The Full Wiki

Harmal: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Harmal seed capsules
Peganum harmala seeds

Harmal (Peganum harmala) is a plant of the family Nitrariaceae, native from the eastern Mediterraneanmarker region east to Indiamarker. It is also known as Syrian Rue, an inaccurate name, since it is not in the rue (Ruta, Rutaceae) family.

It is a perennial plant which can grow to about 0.8 m tall, but normally it is about 0.3 m tall. The roots of the plant can reach a depth of up to 6.1 m, if the soil it is growing in is very dry. It blossoms between June and August in the Northern Hemispheremarker. The flowers are white and are about 2.5–3.8 cm in diameter. The round seed capsules measure about 1–1.5 cm in diameter, have three chambers and carry more than 50 seeds.

Peganum harmala was first planted in the United Statesmarker in 1928 in the state of New Mexicomarker by a farmer wanting to manufacture the dye "Turkish Red" from its seeds. Since then it has spread invasively to Arizonamarker, Californiamarker, Montanamarker, Nevadamarker, Oregonmarker, Texasmarker and Washingtonmarker. "Because it isso drought tolerant, African rue can displace thenative saltbushes and grasses growing in the salt-desert shrub lands of the Western U.S."

Common names:
  • African rue
  • Esphand
  • Harmal peganum
  • Harmal shrub
  • Harmel
  • Isband
  • Ozallaik
  • Peganum
  • Steppenraute
  • Syrian rue
  • Yüzerlik, üzerlik (Turkish)
  • Üzərlik

Traditional uses

Syrian Rue
In Turkey Peganum harmala is called yüzerlik or üzerlik. Dried capsules from this plant are strung and hung in homes or vehicles to protect against "the evil eye."
Peganum harmala fruit

In Iranmarker, Iraqmarker, Uzbekistanmarker, Tajikistanmarker, Afghanistanmarker, Pakistanmarker and parts of Turkeymarker, dried capsules (known in Persian as اسپند espænd or اسفنددانه esfænd-dāneh) mixed with other ingredients are placed onto red hot charcoal, where they explode with little popping noises, releasing a fragrant smoke that is wafted around the head of those afflicted by or exposed to the gaze of strangers. As this is done, an ancient prayer is recited. This prayer is said by Muslims as well as by Zoroastrians. This Persian practice dates to pre-Islamic, Zoroastrian times. In Iran, this ritual is sometimes performed in traditional restaurants, where customers are exposed to the eyes of strangers.

Peganum harmala seeds as sold in a Middle Eastern foods grocery store

Harmal has been used as an entheogen in the Middle East, and in modern Western culture, it is often used as an analogue of Banisteriopsis caapi to create an ad hoc Ayahuasca, the South American mixture of phytoindoles including DMT with β-carbolines. However, Harmal has distinct aspects from caapi and a unique entheogenic signature.

A red dye, "Turkey Red," from the seeds is often used in Western Asia to dye carpets. It is also used to dye wool. When the seeds are extracted with water, a yellow fluorescent dye is obtained. If they are extracted with alcohol, a red dye is obtained. The stems, roots and seeds can be used to make inks, stains and tattoos.

Medicinal uses

Peganum harmala is used as an analgesic and antiinflammatory agent.

In Yemenmarker it was used to treat depression, and it has been established in the laboratory that harmaline, an active ingredient in Peganum harmala, is a central nervous system stimulant and a "reversible inhibitor of MAO-A (RIMA)," a category of antidepressant.

Peganum harmala

Smoke from the seeds kills algae, bacteria, intestinal parasites and molds. Peganum harmala has "antibacterial activity," including antibacterial activity against drug-resistant bacteria.

The "root is applied to kill lice" and when burned, the seeds kill insects. It also inhibits the reproduction of the Tribolium castaneum beetle.

It is also used as an anthelmintic (to expel parasitic worms). Reportedly the ancient Greeks used powdered Peganum harmala seeds to get rid of tapeworms and to treat recurring fevers (possibly malaria).

Peganum harmala is an abortifacient, and, in large quantities, it can reduce spermatogenesis and male fertility in rats.


It is fairly effective against protozoa including malaria. There is evidence that it may be effective against drug-resistant protozoa. It is given in a decoction for laryngitis.

One of the compounds found in Peganum harmala, vasicine (peganine) has been found to be safe and effective against Leishmania donovani, a protozoan parasite that can cause potentially "fatal visceral leishmaniasis." "Peganine hydrochloride dihydrate, besides being safe, was found to induce apoptosis in both the stages of L. donovani via loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential."

Another alkaloid harmine found in Peganum harmala, ". . .because of its appreciable efficacy in destroying intracellular parasites as well as non-hepatotoxic and non-nephrotoxic nature, harmine, in the vesicular forms, may be considered for clinical application in humans."

One study using the medicinal plant Peganum harmala showed it to have a lifesaving effect on cattle infected with the protozoal East Coast fever, which can be 100% fatal and killed 1.1 million cattle in Africa in 1991.


"The beta-carboline alkaloids present in medicinal plants, such as Peganum harmala and Eurycoma longifolia, have recently drawn attention due to their antitumor activities. Further mechanistic studies indicate that beta-carboline derivatives inhibit DNA topoisomerases and interfere with DNA synthesis."

Peganum harmala has antioxidant and antimutagenic properties.

Peganum harmala as well as harmine exhibit cytotoxicity with regards to HL60 and K562 leukemia cell lines. Ground Peganum harmala seeds have been used occasionally to treat skin cancer and subcutaneous cancers traditionally in Moroccomarker. Seed extracts also show effectiveness against various tumor cell lines both in vitro and in vivo.


Harmaline, one of the alkaloids of Peganum harmala

The active alkaloids of Harmal seeds are the MAOI-A (monoamine oxidase inhibitor A) compounds:

The coatings of the seeds are said to contain large amounts of harmine.
Total harmala alkaloids were at least 5.9% per dried weight, in one study.

The stems of the plant contain about 0.36% alkaloids, the leaves about 0.52%, and the roots up to 2.5%.

Harmine and harmaline are reversible inhibitors of MAO-A (RIMA).

See also

Further reading

External links



Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address