(Umbellifer or Carrot family)
Also known as the Apiaceae, this family of 2850 species in 275 genera is of cosmopolitan distribution but is found chiefly in north temperate regions.
Photosensitisation by umbelliferous plants
Of about 200 coumarins isolated from plants, about 125 have been isolated from 161 umbellifer species, representing 33 genera of the family. Coumarins have only been isolated from the sub-family Apioideae especially from members of the tribes Smyrnieae, Ammineae and Peucedanae (Nielsen 1971).
Of the coumarins, linear furanocoumarins have the capacity to evoke photodermatitis. Soine (1964) listed furanocoumarins which had been tested in guinea-pig and man. Some 18 compounds showed some effect on guinea-pig skin, some 22 compounds on human skin. Of 36 furocoumarin and 42 coumarin derivatives tested for phototoxicity, none was found to have greater potency than unsubstituted, linearly annulated psoralen (Pathak et al. 1967).
Compounds with a linear tricyclic structure resembling that of psoralen are capable of evoking photosensitisation e.g. 4-methylpsoralen, 4,4'-dimethylpsoralen, 4,5'-dimethylpsoralen, 4,8'-dimethylpsoralen, 4,5',8-trimethylpsoralen, 8-methoxypsoralen, 5-methoxypsoralen. Compounds with a nonlinear structure (e.g. isopsoralens and isopseudopsoralens) are without any photosensitising activity. Inactive structures include isopsoralens, pseudopsoralen, pseudoisopsoralen, 3-methylpsoralen, 4',5'-dihydropsoralens, coumarins, furans, benzodifurans, furanochromones, oxazolocoumarins, naphthofurans, and naphtho α-pyrones (Pathak et al. 1971).
For the purpose of this review plants have been recorded as yielding 5-methoxypsoralen, 8-methoxypsoralen and other furanocoumarins. Further information is provided by Nielsen (1970, 1971). The wavelengths which most effectively evoke photodermatitis are in the range between 320 and 380 nm with maximum effectiveness between 330 and 360 nm (Pathak 1974).
Photosensitisation of the eye has been reported in animals (Cloud et al. 1960, 1961, Cogan 1961, Freeman 1966) but not in man (Grant 1962).
Mutagenesis for microorganisms from psoralen and ultraviolet light was reported by Clarke (1974), Ingali et al. (1970) and Townsend et al. (1971).
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- Aciphylla squarrosa J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.
- Bayonet Grass
The spiny leaves (Howes 1974) are capable of producing mechanical injury.
- Aegopodium podagraria L.
- (syns Apium podagraria Caruel, Carum podagraria Roth)
- Ground Elder, Bishop's Elder, Herb Gerard, Aishweed, Goutweed, Goat Weed, Bishopsweed, Bishopswort
According to Gerarde (1636), "Herbe Gerard with his rootes stamped, and laid upon members that are troubled or vexed with the gout, swageth the paine, and taketh away the swelling and inflammation thereof, which occasioned the Germaines to give it the name Podagraria, bicause of his vertues in curing the gout. It cureth also the Hemorrhoids, if the fundament be bathed with the decoction of the leaves and rootes, and the soft and tender sodden herbes laid thereon very hot." Grieve (1931) acknowledged Gerarde and Culpepper as historical sources of information on goutweed, noting that the specific epithet was derived from the Latin word "podagra" = gout. In referring to the use of the plant externally as a fomentation, French (1971), Usher (1974) and others have probably obtained their information from the same historical sources.
- Aethusa cynapium L.
- Fool's Parsley
This poisonous plant has an irritant effect (Pammel 1911).
- Ammi majus L.
- (syn. Carum majus Koso-Pol.)
- Aatrillal, Bishop's Weed
The seeds of this plant which grows abundantly in the Nile Valley have been used in Egypt for the treatment of vitiligo since the 13th Century (El Mofty 1968). Photodermatitis is evoked by application of an extract of the seeds to the skin. Severe blistering can follow application of the plant to the skin and exposure to light; hyperpigmentation of the skin is a prominent aftermath (Cheymol 1958). According to Behl et al. (1966) the plant has rarely been a sensitiser in addition to evoking photodermatitis. Five linear furanocoumarins, which include 5-methoxypsoralen and 8-methoxypsoralen, are derived from the fruits (Nielsen 1971).
- Ammi visnaga Lam.
- (syns Visnaga daucoides Gaertner, Daucus visnaga L.)
- Toothpick Weed
Ingestion of the seeds can produce photosensitisation in chickens (Trenchi 1960). Coumarins of the plant recorded by Nielsen (1971) are not known to be photosensitising for man.
The common name derives from the fact that the rays of inflorescence are used as toothpicks.
- Anethum graveolens L.
The fruit is used as a condiment. A positive patch test reaction to dill was observed in a sandwich-maker who had contact dermatitis (Hjorth and Weismann 1972).
Dill was noted as a source of furanocoumarins (Klaber 1942) and listed as a plant implicated in causing phytophotodermatitis by Pathak et al. (1962) but other clinical reports of dermatitis from the plant appear to be lacking. A coumarin derived from the plant (Nielsen 1971) is not known to be photosensitising. Oil of Dill has been reported to be sensitising (Urbach 1942). Carvone is derived from the oil of this and other plants (Furia & Bellanca 1971). Hjorth (1967) reported carvone to be the contact sensitiser in a case of toothpaste dermatitis but provided no clinical details.
