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Peganum harmala - L.

Common Name Syrian Rue, Harmal peganum
Family Zygophyllaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards Use with caution. Although the seed is used medicinally and as a condiment, it does contain hallucinogenic and narcotic alkaloids[238]. When taken in excess it causes hallucinations and vomiting[238].
Habitats Dry steppes, especially where grazing is heavy[187], and dry waste places[50]. It is often found in saline soils[254].
Range Europe - Mediterranean and Southeast Europe.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Peganum harmala Syrian Rue, Harmal peganum


biolib.de
Peganum harmala Syrian Rue, Harmal peganum
www.nps.gov.org

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Peganum harmala is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8. The seeds ripen in September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds; East Wall. By. South Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil;  Oil.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Oil;  Oil.

Seed - used as a spice and purifying agent[105, 177, 183, 238]. Some caution is advised because the seed has narcotic properties, inducing a sense of euphoria and releasing inhibitions[169]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[46, 61].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Abortifacient;  Alterative;  Aphrodisiac;  Digestive;  Diuretic;  Emmenagogue;  Galactogogue;  Hallucinogenic;  
Miscellany;  Narcotic;  Ophthalmic;  Parasiticide;  Uterine tonic;  Vermifuge.

Alterative[46, 169]. The fruit and seed are digestive, diuretic, hallucinogenic, narcotic and uterine stimulant[192, 238]. They are taken internally in the treatment of stomach complaints, urinary and sexual disorders, epilepsy, menstrual problems, mental and nervous illnesses[238]. The seed has also been used as an anthelmintic in order to rid the body of tapeworms[240]. This remedy should be used with caution and preferably under the guidance of a qualified practitioner since excessive doses cause vomiting and hallucinations[238]. The seeds contain the substance 'harmine' which is being used in research into mental disease, encephalitis and inflammation of the brain[192]. Small quantities stimulate the brain and are said to be therapeutic, but in excess harmine depresses the central nervous system[192]. A crude preparation of the seed is more effective than an extract because of the presence of related indoles[192]. Consumption of the seed in quantity induces a sense of euphoria and releases inhibitions. It has been used in the past as a truth drug[169, 187]. The oil obtained from the seed is said to be aphrodisiac[192]. The oil is also said to have galactogogue, ophthalmic, soporific and vermifuge properties[192]. The seed is used externally in the treatment of haemorrhoids and baldness[238]. The whole plant is said to be abortifacient, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue and galactogogue[240]. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of rheumatism[240]. The root has been used as a parasiticide in order to kill body lice[240]. It is also used internally in the treatment of rheumatism and nervous conditions[254].

Other Uses

Dye;  Incense;  Miscellany;  Oil;  Oil;  Parasiticide.

A red dye is obtained from the seed[46, 61]. It is widely used in Western Asia, especially as a colouring for carpets[192]. The ripe seed contains 3.8 - 5.8% of the alkaloids harmine, harmaline, harmalol and peganine[240]. Ineffective as a contact poison, they are active in vapour form where they are effective against algae, in higher concentrations to water animals and lethal to moulds, bacteria and intestinal parasites[240]. The seed is used as an incense[145].

Cultivation details

Prefers a light well-drained but moisture retentive soil and an open position in full sun[200]. Prefers a dry soil[187] and succeeds in poor soils[238]. Although this species comes from dry desert areas, it responds well to cultivation so long as the soil is very well drained[238]. It can tolerate temperatures down to about -20°c if the soil is dry[187]. There is speculation that this plant was the sacred 'Soma' plant, which was used by the ancients of India and Persia as an hallucinogenic aid to understanding the deeper meaning of life[238].

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Propagation

Seed - sow late spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny part of the greenhouse for their first winter. Be careful not to overwater, especially when the plants are dormant. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer[K]. Division in late spring[238].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

50200

Links / References

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