Heracleum and psoralens ANSWER

Wed Aug 3 21:09:05 CDT 1994

I've had three replies to my follow-up question (thanks!)
regarding Heracleum mantegazzianum and psoralens.  The
answers all point to several published references to the
effect that this species produces furanocoumarins, of
which the psoralens are a sub-class.

Lou Bjostad <lbjostad at lamar.colostate.edu> writes:

>Heracleum contains furanocoumarins, as do many other species in the
>Apiaceae.  Psoralen is one of the linear furanocoumarins, which can
>cross-link DNA when photoactivated (angular furanocoumarins can only
>form monoadducts).

And Stephen Darbyshire <DARBYSHIRES at ncccot2.agr.ca> tracked
down a number of medical and botanical reference texts etc.
that mention this species.  He quotes one as reporting the
presence of "xanthotoxin = 8-methoxypsoralen".  I can report
that this last compound has been widely used in the past
decade in the treatment of various skin conditions.

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