Specification & Spread

Peganum harmala herb — herba pegani harmalae
Peganum harmala — peganum harmala l.
Zygophyllaceous family — zygophyllaceae
Other names: African rue, steppe rue, harmel peganum.

It is a perennial naked herbaceous with a strong specific odor and 40-50 (70) cm tall.
The stems are among several, furrowed, strongly branched, spreading, twisting and densely leafy.
The leaves are sessile, alternate, 4-5 (7) cm long, doubly pinned to linear segments.
The flowers are numerous, single, rather large, regular, pentamerous with a double perianth and slightly yellowish. There are 15 stamens, the ovary is upper.
The fruit is a spherical three-locular capsule with numerous seeds.

It blooms in May – July, it bears fruits from late June to August.

Spreading. Peganum is widespread in Central Asia and South Kazakhstan, often found in the dry steppes of the southern regions of the European part of the country and in the Caucasus.

Habitat. It grows on clay and sandy soils in flat semi-deserts, foothills and in the mountains to an altitude of 2800 m above sea level. It is a ruderal plant and a grazing weed.


All parts of the plant contain alkaloids – derivatives of quinazoline and indole.
In the phase of budding, alkaloids of the quinazoline group accumulate in the amount of 1.5-3%, mainly L-peganine.
In the flowering and fruiting phase, the alkaloids of the indole group dominate – harmine, harmalin, etc.

Since different groups of alkaloids are accumulated in different phases, it is necessary to follow the deadline for its preparation in order to obtain high-quality raw materials.

In addition to alkaloids in the aerial parts there are found:

  • tannins,
  • saponins,
  • organic acids.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The aerial part of peganum is harvested in early spring (in the second half of April) during the budding phase and only in dry weather.

Security measures. For normal growth and recovery of plants, the harvesting in natural thickets on the same areas should be carried out 1 time in 2 years.

Drying. The cutting herb is quickly prepared for drying, for this it is cut into pieces about 8 cm long and laid out in a thin layer 4-5 cm thick. It is dried in the sun, occasionally turning over. Care must be taken while harvesting, drying and post-harvesting the herb of peganum, as working with raw materials can cause nausea and headache.

The raw material is a mixture of pieces of stems, leaves, buds and flowers.
The pieces of the stems are bare, cylindrical, ribbed, slightly lipy, yellowish-green, from 5 to 80 mm long and up to 8 mm thick.
The pieces of leaf segments of various shapes and sizes are with parallel venation, bare, yellowish or brownish-green, its length is from 0.5 to 20 mm.
The buds are oblong-oval green or yellowish-green.
The flowers are pentamerous. The corolla is separate, the calyx is deeply divided to five and hairless. The sepals and petals are yellowish.

The raw materials have a specific and unpleasant smell. The taste is not determined(!).

Properties and application

The pharmacological properties of peganum The alkaloids of the quinazoline group have:

  • anticholinesterase activity,
  • contribute to the restoration of neuromuscular conduction,
  • increase the tone of smooth muscles.

Application of peganum

It is applied with lesions of the peripheral nervous system of various etiologies,
in the treatment of the consequences of cerebral circulation.

  • Epilepsy,
  • peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum,
  • bronchial asthma,
  • hypertension.