Wild Rue (Peganum Harmala)


Evaluation of Antidiabetic and Antihyperlipidemic Effects of Peganum harmala Seeds in Diabetic Rats


The present study was carried out to investigate the antidiabetic and antihyperlipidemic properties of hydroalcoholic extract of Peganum harmala in streptozotocin-induced diabetic male rats. In an experimental study, 64 normal Wistar albino male rats (200–230 g) were randomly divided into 8 groups. Control and diabetic rats were treated with normal saline and three different doses (30, 60, and 120 mg/kg) of hydroalcoholic extract of Peganum harmala seeds for 4 weeks orally. At the end of treatment, blood samples were taken and glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL-c, HDL-c, malondialdehyde (MDA), total antioxidant capacity (TCA), ALT, AST, GGT, bilirubin, and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) were determined. STZ-induced diabetic rats showed significant changes in the values of glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL-c, MDA, TAC, ALT, AST, GGT, bilirubin, and HbA1C in comparison with normal rats. Administration of the extract to diabetic rats resulted in a remarkable decrease in glucose, lipid profiles, MDA, ALT, AST, GGT, bilirubin, and HbA1C levels and increase in TAC relative to diabetic group. The results of this study indicated that hydroalcoholic extract of Peganum harmala seeds possesses antidiabetic and hypolipidemic activities and could be useful in treatment of diabetes.


Taken together, our findings indicate that hydroalcoholic extract of Peganum harmala exhibits antidiabetic and hypolipidemic activities in streptozotocin-induced diabetic male rats. Further studies are needed to establish the components of the extract and the mechanism(s) by which the extract utilizes its effects.


Pharmacological and therapeutic effects of Peganum harmala and its main alkaloids


Wild Syrian rue (Peganum harmala L. family Zygophyllaceae) is well-known in Iran and various parts of this plant including, its seeds, bark, and root have been used as folk medicine. Recent years of research has demonstrated different pharmacological and therapeutic effects of P. harmala and its active alkaloids, especially harmine and harmaline. Analytical studies on the chemical composition of the plant show that the most important constituents of this plant are beta-carboline alkaloids such as harmalol, harmaline, and harmine. Harmine is the most studied among these naturally occurring alkaloids. In addition to P. harmala (Syrian rue), these beta-carbolines are present in many other plants such as Banisteria caapi and are used for the treatment of different diseases. This article reviews the traditional uses and pharmacological effects of total extract and individual active alkaloids of P. harmala (Syrian rue).


Our aim in preparing this paper was to show the traditional usage and previously confirmed pharmacological effects of P. harmala as one of the most well-known medicinal plants in Iran and to illustrate it’s potential to be used as a novel source for the development of new drugs based on the most recent associated studies. As it is evident from this study, P. harmala has a wide range of pharmacological effects including cardiovascular, nervous system, gastrointestinal, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, osteogenic, immunomodulatory, emmenagogue, and antitumor activity among many other effects. Beta-carboline alkaloids contained in P. harmala are the most important contents of the plant responsible for most of its pharmacological effects. Since there have been many reports of intoxications following ingestion of specific amounts of P. harmala seeds, care should be taken by scientists and clinicians regarding usage of this plant for therapeutic purposes until adequate studies confirm the safety and quality of the plant. Finally, based on this information, this review provides the evidence for other researchers to introduce P. harmala as a safe and effective therapeutic source in the future.


Peganum Harmala L. Extract Reduces Oxidative Stress and Improves Symptoms in 6-Hydroxydopamine-Induced Parkinson’s Disease in Rats


Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders. There are many documents about the effects of oxidative stress in Parkinson’s disease etiology. Angiotensin II activates NADPH dependent oxidases and causes superoxides formation. Peganum harmala L. extract, which has angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory effect, is considered to evaluate oxidative stress inhibition and Parkinson’s disease improvement. Male rats weighting 200-250 g were divided into 5 groups: Control, Neurotoxin (injection of 6-hydroxydopamine into left hemisphere substantia nigra), Peganum harmala’s seeds aqueous extract (10 mg/kg) and captopril (5 mg/kg). Peganum harmala and captopril were injected intraperitonealy -144, -120, -96, -72, -48, -24, -2, 4 and 24 h relative to 6-hydroxydopamine injection time. Muscle stiffness, apomorphine induced unilateral rotation, amount of brain’s protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation, ACE activity and histology of substantia nigra were assayed in all groups. Peganum harmala improved Muscle stiffness and one-direction rotation behavior significantly. It also reduced brain’s lipid and protein oxidation levels in neurotoxin-injected rats significantly. In Peganum harmala group compared to control group, brain’s ACE activity was significantly inhibited. In histological study, Peganum harmala prevented degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, too.


These findings demonstrate that peganum harmala L. has protective effect on 6-OHDA induced hemi-Parkinsonism rats, which might be through ACE inhibition.

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