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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

FDA Poisonous Plant Database

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AUTHOR(S): Egyed, M. N.; Shlosberg, A.; Eilat, A.
TITLE: Photosensitizing effects of furocoumarin containing weeds on domestic birds.
YEAR: 1977 CITATION: Vet Hum Toxicol, 19(1), 11-13 [English]
FDA #: F08368
ABSTRACT: Discussion: In standard veterinary textbooks, based on Trenchi¿s report, Ammi visnaga is mentioned among photosensitizing weeds, while in the same books Ammi majus is listed among nitrate accumulators (3, 14). Both plants share the same common name of ¿Bishop¿s weed¿ (3,14). While some authors claim that the active principles in Ammi visnaga are photosensitizers (13), others definitely deny it (18). These substances in Ammi visnaga (Khellin, visnagin) are chemically fuochromones (not furocoumarins), have a bitter taste and are used as broncho and vasodilators in human medicine (21). The active principles of Ammi majus are 5 and 8-Methoxypsoralen (bergapten and xanthotoxin respectively) are furocoumarins and are well documented photosensitizers used in human dermatology. We were unable to produce photosensitization in goslings (23), ducklings and turkey poults (6) after feeding or force-feeding ammi visnaga. Mild signs of photosensitization were, however, induced in chickens (6). Ammi visnaga is highly unpalatable (bitter) and birds prefer not to eat the seed-poultry ration mixture, whereas the same proportion of Ammi majus seed-poultry ration mixture was readily eaten. Superficially Ammi majus and Ammi visnaga are similar to each other, however, experienced eyes can easily differentiate them, especially in the fruiting stage; Ammi majus forms divergent open umbels, and Ammi visnaga forms a convergent, nest-like umbel (28). Since Trenchi did not report how much or how long Ammi visnaga was fed to ducks in his experiments or the amount of exposure to sunlight they received, all factors that contribute to the induction of photosensitization, we cannot compare his findings with ours and cannot explain why ammi visnaga did not induce photosensitization in ducklings when fed even in 6% concentration. Ammi majus and Ami visnaga are found sporadically in the Southern and Pacific states in the US (19).
GRIN #: 2899 Exit Disclaimer
COMMON NAME
STANDARD COMMON NAME: bishop's weed
FAMILYApiaceae
LATIN NAMEAmmi majus
STANDARD PLANT NAMEAmmi majus L.
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