The safest, most effective therapies for optimal health!

by Ellen Landauer

Health Hazards

Furanocoumarins are a class of toxic compounds contained in a wide variety of commonly consumed plant foods. This includes many herbs, vegetables, fruits, spices - and the juices made from them.

furanocoumarins in celery / lime juice

PHOTO ABOVE: Celery drink with lime and apple - lots of furanocoumarins (from the celery and lime) in this juice, which I consumed after taking the photo (many years ago).

Eating, or even in some cases, handling plants containing furanocoumarins makes the victim photosensitive (susceptible to skin and eye damage when through sun exposure). This damage can lead to skin cancer, cataracts and permanently wrinkled and aged skin.

The most prevalent of these compounds in many plants we utilize as food are bergaptol, psoralen, 8-MOP, bergapten and bergamottin.

NOTE: 8-MOP is the active ingredient in a drug used for psoriasis, in combination with UV light therapy (MOP stands for methoxypsoralen). The purpose of the drug is to hypersensitize the skin to UV radiation!

The long list of methoxypsoralen side effects, most of them serious, attests to the folly of eating foods that contain such compounds. (Parsley is highest in psoralen (the 'methoxy' part is the carrier material used in the drug). **At the bottom of this page are details of the side effects of this drug which are very much like those from exposure to the 8-MOP form of furanocoumarin found in foods we eat!

Furanocoumarins Mode of Action

How do these compounds cause photosensitivity?  They react with nuclsobases in DNA when exposed to UV-A radiation. As UV-A exposure continues, there is a domino effect, where the damage spreads further and causes cross-linking in our DNA.

Furanocoumarins Dangers

This class of plant toxins causes phototoxicity (hyper-sensitivity to UV-A radiation from sunlight). This hypersensitivity leads to skin damage upon exposure to sunlight.

The more furanocoumarins you consume, the more easily your skin burns, breaks down and ages when you are out in the sun. In addition, eye damage, including cataracts, nausea, dizziness and potential for increased susceptibility to skin cancer are all possible side effects.

Because moderate sun exposure is very healthy - even essential - for us, you will want to optimize the benefits of your time outdoors by minimizing furanocoumarins.

It is noteworthy that American Plains Indians, African Masai and other groups whose lives involved continuous intensive sun exposure in harsh climates had marvellous skin, eagle-sharp vision and vitality rarely seen today. Skin cancer was unheard of among them. These people were hunters and/or herders, who rarely if ever ate plants.

Foods Highest in Furanocoumarins

The (so-called) edible plant species containing furanocoumarins are primarily Apiaceae and Rutacea.

Examples of Apiaceae include parsley, dill, celery, fennel, dill, cumin, carrot, parsnip, caraway and anise.

Note that some of the most poisonous wild plants such as poison hemlock, water hemlock, cow parsnip, giant hogweed and cowbane are ALSO Apiaceae rich in furanocoumarins. Farmers who raise livestock try to eliminate these species from pastureland, as cows and other animals can get very sick or even die from eating them.

Commonly consumed foods in the rutacea (rue) family are all the citrus fruits.

For most furanocoumarins, parsley (Apiaceae genus) wins the prize, with a total of 23214.8 (ng/g)

Grapefruit (in the rutacea genus) comes in second with 21857.9 (ng/g)

Lime juice is third at 14579.7 (ng/g)

Grapefruit juice, whole lime and lemon juice are the next highest group.

Lesser, but still significant amounts of furanocoumarins are contained in celeriac, parsnip, whole lemon, cilantro and celery.

Example of a Drug Containing a Furanocoumarin Compound

NOTE: Bolded letters and underlining are my own to emphasize certain points.

metoxsalen - brand name: Oxsoralen Ultra - drug class: psoralens

From package insert: 'Because of the possibilities of ocular damage, aging of the skin, and skin cancer (including melanoma), the patient should be fully informed by the physician of the risks inherent in this therapy.'

What is 8-MOP? (MOP stands for methoxypsoralen *psoralen is a furanocourmarin)

8-Mop works by enhancing the body's sensitivity to ultraviolet light A (UVA).

8-Mop is used in combination with UVA light therapy to treat severe psoriasis.

8-Mop can cause harmful effects on your vision and on your skin (premature aging or skin cancer). 8-Mop is used only for severe psoriasis that has not improved with other treatments. You must remain under the care of a doctor while taking this medicine.

8-Mop may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


You should not use 8-Mop if you are sensitive to light, if you have lens damage in your eye, or if you have had skin cancer.

8-Mop can cause harmful effects on your vision and on your skin. You must avoid natural sunlight for up to 48 hours after UVA treatment.

8-Mop will make you more sensitive to sunlight, which can cause harmful effects on your vision and on your skin (premature aging or skin cancer).

For at least 8 hours after you take 8-Mop:

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds.

Even sunlight shining through clouds or through a glass window can expose you to harmful UV rays.

Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors or near a window.

Do not apply sunscreen to areas of active psoriasis that will be treated with UVA therapy.

For 24 to 48 hours after you receive UVA treatment:

You must protect your skin and eyes from natural sunlight (even sun shining through a window).

You may develop cataracts if you do not properly protect your eyes after 8-Mop and UVA treatment.

Follow your doctor's instructions about applying topical psoriasis medications or any moisturizing lotions after your 8-Mop and UVA treatment.

Check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer, such as a small growth or nodule, a scaly or crusted lesion, a brownish spot or speckles, or a change in the size, color, or feel of a mole. You may need to check your skin for signs of cancer throughout the rest of your life.

8-Mop side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

8-Mop may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

severe skin redness within 24 hours after UVA treatment;

swelling, severe itching, or severe skin discomfort;

skin redness and swelling with blisters;

worsening of your psoriasis;

a new skin lesion, or a mole that has changed in size or color; or

blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.

Mild skin redness may occur and can last for 1 or 2 days. This is a normal side effect after UVA treatment and may not be a sign of severe sunburn. Ask your doctor if you have concerns about any redness or swelling.

Common side effects of 8-Mop may include:

itching, redness
feeling nervous
sleep problems (insomnia).

Less common

mental depression

Ellen Landauer is an expert with over 40 years in-depth study and experience of the safe and effective use of nutritional supplements, botanical extracts and detoxification methods.

She is Certified as an Advanced Practitioner of Structural Integration body therapy developed by Dr. Ida P. Rolf - also known as Rolfing. This hands-on therapy is the deepest, most comprehensive body alignment therapy. 

Ellen Landauer is also a  PUBLISHED AUTHOR!

To learn more about Ellen Landauer, see her detailed bio HERE


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