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Medicinal, culinary and unusual botanicals from Australia and around the world

Peganum harmala – Syrian Rue (plant)

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Peganum harmala is a small erect shrub up to 0.5 metres in height, native to south Europe, north Africa and subtropical Asia. Family Zygophyllaceae.

Syrian Rue seeds are used as a dye and as a spice in Turkey. The smoke from the seeds is a traditional intoxicant and sexual stimulant in central Asia (Esphand). Seeds contain beta carboline alkaloids. Smoke from the seeds kills algae, bacteria, intestinal parasites and molds. Peganum harmala has antibacterial activity, including against drug-resistant bacteria (Harmal info at Wikipedia).

When Syrian Rue seeds are extracted with water, a fluorescent yellow dye is obtained. When the seeds are extracted with alcohol, a red dye is obtained, commonly called ‘Turkey Red’ used to dye carpets and wool.

Care and Cultivation of Peganum harmala

Peganum harmala is a plant native to arid regions, Syrian Rue likes a well drained poor soil in full sun. May be subject to statutory control as a weed in some parts of Australia, please check your local/state laws.

1 plant (Not to SA, WA, TAS)


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