Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala)
Usage / Preparation
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Peganum, Rue, African Rue, Syrian Rue, Harmal shrub, Espand, Isband, Ozallaik, Steppenraute.
Syrian Rue has strong-smelling seeds that are burned in ceremonial fires. Produces a light, distinctly scented smoke when burnt on charcoal disks. 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".
Seeds and roots contain b-carboline alkaloids, mostly harmine, as well as harmaline, harmalol, harman, peganine, isopeganine, dipegene, vasicinone and deoxyvasicinone. "B-carboline alkaloids stimulate the brain and may induce visual hallucinations" (1). "These unusual alkaloids are psychoactive derivatives of B-carboline, When administered to man, the harmala alkaloids are serotonin antagonists, CNS stimulants, hallucinogens and extremely potent, short term Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors. Interestingly enough, neither harmine, harmaline nor P. harmala is included in the Federal Controlled Substance Act." (2)
"Present at 3% by dry weight, the harmala alkaloids may be extracted from the seeds and roots and purified as crystalline bases. Hasenfratz described this process in 1927." (2)
There is at least one harmala alkaloid found in the pineal gland of both humans and several animals. According to some reports, this compound is more abundant in the pineal glands of highly advanced yogis. This has led to speculation that it’s presence may impart power to the "Third Eye" in mid-forehead where the pineal gland lies. (Stafford, 1993) Harmaline is a compound of special interest because it closely resembles substances that are derived from the pineal glands of mammals. In particular, 10-methoxy-harmaline, which may be obtained in vitro from the incubation of serotonin in pineal tissue, resembles harmaline in its subjective effects. This suggests that harmaline, which differs only in the position of the methoxy group, may derive it’s activity from the mimicry of a metabolite that is normally involved in the control of states of consciousness.
Syrian Rue has been used since a very long time in Middle East as a poison. It was known to Dioscorides (40-90), Galien (131-200), and Avicenne (980-1037). It is thought to be the famous Haoma, the sacred inebriating plant cited in an ancient Iranian religious text, the Avesta, in part attributed to Zoroaster (Zarathustra) composed in the first millennium B.C. P. harmala has not been reported in the historical records to be used as a ritual inebriant. The main economic value of the plant in historical times has been as the source of vegetable dyes extracted from the seeds, especially in Turkey where the seeds are made into a red dye, much employed for dying ornate rugs, although it has traditional ethnomedicinal uses as well. In Africa, seeds have been used as incense since ancient times.
In Iran, dried capsules (known in Persian as Espand or Esfand-dâneh, 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. In Turkey dried capsules from this plant are strung and hung in homes or vehicles to protect against "the evil eye".
Harmala alkaloids are short-term Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors. An MAOI acts to inhibit a key enzyme in your body responsible for processes in the brain and throughout the body. It is possible to have severe negative reactions to consuming Rue seeds and preparations. See: MAO Inhibitors - Foods to Avoid.
"Monoamine oxidase (MAO) is an important enzyme in the human body. Located in the outer membrane of mitochondria, MAO breaks down physiologically active amines and renders them harmless and ineffective in a process called oxidative deamination. MAO inactivates biogenic amines like epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. As the amine binds to the enzymes active sight, MAO "attacks" the carbon-hydrogen bond adjacent to the nitrogen. In an extremely rapid, enzyme- catalysed reaction, the amine is converted into a physiologically inactive metabolite. Any drug which interferes with the function of this catabolic enzyme is by definition an MAO inhibitor.
The harmala alkaloids are especially potent short-term MAO inhibitors. They temporarily prevent biogenic amines from binding to the active site of the MAO molecule and undergoing deamination. Amine synthesis continues but inactivation is blocked. The result is an accumulation of physiologically active amines (dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin) within the tissues and at the synapses. MAO inhibitors increase the action of these neurntransmitters at their receptors, which may account for some of the hallucinogenic effects characteristic of the harmala alkaloids. For 3 to 6 hours, the harmala alkaloids interfere with the protective enzyme MAO, before their action is reversed and MAO activity restored." (2)
Peganum harmala is a weed and wasteland species native to the deserts of India whose range stretches through the Gobi desert into the former Soviet Union. Native to the Mediterranean and central Asia. It is is a desert plant.
Growing from a perennial woody rootstock, Peganum harmala is a bright-green, densely foliaged, herbaceous succulent. Although its smooth many-branched stems may have a spread of 120cm or more, the plant is rarely over 60cm tall and generally appears round and bushy in habit. Its leaves are 6cm long, born singly and finely divided into long narrow segments. Each year between June and August, P. harmala produces many single white conspicuous flowers. Measuring 2 to 4cm across, these relatively large and showy blooms have five oblong-elliptic petals as well as five narrow sepals of slightly longer length. Each flower has the potential to develop into a fruit. A leathery, three valved seed capsule that stands erect on its stalk. Each capsule measures about 1cm in diameter and contains more than fifty dark-brown, angular seeds.
Cultivation is easy. Sow seed in very sandy soil. Provide shade for the first year, then plant out in sunny, dry location. Will tolerate freezing. Space plants 50cm apart. Grows 60cm tall.
Legal RemarksPeganum harmala is uncontrolled in the United States. This means all parts of the plant and its extracts are legal to cultivate, buy, possess, and distribute (sell, trade or give) without a license or prescription. If sold as a supplement, sales must conform to U.S. supplement laws. If sold for consumption as a food or drug, sales are regulated by the FDA. The Beta-carbolines (harmala alkaloids) contained are not analogs of any scheduled substance. (Erowid)
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Any information provided about products on this website, including any links to external websites, is purely intended for historical, scientific and educational purposes and should never be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific use of the products.
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|Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala) is thought to have been traditionally used for psychoactive effects. (Stafford, 1995) This species belongs to the Zygophyllaceae family. Seeds from the Syrian Rue contain compounds known as harmala alkaloids. Syrian Rue has a long history of use as a psychoactive drug. It has been used as an entheogen in the Middle East for thousands of years, and in modern Western culture, it is often used as an analogue of Banisteriopsis caapi to create an ad-hoc Ayahuasca. Syrian Rue however has distinct aspects from Banisteriopsis caapi and a unique entheogenic signature.|