Isolation and identification of xanthotoxin (8-methoxypsoralen) from the fruits of Heracleum persicum Desf. ex Fischer

S.E. Sajjadi, p. noroozi


Linear furanocoumarins are toxic compounds synthesized by plants. These toxic natural products are usually found in the fruits of Umbelliferae. Heracleum persicum Desf. ex Fischer is an Iranian aromatic medicinal plant from Umbelliferae which their fruits are used as flavoring agent in food products. Because of the wide usage of the fruits of H. persicum it was decided to do a phytochemical study on the fruits of the plant. The fruits of H. persicum were extracted with n-hexane and the extract was put on an open column chromatography. Xanthotoxin (8-methoxypsoralen) was isolated from the fruits of the plant and the structure of the compound was elucidated by UV, IR, NMR and MS analyses. Due to photosensitization caused by this compound, it is recommended to use low amounts of this plant in sensitive patients. However, only further quantitative studies on total furanocoumarins of the fruits can provide definite documents for any phototoxicological hazard.


Heracleum persicum; Umbelliferae; Xanthotoxin; 8-Methoxypsoralen; Furanocoumarin

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