Herb: Bu Gu Zhi

Latin name: Psoralea corylifolia

Synonyms: Cullen corylifolium

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Bu Gu Zhi:

Bu Gu Zhi is valued in Chinese herbal medicine as a tonic remedy and is used to improve general vitality. Modern research has shown that it is also of value in the treatment of skin disorders, including vitiligo. Some caution should be employed when applying the herb externally, however, since it can sensitise the skin and cause an allergic reaction to sunlight. The one-seeded fruits (or the seed plus the seedpod) are highly regarded as an aphrodisiac and tonic to the genital organs. The seed is anthelmintic, antibacterial, aphrodisiac, astringent, cardiac, cytotoxic, deobstruent, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It is used in the treatment of febrile diseases, premature ejaculation, impotence, lower back pains, frequent urination, incontinence, bed wetting etc. It is also used externally to treat various skin ailments including leprosy, leucoderma and hair loss. The seed and fruit contain psoralen. This causes the skin to produce new pigment when exposed to sunlight and is used for treating vitiligo and psoriasis. The antibacterial action of the fruit inhibits the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculos. The fruit is gathered when ripe in the autumn and can be dried for later use. The root is used for treating dental caries. The plant yields a useful medicinal oleoresin, it treats kidney disorders, impotence, premature ejaculation, lumbago etc.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Warm valleys in Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces, China.

Edible parts of Bu Gu Zhi:

Seed. No further details are given.

Propagation of the herb:

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early to mid spring in a greenhouse. Either sow the seed in individual pots or pot up the young seedlings as soon as possible in order to avoid root disturbance. Grow them on in the pots until planting out in their final positions. It is usually impossible to transplant this species without fatal damage to the root. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. It is virtually impossible to divide this species successfully.

Cultivation of Bu Gu Zhi:

Warm valleys in Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces, China.

Known hazards of Psoralea corylifolia:

Although no specific mention of toxicity for this species has been found, at least some members of this genus contain furanocoumarins, these substances can cause photosensitivity in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.