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What are the Uses and Benefits of Peganum Harmala?

Peganum Harmala

Introduction

Peganum harmala is a perennial, herbaceous plant known as Harmal. It is a popular herb in both spiritual and medicinal customs. It relates to plant Ruta graveolens, therefore, is also known as rue (wild rue, Syrian rue, African rue).

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Rosids
  • Order: Sapindales
  • Family: Nitrariaceae
  • Genus: Peganum
  • Species: P. harmala

Binomial name

Peganum harmala L.

Synonyms

Peganum dauricum Pall.

Peganum crithmifolium Retz.

Peganum rothschildianum

Peganum harmala var. rothschildianum

Peganum harmala var. garamantum

Description

This is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to 0.8 m tall.

Roots

The roots of the plant can reach a depth of up to 6.1 m (20 ft) and 2 cm (0.8 in) thick, if the soil is very dry at the place where it is growing.

Flowers

Flowers are white in color, size may vary from 2.5-3.8 cm in diameter and rise at the end of each stalk. Flowers have five petals and ten pistils.

Seeds

The seeds are slightly curved, triangular and measure about 2 mm (0.08 in) long. Seeds are brown or black in color and the endosperm is oily.

Parts Used Medicinally

Mainly Seeds of this herb are used for medicinal purpose.

Distribution

It mainly grows in the Eastern Mediterranean and throughout the Middle East spreading to India, Mongolia, and Manchuria. It also grows in North Africa.

Cultivation

Harmal grows in a desert climate. It grows very well in late springs in sandy soil and needs only a modest amount of water. This plant requires a warm atmosphere for cultivation.

Constituents of Peganum Harmala

Seeds comprise various alkaloids Harmane (0.16%), Harmine 0.44%, Harmaline (0.25%), Harmalol (0.6%), Tetrahydroharmine, 0.1%,, Vasicine (0.25%), Vasicinone (0.0007%). The stems and blossom contain 1-peganine alkaloids.

Therapeutic Use of Peganum Harmala

1. Asthma

This herb is beneficial in the treatment of asthma.

2. Insomnia

This herb has a narcotic property and it can be used to reduce sleepiness and insomnia.

3. Tapeworm Infection

The seeds of Harmal are beneficial in reducing tapeworm infection. The alkaloid harmaline present in seeds has antihelmintic property. It eliminates the worms present in the intestines or other parts of the body. The seed powder is used to expel the worms.

4. Menstrual Disorder

This herb regulates menstrual periods and helpful in relieving difficult and painful menstruation. The decoction from the seeds is used for this condition. But this herb is avoided during pregnancy.

5. Fever

The Harmal is effective in relieving remittent and chronic fevers. It is also useful in relieving chronic malaria. The seeds of this plant can be used in the form of powder, infusion, and decoction. It lowers the temperature and reduces other symptoms such as weakness, body pains, and loss of appetite.

6. Laryngitis

It is also used in the treatment of laryngitis which is defined as the inflammation of the larynx. A decoction made up from seeds can be used as a mouth wash.

7. Head Lice

A paste of Harmal roots and mustard oil used externally for killing head lice.

8. Maintain Blood Pressure.

Harmal reduces vascular, muscle contraction and helps to maintain blood pressure.

This herb relieves symptoms associated with depression , stress, anxiety disorder or social anxiety.

9. Stomach Illnesses

This herb is also used to get relief from stomach illnesses. Gas and excessive boasting can be reduced by the use of this herb.

10. Mental Disorder

This herb contains Harmine alkaloid which is a chemical substance used to treat mental disorders and neurotic diseases (epilepsy, palsy, dementia, and amnesia). It also reduces inflammation of the brain.

11. Blood Purifier

Harmal purifies the blood and eliminates toxins from the body.

12. Kidney Function

It improves kidney function. Frequency and amount of urine can be increased by the use of this herb.

13. Improve Digestion

This herb treats constipation and improves digestion. It also increases appetite.

14. Cooling Effects

Harmal herb provides cooling effects which help to reduce burning in body and acidity.

15. Relieve Pain

It provides relief from pain, toothache,joint pains, backache and also relaxes the body.

16. Lactation

Harmal increases breast milk production during lactation.

Dosage

The appropriate dose of Peganum harmala depends on several factors such as patient's age, health, and several other conditions. So it's better to consult with doctor, pharmacist or health care provider who is familiar to this herb.

Side Effects

  1. At high doses it can cause severe side- effects so use only under the medical supervision.
  2. Hypothermia, Increased or Decreased heart muscle contraction
  3. Increase pulse pressure
  4. In long terms, it can reduce the level of follicular-stimulating hormone and testosterone, decrease in sperm count and third-degree heart block.
  5. It can cause abnormal heart rhythms, low blood pressure and suspended breathing when injected through blood vessels.
  6. This herb can stimulate menstruation, which can lead to abortion if taken during pregnancy. So, avoid the use of Harmal herb during pregnancy.
  7. It may show severe side effects when given to a person having any type of allergy.
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