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Harmal

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Harmal (Peganum harmala) is a plant of the family Nitrariaceae, native from the eastern Mediterranean region east to India. Its trade name, "Syrian Rue," refers to its resemblance to plants of the rue (Ruta, Rutaceae) family.

It is a perennial plant which can grow to about 0.8 m tall,[1] but normally it is about 0.3 m tall.[2] 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.[2] It blossoms between June and August in the Northern Hemisphere.[3] The flowers are white and are about 2.5–3.8 cm in diameter.[3] The round seed capsules measure about 1–1.5 cm in diameter,[4] have three chambers and carry more than 50 seeds.[3]

Peganum harmala was first planted in the United States in 1928 in the state of New Mexico by a farmer wanting to manufacture the dye "Turkish Red" from its seeds.[2] Since then it has spread invasively to Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington.[5] "Because it is so drought tolerant, African rue can displace the native saltbushes and grasses growing in the salt-desert shrub lands of the Western U.S."[2]

Common names:[6]

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

Traditional uses

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."

In Iran, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of Turkey, dried capsules (known in Persian as اسپند espænd or اسفنددانه esfænd-dāneh) mixed with other ingredients are placed onto red hot charcoal,[7] 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.

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. Some scholars identify Harmal with the entheogenic haoma of pre-Zoroastrian Persian religions.[8]

A red dye, "Turkey Red,"[2] from the seeds is often used in Western Asia to dye carpets.[9] It is also used to dye wool.[2] When the seeds are extracted with water, a yellow fluorescent dye is obtained.[10] If they are extracted with alcohol, a red dye is obtained.[10] 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.[11]

In Yemen it was used to treat depression,[12] 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),"[13] a category of antidepressant.

Smoke from the seeds kills algae, bacteria, intestinal parasites and molds.[9] Peganum harmala has "antibacterial activity,"[14] including antibacterial activity against drug-resistant bacteria.[15]

The "root is applied to kill lice" and when burned, the seeds kill insects.[16] It also inhibits the reproduction of the Tribolium castaneum beetle.[17]

It is also used as an anthelmintic (to expel parasitic worms).[16] Reportedly the ancient Greeks used powdered Peganum harmala seeds to get rid of tapeworms and to treat recurring fevers (possibly malaria).[18]

Peganum harmala is an abortifacient,[19] and, in large quantities, it can reduce spermatogenesis and male fertility in rats.[20]

Antiprotozoal

It is fairly effective against protozoa including malaria. There is evidence that it may be effective against drug-resistant protozoa.[15] It is given in a decoction for laryngitis.[16]

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."[21] "Peganine hydrochloride dihydrate, besides being safe, was found to induce apoptosis in both the stages of L. donovani via loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential."[22]

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."[23]

One study using the medicinal plant Peganum harmali showed it to have a lifesaving effect on cattle infected with the protozoal East Coast fever,[24] which can be 100% fatal and killed 1.1 million cattle in Africa in 1991.

Anticancer

"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."[25]

Peganum harmala has antioxidant and antimutagenic properties.[26]

Peganum harmala as well as harmine exhibit cytotoxicity with regards to HL60 and K562 leukemia cell lines.[27] Ground Peganum harmala seeds have been used occasionally to treat skin cancer and subcutaneous cancers traditionally in Morocco.[28] Seed extracts also show effectiveness against various tumor cell lines both in vitro and in vivo.[28]

Alkaloids

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.[1]
Total harmala alkaloids were at least 5.9% per dried weight, in one study.[29]

The stems of the plant contain about 0.36% alkaloids, the leaves about 0.52%,[31] and the roots up to 2.5%.[32]

