Psoralea corylifolia (Babchi) is an important plant in the Indian Ayurveda and Tamil Siddha systems of medicine, and also in Chinese medicine. Corylifolia L., or bu gu zhi in traditional Chinese medicine, is a herb used as a supposed therapy for several disorders having limited clinical evidence, such as treatment of lichen-induced dermatits by psoralen extract combined with sunlight exposure.
Plants have been the basis of many traditional medicines throughout the world for thousands of years and continue to provide new remedies to mankind. Plants have been one of the important sources of medicines since the beginning of human civilization. The recent resurgence of plant remedies resulted from several factors, such as effectiveness of plant medicines and lesser side effects compared with modern medicines. Psoralea corylifolia, commonly known as babchi, is a popular herb, which has since long been used in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for its magical effects to cure various skin diseases. This plant is also pharmacologically studied for its chemoprotective, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiinflammatory properties. This review attempts to highlight the available literature on corylifolia with respect to its ethnobotany, pharmacognostic characteristics, traditional uses, chemical constituents, and summary of its various pharmacologic activities and clinical effects. Other aspects, such as toxicology and precautions are also discussed. This will be helpful to create interest toward babchi and may be useful in developing new formulations with more therapeutic and economical value.