About the Author
Conditions of Use
Taxon: Otholobium glandulosum (L.) J. W. Grimes
Synonyms: Culen glandulosum ined., Psoralea glandulosa L., Psoralea lutea Molina
Common names: congonha, culén, gualgua, hierba de San Agustin, hualhua, huashua, kalisaya, wallua
Parts Used: Leaves
| CULEN |
| HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS |
||Infusion: 1 cup 2-3 times daily
||Capsules: 1 g twice daily
||Extract: 3 ml twice daily
Culen is a deciduous shrubby bush found in the warmer humid valleys of the mid Andes Mountains in Peru, Chile, and Bolivia. It grows 3 to 5 m in height and has a trunk that is around 25 cm in diameter. Culen produces aromatic leaves that are about 2-5 cm long and small yellow to cream flowers on bracts.
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. The plant is thought to originate in Chile, but it has been cultivated as a medicinal plant for many years all along the Andes Mountains. It can be found growing wild alongside the roads in the Junin District in Peru.
TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES
Culen is used in Bolivia as an emmenagogue with the leaves brewed into a tea to balance menstrual cycles and for various female complaints. In Brazil, the leaf tea (infusion) is considered to be antiasthmatic, antidiabetic, diaphoretic, emollient and vulnerary. In herbal medicine systems in Chile culen is used as an as an anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, appetitive, bronchodilator, carminative, diaphoretic, emetic, emollient, febrifuge, purgative, stomachic, and vulnerary. It is often relied on for enteritis, digestive disorders, hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, skin problems, syphilis, and wounds.
Culen was introduced into the United States in the late 1800s. It appeared in several early pharmaceutical texts and journals in the 1890s where it was reported with anthelmintic, emetic, tonic and vulnerary actions and recommended for anorexia, debility, diarrhea, dyspepsia, fatigue, intestinal worms, and wounds.
Culen contains two well known furanocoumarin chemicals called psoralen and angelicin. These chemicals have long been documented with UV light-induced photosensitizing activity and have been used in various drugs for the photodynamic destruction of tumor cells and in other skin diseases like psoriasis and vitiligo. In addition, angelicin has been documented with anti-inflammatory and fever-reducing actions and has shown some promise in the possible treatment of sickle-cell anemia. Another main constituent in culen is a well known chemical called bakuchiol. Many of culen's traditional uses can be explained by the documented properties and actions researched and verified for this particular chemical found in culen. Bakuchiol has been documented with liver-protecting, cholesterol-lowering, fever-reducing, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimutagenic, and anticancerous actions in various animal and test tube studies. In addition, bakuchiol has been reported with broad-spectrum antimicrobial actions against numerous types of bacteria, mycobacteria, fungus, and viruses.
BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH
Much of the research on culen follows closely with the reported actions of the plant's main active constituents. In animal testing culen was reported with fever-reducing actions as well as anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor actions. In test tube studies, culen has demonstrated antibacterial, and antiviral actions.
Toxicity studies with animals indicate that culen leaves are non-toxic when administered orally. One research group gave mice up to 12 grams per kilogram of body weight without any noted toxicity.
CURRENT PRACTICAL USES
With culen's documented antiviral actions against influenza and well as its fever reducing and bronchodilator actions, it makes a great natural cold and flu remedy. It is also well used in South America as a digestive tonic for many types of digestive disorders. The aromatic leaves makes a tasty, refreshing, and cooling tea or beverage to settle the stomach, and relieve gas and indigestion. Culen has also long been used for intestinal worms and parasites.
While culen is popular in the Andean regions of South America, it is not very well known here in the U.S. Only a few products are available in the American natural products market.
| CULEN PLANT SUMMARY |
Main Preparation Method: infusion or fluid extract |
Main Actions (in order): febrifuge (reduces fever), antiviral, bronchodilator, vulnerary (heals wounds/skin), stomachic, anthelmintic (expels intestinal worms)
Properties/Actions Documented by Research: antibacterial, antifungal, antihyperlipemic, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antioxidant, antipsoriatic, antitumorous, antiviral, cytotoxic, febrifuge, hepatoprotective
- for fevers, colds, and flu
- for other upper respiratory problems (bronchitis, asthma, coughs, etc)
- for psoriasis, vitiligo, wounds, and other skin problems
- as a digestive aid for anorexia, indigestion, intestinal gas, etc.
- for intestinal worms and parasites
Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use: anti-asthmatic, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, appetitive, bronchodilator, carminative, diaphoretic, emetic, emmenogogue, emollient, febrifuge, purgative, stomachic, tonic, and vulnerary
Cautions: May cause photosensitivity in high dosages.
Traditional Preparation: Natural fresh or dried culen leaves are traditionally prepared in infusions. A handful of products in capsules or liquid extracts can be found in South American stores and pharmacies to provide easier use by consumers.
See Traditional Herbal Remedies Preparation Methods page if necessary for definitions.
Contraindications: Culen contains furanocoumarin chemicals which might cause photosensitivity in some people.
Drug Interactions: None reported.
WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
||as an emmenagogue|
||as an antiasthmatic, antidiabetic, diaphoretic, emollient and vulnerary; for enteritis|
||as an anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, appetitive, bronchodilator, carminative, diaphoretic, emetic, emollient, febrifuge, purgative, stomachic, and vulnerary; for enteritis, digestive disorders, hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, skin problems, syphilis, and wounds|
||for diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, hemorrhoids, indigestion, intestinal worms, menstrual disorders, and wounds|
as an anthelmintic, emetic, tonic and vulnerary; for anorexia, debility, diarrhea, dyspepsia, fatigue, intestinal worms, and wounds|
Third-Party Published Research on Culen
The above text has been authored by Leslie Taylor and copyrighted © 2006 to present. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, including websites, without written permission.
† The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the
Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant
database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not
intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease.
Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.
All available third-party research on culen be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the third-party 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. The information contained in this plant
database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.
© Copyrighted 1996
to present by Leslie Taylor, Milam County, TX 77857.
All rights reserved. Please read the Conditions of Use, and Copyright Statement for this web page and web site.
Last updated 12-17-2012