Bakuchiol is a meroterpene (a chemical compound having a partial terpenoid structure) in the class terpenophenol.It was first isolated in 1966 by Mehta et al. from Psoralea corylifolia seed and was called Bakuchiol based on the Sanskrit name, Bakuchi, of the plant. Bakuchiol is mainly obtained from the seeds of the plant Psoralea corylifolia, which is widely used in Indian as well as in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of diseases.

It has been reported to have anticancer activity in pre-clinical models, possibly due to its structural similarity with resveratrol. One study in rats suggested that bakuchiol and ethanol extracts of the Chinese medicinal plant Psoralea corylifolia could protect against bone loss. Bakuchiol possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Bakuchiol isolated from P. corylifolia has shown activity against numerous Gram-positive and Gram-negative oral pathogens. It was able to inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans under a range of sucrose concentrations, pH values and in the presence of organic acids in a temperature-dependent manner and inhibited the growth of cells adhered to a glass surface.

Despite having no structural resemblance to retinol, Bakuchiol was found to have retinol functionality through retinol-like regulation of gene expression*. In 2018, a randomized, double-blind, 12-week clinical study with 44 volunteers demonstrated that Bakuchiol is comparable with retinol in its ability to improve photo-aging (wrinkles, hyperpigmentation) but has a better skin tolerance**.

Bakuchiol has been found to possess antiandrogenic activity in prostate cancer cells, which inhibited cell proliferation***.


*Chaudhuri RK, Bojanowski K (2014). "Bakuchiol: a retinol-like functional compound revealed by gene expression profiling and clinically proven to have anti-aging effects".International Journal of Cosmetic Science.36 (3): 221–230. doi:10.1111/ics.12117. PMID 24471735.

**Dhaliwal, S.; Rybak, I.; Ellis, S.R.; Notay, M.; Trivedi, M.; Burney, W.; Vaughn, A.R.; Nguyen, M.; Reiter, P. (February 2019). "Prospective, randomized, double‐blind assessment of topical bakuchiol and retinol for facial photoageing" . British Journal of Dermatology. 180 (2):289–296. doi:10.1111/bjd.16918. ISSN 0007-0963. PMID 29947134.

***Miao L., Ma S, Fan G et al. (2013). "Bakuchiol inhibits the androgen induced-proliferation of prostate cancer cell line LNCaP through suppression of AR transcription activity". Tianjin Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 30 (5): 291–293. doi:10.11656/j.issn.1672-1519.2013.05.13.