Introduction to Syrian RuePeganum harmala is a perennial shrub with fleshy spikey-looking leaves, growing up to 1 meter tall. Its small, brown seeds contains harmine and other harmala alkaloids.
Using Syrian RuePeganum harmala seeds are commonly used as a short-acting reversible MAOI in combination with DMT or DMT-containing plants, less commonly with other psychoactives such as mescaline and/or peyote (Ott 1996; Shulgin 1997), and even less commonly as a psychoactive in their own right (Ott 1994; Shulgin, 1997). While some people report chewing and swallowing the seeds directly, or swallowing crushed seeds in capsules, simple acid extractions are often used.
Ways of administration:The plant is usually dosed orally with seeds or dosed orally as an extract. The extracted plant material can also be used in combination with vaporized DMT and can be used in orally-administered DMT. The combination oral dosage method requires a short duration to become functionally able to inhibit MAO.
Effects of Syrian RueMost Common Side Effects
Less Common Side Effects
- dry mouth
- light-headedness, dizziness
- low blood pressure
- headache (mild)
- sleepiness, tiredness, weakness
- trouble sleeping
- muscle twitching during sleep
- shakiness, trembling, restlessness
- blurred vision
- weight gain
- reduced tolerance for alcohol
- decreased amount of urine
- decreased sexual ability
- increased appetite (especially for sweets) or weight gain
High Blood Pressure
This may occur if you eat restricted foods or medications. Early symptoms of rising blood pressure may include stiff neck, headache, palpitations, chest pain, nausea or vomiting, flushing or chills, apprehension, pallor or sweating. This can lead to hypertensive crisis (extremely high blood pressure) and when severe and can be life-threatening.
Stop taking the MAO Inhibitor and get emergency help if you experience signs of very high blood pressure including:
Rare Side Effects
- Severe chest pain
- fast or slow heartbeat;
- Severe headaches
- Severe Dizziness or lightheadedness
- increased sweating (possibly with fever or cold, clammy skin)
- nausea and vomiting
- stiff or sore neck
- swelling of feet or lower legs
- increased sensitivity of eyes to light
- enlarged pupils
Some side effects are not serious. However, tell your doctor if these bother you or do not go away, or if you experience any other unexplained side effects.
- dark urine
- skin rash
- slurred speech
- sore throat
- staggering walk
- yellow eyes or skin
Combinations with Syrian RuePeganum harmala (Syrian Rue) seeds contain approximately 3% (2-6%) harmaline, harmine, and other harmaline alkaloids (Shulgin 1997; Most 1985; G&Z 1985). Harmaline and harmine are very potent inhibitors of monoamine oxidase (MAO). MAO is an enzyme that converts biogenic amines (noradrenaline, and serotonine) as well as psychoactive tryptamines into psychologically inactive aldehydes. A combination of tryptamine- or phenethylamine derivatives (which are substrate for MAO) with b-carbolines, will result in orally active preparations in which the psychological effects are lengthed and intensified.
For this purpose numerous plants can be used (for example Psychotria viridis). Combinations with cacti that contain phenethylamines are also possible, but due to the presence of the toxic tyramine, it is pharmacologically not safe to combine them with MAO-inhibitors.
The quinazoline members (vasicine, vasicinon and desoxyvasicinon) exhibit abortifacient activity; the uterine stimulatory effect is probably due to the release of prostaglandins and in addition, vasicine and vasicinon possess bronchodilatory activity.1
Peganum harmala seeds are commonly used as a short-acting reversible MAOI in combination with DMT or DMT-containing plants, less commonly with other psychoactives such as mescaline and/or peyote (Ott 1996; Shulgin 1997), and even less commonly as a psychoactive in their own right (Ott 1994; Shulgin, 1997). While some people report chewing and swallowing the seeds directly, or swallowing crushed seeds in capsules, simple acid extractions are often used.
Different Uses for Syrian RueThe plant is used as a psychoactive or a MAOI in combination with another drug. Dosages from 3 g up to 28g are taken to produce psychoactive effects (Shulgin 1997; Most 1985). At psychoactive dosages, Peganum harmala typically produces heavy somatic effects (cf. Shulgin 1997).
The typical usage however is for the orally-active administration of other psychoactive drugs, but it can be used on its own if necessary.
The concentration of β-carbolines in various parts of P. harmala has been determined. The table below gives the concentraction of β-carbolines found in P. harmala (expressed in mg/g ± Standard Error of the Mean). Blanks in the table correspond to values lower than 0.01mg/g.
