The ripe seed contains 3.8 - 5.8% of the alkaloids harmine, harmaline, harmalol and peganine. 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.The seed is used as an incense.
The fruit and seed are digestive, diuretic, hallucinogenic, narcotic and uterine stimulant. They are taken internally in the treatment of stomach complaints, urinary and sexual disorders, epilepsy, menstrual problems, mental and nervous illnesses. The seed has also been used as an anthelmintic in order to rid the body of tapeworms. This remedy should be used with caution and preferably under the guidance of a qualified practitioner since excessive doses cause vomiting and hallucinations. The seeds contain the substance 'harmine' which is being used in research into mental disease, encephalitis and inflammation of the brain. Small quantities stimulate the brain and are said to be therapeutic, but in excess harmine depresses the central nervous system. A crude preparation of the seed is more effective than an extract because of the presence of related indoles. 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. The oil obtained from the seed is said to be aphrodisiac. The oil is also said to have galactogogue, ophthalmic, soporific and vermifuge properties. The seed is used externally in the treatment of haemorrhoids and baldness. The whole plant is said to be abortifacient, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue and galactogogue. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of rheumatism.The root has been used as a parasiticide in order to kill body lice. It is also used internally in the treatment of rheumatism and nervous conditions.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Peganum harmala. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Although this species comes from dry desert areas, it responds well to cultivation so long as the soil is very well drained. It can tolerate temperatures down to about -20°c if the soil is dry.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.
Problems, pests & diseases
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