Peganum harmala L. - Nitrariaceae - Syrian rue, harmal, African rue, Steppenraute
Perennial plant with white flowers, usually 0.3m, sometimes to 1m high.
„It occurs mainly in deserts, semi-deserts and steppes of western Asia to northern India, but occasionally also in the Mediterranean region. Because of the harman alkaloids contained in the whole plant, extracts are some of the oldest hallucinogens and remedies used… Until today it is traditionally used in the Middle East and Western Asia for ritualistic incense, fragrance purposes and as a coloring agent for carpets and wool…“ http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steppenraute
Harmine (14%) is the main constituent of the smoke from P.harmala seeds. It represented the most potent antibacterial activity, compareable with gentamicin. The antimicrobial activities of harmine against Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger, and Cryptococcus neoformans is better than that of nystatin. [Antimicrobial activity and main chemical composition of two smoke condensates from Peganum harmala seeds. Shahverdi, Ahmad R., et al. Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung C-Journal of Biosciences, Vol.60 (9-10), 2005, 707-710] http://znaturforsch.com/ac/v60c/s60c0707.pdf
„For a long time P. harmala has been used in traditional medicines for the relief of pain and as an antiseptic agent. P. harmala also have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, antidiabetic, antitumor, antileishmanial, insecticidal and cytotoxic activities and hepatoprotective and antinociceptive effects. Harmaline, harmine, harmalol, harman, quinazoline derivatives, vasicine, vasicinone, anthroquinons and fixed oils are reported from seeds and roots of this plant. This plant is used as a medicine in Turkey, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, India, Egypt and Spain…
The commonly known phytochemical compounds from P.harmala are alkaloids, flavonoids and anthraquinones. Total alkaloid content of P. harmala varied between 2 and 5%. Harmaline, harmine, harmalol, harmol and tetrahydroharmine are identified and quantified as the main beta-carboline alkaloids in P.harmala extracts. Seeds and roots contain the highest levels of alkaloids with low levels in stems and leaves, and absent in flowers. Harmine and harmaline accumulate in dry seeds at 4.3 and 5.6% (w/w), respectively, harmalol at 0.6% and tetrahydroharmine at 0.1% (w/w). Roots contain harmine and harmol with 2.0 and 1.4% (w/w), respectively. Peganine, isopeganine, dipeganine and deoxypeganine are also identified in the P. harmala. Harmaline (harmidine) was first isolated from the seeds and roots of P. harmala and is the major alkaloid of this plant. Harmine (banisterine) is also present in P. harmala and pharmacologically resembles harmaline in its actions, but is less toxic.“ [Chemistry, pharmacology and medicinal properties of Peganum harmala L., J. Asgarpanah, F. Ramezanloo, African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology Vol. 6(22), 2012, 1573-1580] http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/AJPP/article-full-text-pdf/57B887028600