Plant Harmalol Harmol Harmaline Harmine Tetrahydroharmine Dry seeds 6.03±0.39 0.03±0.007 56.0±2.28 43.2±2.0 1.1±0.2 Green fruits 4.17±1.14 - 4.55±0.02 6.14±1.2 - Capsule walls - - 0.54±0.09 0.77±0.1 - Stems 0.09±0.09 0.10±0.09 - 2.02±0.32 - Leaves - - - 1.04±0.06 - Flowers - - - - - Roots 2.03±0.43 14.1±2.2 - 20.68±2.5 -
The dry seeds contain significant amounts of harmine and harmaline (respectively at the concentration of 5.6% and 4.3 %). It is also worth mentioning the presence of harmine and harmol in the roots at concentrations of 2.07 % and 1.4 % respectively.
The dangers of Syrian RueSyrian Rue contains the harmala MAOI, and the dangers imposed by MAOIs must be understood and harm reduction techniques for harmala and harmaline must be followed accordingly. Certain drug combinations with MAOIs can pose a health threat. Dietary restrictions are also a factor in MAOI usage.
With regards to food combinations, on rare occasions, cardiac arrhythmias, cardiac failure, and intracerebral hemorrhage have developed in patients receiving MAOI therapy that did not observe dietary restrictions (Brown & Bryant, 1988). Therefore, dietary restrictions are required for patients receiving MAOIs. Extensive dietary restrictions previously published were collected over a decade ago and due to changes in food processing and more reliable analytical methods, new recommendations have been published (Anon, 1989; McCabe, 1986)
There has also been evidence that 5-HTP usage can cause potential health risks in combination with an MAOI by inhibiting the metabolism of monoamine compounds such as serotonin. Please be advised of other drugs that can fall under this category.
A generalized list of drugs to avoid include:
- All SSRIs (prozac, zoloft, and several other anti-depressants)
SSRIs block the reuptake of serotonin in the brain. Because MAOIs inhibit the breakdown of serotonin, the combination of MAOIs and SSRIs can lead to dangerously high levels of serotonin in the brain (serotonin syndrome). Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include nausea, vomiting, blackouts, memory loss, increased blood pressure and increased heart rate.
- Cold preparations (tablets, capsules, or liquids such as Comtrex)
- Cough medications containing decongestants, Dextromethorphan (DXM), or Demerol
- Sinus medications
- Nose drops or nasal sprays
- Nasal decongestants
- Hay fever medications
- Diet pills
- Amphetamines --- speed
- MDMA --- Ecstasy
- MDE, MDA, and other "MD" compounds
- Cocaine --- crack
Producing/Growing Syrian RueThis woody perennial belongs to the zygophyllaceae and is native to dry areas from the Middle East to India. This species has segmented leaves, produces small white flowers and reaches 0.5-1 meter in height.
The seeds germinate fairly reliable by scattering them over the surface of the soils and tamping them in. The seedlings should be transplanted carefully. Temperature should be kept warm (a greenhouse is ideal for colder climates).
The peganum harmala seeds germinate fairly reliably by scattering them thinly over the surface of normal, moist seed mix and tamping them in. Keep in a little bit filtered sun and maintain moisture. Temperature should be kept warm. We let them stay put for awhile, even if crowded, since disturbing young seedlings can be fatal.
Once they seem like they have solid bases at the stem, carefully transplant with attention to the fine root hairs and adhering soil, so as not to unduly break them or bare-root the seedlings. Repot by burying a little deeper then before. Place out of full sun for awhile and water them but don't overdo it. Seeds will continue to spontaneously sprout even years later from the sowing mix.
There seems to be a narrow niche this species requires to be happy and is difficult to reproduce in a growing environment. In the wild, despite mother bushes casting of thousands of viable seeds all summer and fall, relatively few take hold. Those young plants seen in the habitat are in specific microclimates such as in the indentations of livestock hooves in the soil. This microclimate perhaps offers more moisture and shade which attributes to growing success. The seeds will often sprouts successfully, but often succumb to uncertain cultivation needs. It is best to use sandy mix and only water when they are require water. A partial filter from direct mid-day sun is advisable and make sure they are warm for best growing results.
In natural habitat, it gets pretty cold at night, but it is during a dry season and we are told some people have great success storing their plants over winters by letting the plants actually dry up in the pots, put them in a dark, cool spot and bring them back to life in spring.
Forms of Syrian RueCommon names:
- African rue
- Esphand (Persian, اسپند - سپند)
- Harmal peganum
- Harmal shrub
- Syrian rue
- Yüzerlik, üzerlik (Turkish)
- Luotuo-peng (Chinese, 骆驼篷)
Legal status of Syrian Rue
USAPeganum harmala is uncontrolled in the United States. This means all parts of the plant and its extracts are federally 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.
Please be advised of all state laws in accordance with your current state of residence and their drug policies. State and federal laws dictate different circumstances with regard to Syrian Rue usage, possession, and trafficking.