Harmine and harmaline are reversible inhibitors of MAO-A (RIMA).[13]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Peganum genus". www.cdfa.ca.gov. http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/ipc/weedinfo/peganum.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "RECOGNITION AND CONTROL OF AFRICAN RUE IN NEVADA". 72.14.253.104. http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:sfvO8us46s8J:www.unce.unr.edu/publications/files/nr/2001/FS0145.pdf+%22peganum+harmala%22+%22red+dye%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=40&gl=us&ie=UTF-8. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Erowid Syrian Rue Vaults: Smoking Rue Extract / Harmala". www.erowid.org. http://www.erowid.org/plants/syrian_rue/syrian_rue_info9.shtml. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  4. "Lycaeum > Leda > Peganum harmala". leda.lycaeum.org. http://leda.lycaeum.org/?ID=360. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  5. "PLANTS Profile for Peganum harmala (harmal peganum) / USDA PLANTS". USDA. 2008-01-17. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PEHA. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  6. "Catalogue of Life : 2007 Annual Checklist : Peganum harmala L.". Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). 2007-01-18. http://www.catalogueoflife.org/show_species_details.php?record_id=715140. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  7. "Aspand - Espand - Esfand - Esphand Against the Evil Eye in Zoroastrian Magic". http://www.luckymojo.com/aspand.html. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  8. Karel van der Torn, ed., "Haoma," Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. (New York: E.J. Brill, 1995), 730.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Peganum harmala". www.ibiblio.org. http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Peganum+harmala. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Mordants". www.fortlewis.edu. http://www.fortlewis.edu/anthro/ethnobotany/Dbase/images/Documents/SW_DYEPLANTS_2.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-19. 
  11. Monsef, Hamid Reza; Ali Ghobadi, Mehrdad Iranshahi, Mohammad Abdollahi (19 February 2004). "Antinociceptive effects of Peganum harmala L. alkaloid extract on mouse formalin test" (PDF). J Pharm Pharmaceut Sci 7 (1): 65–9. http://www.ualberta.ca/~csps/JPPS7(1)/M.Abdolahi/peganum.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  12. "Moses the Shaman". www.scribd.com. http://www.scribd.com/doc/2231000/Moses-the-Shaman. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 Massaro, Edward J. (2002). Handbook of Neurotoxicology. Humana Press. p. 237. ISBN 0896037967. http://books.google.com/books?id=2c2K-epbCDQC&pg=PA237&lpg=PA237&dq=harmaline+antidepressant&source=web&ots=IrcpVr4R_H&sig=5FvlysKKEN7Hb4_YjfgoZM8rsTg. 
  14. Prashanth, D.; S. John (26 March 1999). "Antibacterial activity of Peganum harmala". Fitoterapia 70 (4): 438–9. doi:10.1016/S0367-326X(99)00065-9. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VSC-3Y9HHY8-P&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=aa590588ea25645b5368168a6ad4fcb8. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Arshad N, Zitterl-Eglseer K, Hasnain S, Hess M (November 2008). "Effect of Peganum harmala or its beta-carboline alkaloids on certain antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria and protozoa from poultry". Phytother Res 22 (11): 1533–8. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Peganum harmala". 2004. http://www.sdpi.org/alpine%20medicianl%20herbs/39.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  17. Jbilou R, Amri H, Bouayad N, Ghailani N, Ennabili A, Sayah F (March 2008). "Insecticidal effects of extracts of seven plant species on larval development, alpha-amylase activity and offspring production of Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)". Bioresour Technol. 99 (5): 959–64. 
  18. Panda H (2000). Herbs Cultivation and Medicinal Uses. Delhi: National Institute Of Industrial Research. pp. 435. ISBN 8186623469. http://books.google.com/books?id=Hlh9o7XhesEC&pg=PA434&lpg=PA434&dq=%22peganum+harmala%22+traditional+uses&source=web&ots=H0zkiHevtm&sig=mPuGsjOP_HbReZxDdMVu2LdiqR4&hl=en#PPA435,M1. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 www.thenook.org
  20. El-Dwairi QA, Banihani SM (June 2007). "Histo-functional effects of Peganum harmala on male rat's spermatogenesis and fertility". Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 28 (3): 305–10. 
  21. Misra P, Khaliq T, Dixit A, et al. (November 2008). "Antileishmanial activity mediated by apoptosis and structure-based target study of peganine hydrochloride dihydrate: an approach for rational drug design". J Antimicrob Chemother. 62 (5): 998–1002. 
  22. Misra P. et al. (2008). "Antileishmanial activity mediated by apoptosis and structure-based target study of peganine hydrochloride dihydrate: an approach for rational drug design.". Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 62 (5): 998–1002. 
  23. Lala S. et al. (2004). "Harmine: evaluation of its antileishmanial properties in various vesicular delivery systems.". Journal of Drug Targeting 12 (3): 165–75. 
  24. Derakhshanfar A, Mirzaei M (March 2008). "Effect of Peganum harmala (wild rue) extract on experimental ovine malignant theileriosis: pathological and parasitological findings". Onderstepoort J Vet Res. 75 (1): 67–72. 
  25. Li Y, Liang F, Jiang W, et al. (August 2007). "DH334, a beta-carboline anti-cancer drug, inhibits the CDK activity of budding yeast". Cancer Biol Ther. 6 (8): 1193–9. http://www.landesbioscience.com/journals/cbt/abstract.php?id=4382. 
  26. Moura DJ, Richter MF, Boeira JM, Pêgas Henriques JA, Saffi J (July 2007). "Antioxidant properties of beta-carboline alkaloids are related to their antimutagenic and antigenotoxic activities". Mutagenesis 22 (4): 293–302. 
  27. Jahaniani F, Ebrahimi SA, Rahbar-Roshandel N, Mahmoudian M (July 2005). "Xanthomicrol is the main cytotoxic component of Dracocephalum kotschyii and a potential anti-cancer agent". Phytochemistry 66 (13): 1581–92. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 Lamchouri, F; Settaf A, Cherrah Y, Zemzami M, Lyoussi B, Zaid A, Atif N, Hassar M (1999 Nov-Dec). "Antitumour principles from Peganum harmala seeds". Thérapie 54 (6): 753–8. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 Hemmateenejad B, Abbaspour A, Maghami H, Miri R, Panjehshahin MR (August 2006). "Partial least squares-based multivariate spectral calibration method for simultaneous determination of beta-carboline derivatives in Peganum harmala seed extracts". Anal Chim Acta 575 (2): 290–9. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 Pulpati H, Biradar YS, Rajani M (2008). "High-performance thin-layer chromatography densitometric method for the quantification of harmine, harmaline, vasicine, and vasicinone in Peganum harmala". J AOAC Int 91 (5): 1179–85. 
  31. Hammiche, V.; R. Merad (November 1997). "Peganum harmala L. (PIM 402F, French)" (in French). International Programme on Chemical Safety. http://www.inchem.org/documents/pims/plant/pim402fr.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  32. "Steppenraute (Peganum harmala) im GIFTPFLANZEN.COMpendium - www.giftpflanzen.com". www.giftpflanzen.com. http://www.giftpflanzen.com/peganum_harmala.html. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 

Further reading

  • Al-Shamma A, Drake S, Flynn DL, et al. (1981). "Antimicrobial agents from higher plants. Antimicrobial agents from Peganum harmala seeds". J Nat Prod. 44 (6): 745–7. 

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Harmal. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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