[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 23, 1958


Author Affiliations

New York; New Haven, Conn.

From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilology, New York University Post-Graduate Medical School, New York University—Bellevue Medical Center (Dr. Sulzberger) and the Section of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine (Dr. Lerner).

JAMA. 1958;167(17):2077-2079. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.72990340013008

It was known from the ancient folk-medicine practiced by the natives of Egypt that derivatives of the plant Ammi majus Linn could restore pigment in vitiliginous skin areas. In 1947 Fahmy and Abu-Shady1 isolated the most active agents from extracts of this plant. They initiated clinical studies which confirmed the native lore by demonstrating that both internal administration and external application of the plant extractives, when combined with exposure to sunlight, did indeed bring about repigmentation in certain patches of vitiligo.2 Further confirmation of these facts was soon forthcoming in Egyptian publications and in the European and American literature.3 The most active pigmentstimulating ingredients of the plant were found to be in the group of natural furocoumarins, compounds long known to possess photosensitizing properties. Among these compounds are the oxypsoralens. A good deal of the recent work in the United States has been done with methoxsalen (Meloxine,