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November 1958

The Treatment of Vitiligo with Psoralen Derivatives

Author Affiliations

Orange City, Iowa

AMA Arch Derm. 1958;78(5):597-606. doi:10.1001/archderm.1958.01560110043006

During the past three years 123 patients with vitiligo have been treated with psoralen derivatives in the Dermatology Clinic, Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore, South India. Because vitiligo is particularly disfiguring in an Indian patient, it often gives rise to severe psychological strain as well as to social stigma. In this area it is frequently confused in the public mind with leprosy, as the Tamil word for this condition is literally translated as "white leprosy."


Native practitioners in India have used oils of various plants in the treatment of vitiligo for centuries. An old Ayuruedic treatment consists of a purgative of figs, kine, cherry, and dill mixed with concentrated cane sugar juice. This is followed by local application of a mixture of Psoralea semina seeds (Bouchi), radish seeds, and cow's urine and exposure to sunlight up to tolerance of the patient.1 Panja and Maple-stone reported the