Furanocoumarins (or furocoumarins) are known to exert photodynamic action. Furanocoumarins are of special interest from entomological, medicinal, public health, and environmental viewpoints because of their high photobiological activity. Wavelengths in the near ultraviolet (i.e., UV-A: 320–380 nm) are the most effective spectra, even though furanocoumarins absorb relatively poorly in this region. Although plants containing photosensitizing furanocoumarins have been used by Indian and Egyptian civilizations for more than 3,000 years to treat certain skin disorders, it was only in the middle of the last century (late 1940s) that the photosensitizing and pigment-stimulating agents in these plants were identified. Extensive research on different aspects of furanocoumarins has been conducted since this discovery.
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