Peganum harmala L.

Peganum harmala L.

 Kingdom:                           PlantaePeganum harmala L.

Synonyms:                         Harmala peganum Crantz

Order:                                   Sapindales

Family:                                 Nitrariaceae

Genus:                                   Peganum

Species:                                P. harmala

Sindhi Name:                     Harmal

English Name:                   Harmal, Wild rue

Part Used:                           Seeds



Peganum harmala L. is a perennial, 25-60 cm tall, glabrous and corymbosely branched herb. Leaves are sessile and subelliptic or linear-lanceolate. Flowers yellowish white or white in color, sepals are linear glabrous, and entire or rarely pinnatifid. Petals are oblong-elliptic or oblong, subequal, and obtuse. Seeds are blackish-brown in color and triangular in shape [1].


The plant is widely present in North Africa, Central Asia, Middle East, India, Pakistan, Russia, and Tibet [1, 2].

Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases

  1. Peganum harmala L. (Hermal) seeds are heated and their paste is applied for curing measles, wound healing, and pyoderma in Districts Mitiari, Tandoallahyar and Tando Mohammad Khan (Sindh).
  2. Steam of water of P. harmala seeds is taken for the treatment of measles in District Badin (Sindh).
  3. Ashes of P. harmala are used for curing measles in District Nawabshah (Sindh).
  4. Paste of P. harmala leaves is applied to the affected area for curing measles in District Thatta (Sindh).

Chemical Constituents

Main constituents of P.harmala have are alkaloids which are present in seeds and roots. These include β-carbolines such as harmaline, harmine, harman and harmalol. It also contains quinazoline derivatives such as vasicine and vasicinone [3].

Chemical Structure:

Peganum harmala

Medical Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific Studies:

This plant has been used traditionally as an as abortifacient and emmenagogue agent. [4, 5]  Seeds are used for the treatment of amenorrhea [6]. Powder of seed is used for curing asthma, jaundice and as an anthelmintic against tapeworms. Seed of this plant also exhibited narcotic, antispasmodic, hypotonic, emetic, and antiperiodic activities. For curing laryngitis, decoction of seeds is used [1].


  2. Rechinger, K. H. (1982). Salvia.Flora Iranica. Akademische Druck and Verlagsanstalt, Graz, Austria, 439.
  3. Kamel, S., Ibrahim, L., Afifi, A., &Hamza, S. (1970). Major Alkaloial constituents of the Egyptian plant peganum harmala.
  4. Casey, R. C. (1960). 298 alleged anti-fertility plants of India.Indian journal of medical sciences14, 590-600.
  5. Boulus L. The Medicinal Plants of North Africa. Algonac: References Publication Inc.; 1983. p. 195.
  6. Ben, S. N., Amamou, M., Jerbi, Z., Ben, S. F., &Yacoub, M. (1985). A case of overdose with Peganum harmala L.Journal de toxicologie clinique etexperimental6(5), 319-322.