U.S. STATE LAW
Per the AZ Department of Agriculture's Plant Services Divison regulation, R3-4-245. Prohibited Noxious Weeds, Peganum harmala is listed as a species whose "viable plant parts (stolons, rhizomes, cuttings and seed, except agricultural, vegetable and ornamental seed for planting purposes) [are] prohibited from entering the state".
Peganum harmala is listed as an "A list" noxious weed in California. Generally this means that importation, distribution, or cultivation are restricted in some manner. See USDA.gov.
Peganum harmala is listed as an "A list" noxious weed in Colorado. Generally this means that importation, distribution, or cultivation are restricted in some manner. See USDA.gov.
Effective Aug 8, 2005 (signed into law Jun 28, 2005) Louisiana Act No 159 makes 40 plants illegal, including Peganum harmala, when intended for human consumption. The law specifically excludes the "possession, planting, cultivation, growing, or harvesting" of these plants if used "strictly for aesthetic, landscaping, or decorative purposes." (Text of HLS_05RS-52)
Peganum harmala is listed as an "A list" noxious weed in Nevada. Generally this means that importation, distribution, or cultivation are restricted in some manner. See USDA.gov.
Peganum harmala is listed as an "A list" noxious weed in New Mexico. Generally this means that importation, distribution, or cultivation are restricted in some manner. See USDA.gov.
Peganum harmala is listed as an "A list" noxious weed in Oregon. Generally this means that importation, distribution, or cultivation are restricted in some manner. See USDA.gov.
Tennessee did not pass the proposed 2005 bill that would have banned dozens of plants as "hallucinogenic" when intended for human consumption. Instead, they banned only Salvia divinorum. See Comments on New State Laws Controlling the Consumption of Hallucinogenic Plants.
FrancePeganum harmala has been classified on schedule IV on the narcotic list. (decree of 04/20/2005, published in Journal Officiel n°0102 on 05/03/2005)
History of Syrian RueSyrian rue appears in the ancient literature (Dioscorides) under the name peganon. This name may have been derived from that of Pegasus, the winged horse of ancient mythology that was begotten by Poseidon, the god of the sea, and the dying Medusa. The plant has also been interpreted as the legendary magical plant known as moly.
The seeds, which are used both medicinally and ritually, were imported from Persia to India by the Muslims at an early date. The plant was present in central Europe by the 15th century at the latest and was portrayed by the “fathers of botany”. In the Near East and North Africa, Syrian rue has retained its great significance as ritual incense into the present day.
Syrian rue was a sacred plant in the ancient Orient. The Koran states, “Every root, every leaf of harmel, is watched over by an angel who waits for a person to come in search of healing”. For this reason, it is said that dervishes in Buchara also esteem and ritually utilize harmel seeds.
Syrian rue seeds, in the form of small incense balls (sepetan), are still offered by burning great quantities during Nouruz (New Day), the ancient Iranian and now Islamisized spring and New Year’s festival. The ascending smoke is distributed throughout the entire house to keep away all misfortune. In Persia (Iran, Iraq), the seeds are scattered over glowing coals at weddings to ward off evil spirits and the evil eye. It is said that the smoke is also capable of dispelling epidemic diseases.
In Baluchistan (Pakistan), the seeds are used to neutralize the enchantments of a jin and to banish all evil spirits in general. A person who has fallen under the spell of or has been possessed by a jin is urged to inhale as mush as possible of the smoke rising from the crackling seeds on the charcoals. It is said that such a treatment usually results in a rapid improvement. Harmel is also used as a fumigant in Turkey to counteract the effects of the evil eye.
In North Africa, Syrian rue has been regarded as a magical and medicinal panacea since ancient times. The seeds are used as incense, both alone and in combination with other plants. The seeds are scattered over charcoal to dispel evil spirits. The smoke is inhaled to treat headaches, the consequences of the evil eye, and venereal diseases. In Morocco, an incense of Syrian rue seeds, alum, and olibanum is burned during the wedding night to fan the flames of desire.
In the Himalayas and neighboring regions, shamans use the seeds as magical incense. The shamans of the Hunza, who live in what is now Pakistan, inhale the smoke to enter a clairvoyant trance. The shamans (bitaiyo) then enter into a close, lusty, sexual contact with the divining fairies, who give them important information and the ability to heal.
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ReferencesSyrian Rue (Peganum Harmala) image:
http://healthyhomegardening.com/imag...syrian_rue.jpg retrieved 23/05/2010
Herraiz T, González D, Ancín-Azpilicueta C, Arán VJ, Guillén H (March 2010). "beta-Carboline alkaloids in Peganum harmala and inhibition of human monoamine oxidase (MAO)". Food Chem. Toxicol. 48 (3): 839–45.
Erowid Articles on MAOIs, Harmaline, and Syrian Rue
Wikipedia entry on Syrian Rue and Harmala
TiHKAL Entry on Harmaline