- Angelica acutiloba Kitag.
- (syn. Ligusticum acutilobum Siebold & Zucc.)
- Japanese Angelica
Kariyone (1971) sneezed repeatedly and suffered from nasal haemorrhages when he studied the active principles of this species.
Citing Kariyone et al. (1937), Nielsen (1970) noted the presence of bergapten in the fruits Ligusticum acutilobum.
- Angelica anomala Avé-Lall.
- (syn. Angelica jaluana Nakai)
In Chinese traditional medicine, the plant is known as Pai Chih. The leaves are used to prepare a wash for the relief of pimples and prickly heat (Stuart 1911). The name Pai Chih may also refer to Angelicae Dahuricae Radix derived from Angelica dahurica Benth. & Hook.f.
The roots of Angelica anomala yield 5-methoxypsoralen (Nielsen 1970).
- Angelica archangelica L.
- (syns Angelica officinalis Moench, Archangelica officinalis Hoffm.)
- Engelwurz, Angelica, Norwegian Angelica
Angelica root oil, a perfumery raw material, is obtained by steam distillation from the roots of this plant; angelica seed oil is similarly obtained from the seeds (Arctander 1960). Oil of angelica root can produce dermatitis in hypersensitive individuals (Greenberg and Lester 1954). Contact sensitivity to angelica root oil in a 62 year old woman with dermatitis around the eyes was reported by Larsen (1975).
The leaf stalks are candied and used in confectionery. A confectioner who gathered the plant for preserving as candy developed an irritating rash of 6 months' duration on both forearms. A friend who had assisted him was also afflicted, but his reaction was more blistering and less painful, the rash resolving within a few days (Walsh 1897). The plant has been reported to evoke photodermatitis (Pathak 1974, Van Dijk and Berrens 1964).
Bergapten and xanthotoxin have been isolated from the fruits and roots (Pathak et al. 1962, Dean 1963, Nielsen 1970).
- Angelica archangelica L. var decurrens Weinert
- (syn. Archangelica decurrens Ledeb.)
Bergapten has been isolated from the fruits of Archangelica decurrens (Nielsen 1970).
- Angelica brevicaulis B.Fedtsch.
- (syns Angelocarpa brevicaulis Rupr., Coelopleurum brevicaule Drude)
Bergapten, isopimpinellin, sphondin and other furanocoumarins have been isolated from the roots and fruits (Nielsen 1970).
- Angelica dahurica Benth. & Hook.f. var formosana Yen
- (syn. Angelica formosana H.Boissieu)
Bergapten has been isolated from the roots of Angelica formosana (Nielsen 1970).
- Angelica glabra Makino
- Byakusi, Japanese Ivy
This species yields furanocoumarins (Pathak et al. 1962).
- Angelica japonica A.Gray
Psoralen and bergapten have been isolated from the roots (Nielsen 1970).
- Angelica japonica A.Gray var hirsutiflora T.Yamaz.
- (syn. Angelica hirsutiflora S.L.Liou, C.Y.Chao & T.I.Chuang)
Psoralen, bergapten and xanthotoxin have been isolated from the roots of Angelica hirsutiflora (Nielsen 1970).
- Angelica keiskei Koidz.
- (syn. Archangelica keiskei Miq.)
Psoralen, bergapten, xanthotoxin and angelicin have been isolated from the roots (Nielsen 1970).
- Angelica polymorpha Maxim.
Psoralen and bergapten have been isolated from the roots (Nielsen 1970).
- Angelica pubescens Maxim.
Bergapten has been isolated from the roots (Nielsen 1970).
- Angelica sylvestris L.
- Wild Angelica, Jack-Jump-About
This species has been reported to evoke photodermatitis (Bogdanovitch et al. 1933). A paste of the fruit has been used to kill headlice (Usher 1974).
- Anthriscus cerefolium Hoffm.
- (syn. Anthriscus longirostris Bertol.)
A case of occupational dermatitis from this plant and from Lagurus ovatus was reported by Benini et al. (1970).
- Anthriscus sylvestris Hoffm.
- (syns Cerefolium sylvestre Besser, Chaerophyllum sylvestre L.)
- Cow Parsley, Keck, Queen Anne's Lace, Wild Chervil, Wild Beaked Parsley, Wild Parsley
A blistering rash developed on the legs in a squad of airmen undergoing physical training across fields thickly overgrown with wild parsley and yarrow. There was bright sunshine and the airmen ran in short trousers. A similar skin reaction, initially mis-diagnosed as chicken pox (varicella), had also been seen in children who were living in the married airmen's quarters. Photopatch tests were carried out on the arms with the flowers, leaves, and stalks of wild parsley, yarrow (Achillea L., fam. Compositae), and cow parsnip (Heracleum L., fam. Umbelliferae) in both patients and control subjects. Only the wild parsley evoked positive photopatch test reactions in both patients and control subjects. The failure of the yarrow and cow parsnip to evoke positive photopatch test reactions could not be explained except by the proposition that photodynamic activity of these plants can vary with geographic location (Bellringer 1949).
Extracts of this plant exhibit a weak phototoxic activity (Van Dijk and Berrens 1964).