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Harmal (Peganum harmala) flower
Harmal (Peganum harmala) flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Sapindales
Family: Nitrariaceae
Genus: Peganum
Species: P. harmala
Binomial name
Peganum harmala
File:Peganum harmala0.jpg
Harmal seed capsules

Harmal (Peganum harmala) is a plant of the family Nitrariaceae, native from the eastern Mediterranean region east to India. It is also sometimes known as Syrian Rue, a confusing name as it is not related to rue (Ruta, family Rutaceae).

In the United States Peganum harmala grows as an invasive exotic in Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington.[1]

Traditional uses

It 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 notorious South American mixture of phyto-indoles including DMT with β-carbolines. Syrian Rue however has distinct aspects from caapi and a unique entheogenic signature.

In Turkey dried capsules from this plant are strung and hung in homes or vehicles to protect against "the evil eye".

In Iran, dried capsules (known in Persian as اسپند espænd or اسفنددانه esfænd-dāneh) - mixed with other ingredients - are burnt so as to produce a light, distinctly scented smoke or incense. It is used as an air as well as mind purifier - perhaps linked to its entheogenic properties - and mostly as a charm against "the evil eye". This Persian practice dates to pre-Islamic, Zoroastrian times.

Peganum harmala is also an abortifacient.[2]


Harmaline, the main alkaloid of Peganum harmala

The active alkaloids of Harmal seeds are the MAOI (MonoAmine Oxidase Inhibitor) compounds harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine (collectively known as harmala alkaloids). Harmaline is a "reversible inhibitor of MAO-A (RIMA)."[3] The seeds contain about 2-6% alkaloids, most of which is harmaline.[4]


External links


ar:حرمل de:Steppenraute fa:اسفند_(گیاه)

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