Syrian rue, scientifically known as Peganum harmala, has been a companion to humanity since time immemorial, emerging as a treasure trove of nature with an array of applications and benefits. Originating from Southern Europe and North Africa, this herb has transcended borders and cultures, naturalizing in Europe and North America where it’s cultivated not only for its ornamental value but also for its medicinal properties.

Historically, Syrian rue has been prized for its potent antiviral, antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a cornerstone in European folk medicine. Beyond its medicinal realm, it extends into gastronomy as a condiment and insect repellent, and even in the production of essential oils, though with caution due to its potency.

Benefits of Syrian rue

What is Syrian Rue?

Syrian rue (Peganum Harmala), also known as harmal or dharma, is native to regions from the Eastern Mediterranean to India and North Africa. It’s a perennial herb not exceeding 80 cm in height, thriving primarily in arid lands and desert areas. Mainly cultivated in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India, it’s now grown worldwide.

Syrian Rue Benefits

Syrian rue, particularly Ruta graveolens, boasts numerous health benefits due to its diverse bioactive compounds. It contains alkaloids, flavonoids like rutin, tannins, coumarins, and essential oils, contributing to its medicinal properties, including:

Emmenagogue and Uterine Stimulant Properties

Known for stimulating uterine muscles to induce menstruation in case of delays caused by stress, hormonal imbalances, or excessive physical activity. However, due to its potential abortive properties, its use should be cautious and under medical supervision.

Digestive System Improvement

Aids in digestion and relieves constipation and other digestive disorders by stimulating biliary function.

Cardiovascular and Antioxidant Benefits

The extract has been researched for its potential effects in improving cardiovascular function and antioxidant properties, contributing to the overall health of the circulatory system.

Anxiety Relief

Its calming effects can help reduce anxiety and stress, promoting relaxation.

Antispasmodic Properties

Useful in treating stomach cramps and diarrhea due to its ability to relieve spasms.

Varicose Veins Treatment and Circulation Improvement

Helps strengthen and tone blood vessels, aiding in varicose veins treatment and improving circulation.

Pain and Inflammation Relief

Applied topically or consumed in infusion, it can alleviate pain and inflammation, beneficial for sprains, joint pains, and sciatica.

Hair Care

Historically used to strengthen hair, promote growth, and combat hair loss.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Syrian Rue

The primary advantages include the medicinal applications mentioned above. Additionally, its Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) enzyme inhibiting function enhances the effects of other plants like ayahuasca, and even certain mushrooms and extracts like THC. Another advantage is its availability through online stores, making it more accessible worldwide.

What is the Syrian rue

Disadvantages Notable disadvantages include potential strict regulations and restrictions due to its psychoactive substances. Also, it has unpleasant side effects if not used carefully and correctly, making it crucial to know the proper consumption methods to avoid risks.

Precautions with Syrian Rue

Given its high content of psychoactive substances, negative effects can occur if consumed indiscriminately or incorrectly. Adverse effects may include dizziness, strong cramps, vomiting, and at very high doses, it becomes a potent poison that can cause severe symptoms like bradycardia, seizures, paralysis, hypothermia, and intense hallucinations.

The MAO inhibitory activity also poses a high risk if combined indiscriminately with other psychoactive substances and some foods, leading to severe health repercussions.

When using Syrian rue (Ruta graveolens), it’s crucial to take specific precautions for safe usage to avoid potential adverse effects. Some key precautions include:

  • Moderation and Toxicity Awareness: Due to potential toxicity at high doses, it’s vital to moderate intake and adhere to appropriate dosage guidelines to prevent symptoms like dizziness and vomiting, and in severe cases, renal or liver damage.
  • Contact Dermatitis: Handling the plant, especially with sun exposure, can cause phototoxic dermatitis, resulting in rashes and burns. Use gloves when handling the plant and avoid direct sunlight exposure after topical application to prevent skin reactions.
  • Medication Interactions: Syrian rue may interact with certain medications, enhancing or inhibiting their effects. Consulting a healthcare professional before combining it with any medical treatment is advisable.

How to Use Syrian Rue?

The primary method of consuming Syrian rue involves chewing a portion of the seeds, thoroughly grinding them with teeth, and keeping them in the mouth for atat least 2 minutes to allow saliva enzymes to activate and release its active principles.

Other effects of Syrian rue

For therapeutic or recreational purposes, care should be taken not to exceed recommended doses to avoid risks. Suggested dosages are:

  • Mild experience: 1 gram.
  • Moderate experience: 3 grams.
  • Extremely strong experience: 5 grams (maximum dose).

To enhance the effects of substances like DMT or psychoactive mushrooms, consuming Syrian rue 15 to 60 minutes prior is recommended, not exceeding 3 grams.

External Use with Caution: While rue essential oil is used for massages in cases of arthritis or muscle pain, it must be diluted and applied cautiously to avoid adverse skin reactions.

Other Consumption Methods of Syrian Rue?

In addition to the primary method, Syrian rue can be consumed in various ways to utilize its effects, including:

  • Ground seeds encapsulated.
  • Infusions of leaves and roots (moderate effect).
  • Burning its leaves and roots as incense (very mild effect).
  • Tinctures from the plant for therapeutic and aphrodisiac purposes.

Teas and infusions can also be prepared from other parts of the plant, like rhizomes, stems, fruits, and leaves, to enjoy its healing and therapeutic properties.

Contraindications of Syrian Rue

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: It’s crucial to avoid Syrian rue during pregnancy due to its potential to induce abortion. The plant may stimulate uterine contractions, posing a significant risk of miscarriage or premature birth. It is also not recommended during breastfeeding, as active compounds could be transferred to the baby through breast milk.

Children Under 6 Years: Syrian rue should not be given to children under 6 years due to its potential toxicity and associated risk of adverse reactions.

People with Gastrointestinal Conditions: Those with gastrointestinal diseases like ulcers, Crohn’s disease, or gastritis should avoid consuming rue as it may irritate and exacerbate these conditions.

For more detailed information, checking authoritative sources or consulting healthcare professionals is advisable.