Bu Gu Zhi

Psoraleae Semen, Psoralea Seed


3~9g, decocted in water or processed into pills or powder for oral administration.


LD50 (mice/gastrolavage): 2.3 ( 0.18ml/kg (psoralen)), 180 ( 29.6mg/kg (iso-psoralen)), and 38.0 ( 3.5g/kg (total volatile oils contained in raw herb)).

Chemical Composition

Coumarins; Flavonoids; Monoterpines; Saponin; Adipoid; Psoralen; Isopsoralen; Xanthotoxin; Psoralidin; Isopsoralidin; Bakuchicin; Psoralidin 2', 3' -oxide; Corylidin; Bavacoumestan A, B; Sophoracoumestan A; Astragalin; Bavachin (corylifolin); Isobavachin; Bavachinin; Corylifolinin; Bavachalcone; Bavachromene; Neobavachalcone; Isoneobavachalcone; Bakuchalcone; Bavachromanol; Corylin; Neobavaisoflavone; Corylinal; Psoralenol; Bakuchiol; Corylifonol; Isocorylifonol; Stigmasterol; P-hydroxy-benzoic acid; (-sitosterol-D-glucoside; Triacontane; Triglyceride; Diglyceride; Monoglyceride; Cerolipoid; Hydrocarbon; Polarlipoid; Palmitic acid; Oleic acid; Linoleic acid; Stearic acid; Linolenic acid; Lignoceric acid. (1)

Inorganic Chemicals

K, Mn, Ca, Fe, Cu, Zn, As, Sb, Rb, Sr, Se


Contraindications: Fire hyperactivity due to yin deficiency.


Effects on sleep

Multiple administrations of Bu Gu Zhi can increase liver protein and P-450 levels in mice. Experiments on pentobarbital-induced sleep show that both one-time administration and multiple administrations of Bu Gu Zhi have a bi-directional effect (inhibition followed by excitation) on hepatic drug-metabolizing enzymes. Bu Gu Zhi's effect differs from that of compounds which activate drug-metabolizing enzymes. (2) , (3)

Anti-neoplastic effects

Psoralen can significantly inhibit the in-vivo growth of mammary cancer EMT6 (IC50: 2.23g/ml). (4) Psoralen may induce differentiation in cervical squamous epithelium Hela cells. (5) It also has a relatively strong lethal effect on leukemia white cells (Icso being 4mg/ml). When used at concentrations falling between 2mg/ml and 8mg/ml, psoralen has a similar action of killing acute lymphatic leukemia cells and acute granulocytic leukemia cells. But its effect of killing leukema cells decreases considerably, suggesting that in clinical use, the concentration of psoralen must be greater than 8mg/ml. (6) Research also shows that psoralen can prolong the survival time of L615 mice and inhibit the proliferation of S180 cells. (7) , (8)

Effects on the production of melanin in melanomas

8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP) can enhance the activity of tyrosinase and raise the content of melanin in a dose-dependent manner. (9)

Effects on NADPH-cytochrome C reductase and serum creatinine

Bu Gu Zhi decoction can significantly increase the protein level in hepatic microsomes, enhance the activity of NADPH-cytochrome C reductase, and lower serum creatinine concentration. This fact suggests that it can regulate hepatic drug-metabolizing enzymes, speed up the removal of drugs from the kidney and accelerate drugs' passing through the body. Psoralactone can also increase the protein level in hepatomicrosomes and regulate serum creatinine concentration. But it does not significantly affect HADPH-cytochrome reductase. (10)

Counteracting chemotherapy-induced bone marrow inhibition

Bu Gu Zhi can raise the decreased white blood cell count in patients undergoing chemotherapy. (11)

Effects on learning and memory

Bu Gu Zhi can significantly counteract scopolamine-induced memory disturbance in mice. (12)

Enhancing immune functions

Bu Gu Zhi promotes the proliferation of diplophase cells, and enhances the phagocytic function of intraperitoneal phagocytes in mice. (13)

Activating tyrosinase

Bu Gu Zhi can significantly raise the activity of tyrosinase, suggesting that its therapeutic effect on vitiligo might have been achieved by activating tyrosinase and promoting the synthesis of melanin. (14)


  1. Editorial Committee of Chinese Materia Medica. State Drug Administration of China. Chinese Materia Medica. Shanghai: Science and Technology Press; 1998.
  2. Mi Sui Qing, et al. Journal of New Chinese Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology. 1998;9(1):27-29.
  3. Ye Shao Mei, et al. Journal of New TCM. 1998;30(10):39-40.
  4. Wu Shao Hua, et al. China Journal of Chinese Medicine. 1998;23(5):303-305.
  5. Hu Yun, et al. China Journal of TCM Science and Technology. 1999;6(3):157-158.
  6. Lu Ze Hua, et al. Journal of Integrated Medicine. 1990;10(6):370.
  7. Lu Ze Hua, et al. China Journal of Hematology. 1991;12(12):637-639.
  8. Zhao Jian Bin, et al. China Journal of Clinical Research on Tumor. 1991;18(1):47-49.
  9. Lei Tie Chi, et al. China Journal of Dermatology. 1999;32(2):115-118.
  10. Mi Sui Qing, et al. Journal of New Chinese Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology. 1998;9(3):147-150.
  11. Yang Tong Hua, et al. China Journal of Integrated Medicine. 1999;19(8):506-508.
  12. Zou Li Bo, et al. Journal of Pharmacology and Clinical Application of TCM. 1990;6(5):16-19.
  13. Wang Bo Lan, et al. Journal of Bethune Medical University. 1990;16(4):325-328.
  14. Xu Jian Guo, et al. Journal of Chinese Materia Medica. 1991;22(4):168-169.