Peganum harmala Linn

Family ► Zygophyllaceae.

Habitat ► Throughout Northern and Northwestern India, and in drier regions of Deccan.

English ► Wild Rue; Foreign Henna, Syrian Rue.

Ayurvedic ► Haramal, Isband.

Siddha/Tamil ► Simaiyaravandi, Simaiyalavinai.

Action ► Plant—emmenagogue, abortifacient. Seeds—narcotic, hypnotic, antispasmodic, anodyne and emetic; used in asthma, hiccough, colic, neuralgia, hysteria, dysmenorrhoea; used as abortifa-cient (properties similar to ergot, savine and rue). (Dried seeds constitute the drug Harmal of Indian medicine.)

The plant gave flavonoids—kaem-pferol, quercetin and acacetin. Aerial parts and seeds contain alkaloids— harmine, harmaline and harmalol (called harman alkaloids). Harman alkaloids from the seeds have been suggested for use in nervous diseases, and as coronary dilators and embolic. Harmol exhibits hypertensive activity. Harmine, vasicinone, deoxyvasici-none and 8-hydroxy glucosylharmine exhibit antitumour activity.

The alkaloids, harmine, harmaline and harmol exhibit antibacterial and antifungal activity.

The aqueous extract of seeds exhibited significant antiviral activity in vitro against herpes virus hominis type 1, slight activity was also observed against influenza viruses A and B. The plant extract exhibits significant analgesic activity.

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