-8.
Bondarenko, A., et al. “Antimicrobial and antiviral activity of essential oil from Psoralea
drupacea and its activity.” Rast. Resur. 1974; 583.
Bondarenko, A., et al. “Extraction from Psoralea drupaccea of bakuchiol and its antimicrobial
activity.” Tr. Sezda. Mikrobiol. Ukr. 4th ed. (Ed Zatula Dg) "Naukova Duma" Kiev USSR (1975)
Erazo, S., et al. “Antimicrobial activity of Psoralea glandulosa L.” Int. J. Pharmacog. 1997; 35(5): 385-387.
Kaul, R. “Kinetics of the antistaphylococcal activity of bakuchiol in vitro.” Arzneim-Forsch. 1976; (26): 486-513.
Bondarenko, A., et al. “Psoralea drupacea as a promising source of the antibiotic bakuchiol.”
Rast. Resur. 1977; 460-473.
Prikhod’ko, V., et al. “Antimicrobial activity and toxicity of the antibiotic bakuchiol.” Mikrobiol. Zh. (Kiev) 1980; 42(5): 646-650.
Katsura, H., et al. “In vitro antimicrobial activities of bakuchiol against oral microorganisms.”
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 2001; 45(11): 3009-3013.
Newton, S., et al. “The evaluation of forty-three plant species for in vitro antimycobacterial
activities; Isolation of active contituents from Psoralea corylifolia and Sanguinaria canadensis.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2002; 79(1): 57-67.
Prikhod’ko, V., et al. “Study of the antimicrobial properties of bakuchiol in in vitro experiments.” Mikrobiol. Zh. (Kiev) 1979; 41(4): 400-403.
Noronha, R., et al. “Composition for skin care containing a combination of bakuchiol and
pyridinecarboxaldehyde.” German Patent, 1985. Ger Offen #3,417,234.
Rao, P. N. “Prospecting plant aids in AIDS management.” Curr. Sci. 2000 May; 78(10): 56-58.
* The statements contained herein have not been evaluated
by the Food and Drug Administration.
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Last updated 12-17-2012