Peganum Harmala: Everything You Need To Know

Peganum Harmala: Everything You Need To Know


  1. Overview: Peganum Harmala
  2. The Effects Of Syrian Rue
  3. How To Use Syrian Rue
  4. Traditional Use Of Peganum Harmala
  5. Safety & Risks

Overview: Peganum Harmala

Syrian rue, scientific name Peganum Harmala, is a perennial shrub native to the Mediterranean and various regions of Asia. It can now also be found growing wild on the American continent. Part of the Nitrariaceae plant family, Syrian rue can grow up to 1m, but in the wild rarely gets above 0.3m in height. It has narrow leaves that are usually 5 cm long when fully grown and produces many single white flowers.

The seeds of Syrian rue are of most interest, as they contain the harmala alkaloids harmine and harmaline – highly psychoactive alkaloids that are sometimes used to potentiate other plants, although it is reported that harmala alkaloids are psychoactive by themselves. They also act as reversible MAO inhibitors (RIMAs), for which reason Peganum Harmala is commonly used to activate oral DMT.

The Effects Of Syrian Rue: MAO Inhibitors & Harmala Alkaloids

The Effects Of Syrian Rue: MAO Inhibitors & Harmala Alkaloids

As previously mentioned, the alkaloids within the Syrian rue act as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), respectively as reversible MAO inhibitors (RIMAs). There is a ongoing debate as to wether RIMAs require the same tyramine restriction in diet as MAOIs, but the final judgement is still out. As it stands, we can only advise to closely follow the MAOI diet prior to the consumption of Syrian rue seeds. For a detailed list of the MAOI-diet, click here.

Harmala alkaloids act to block the MAO enzymes and facilitate the absorption of DMT and other tryptamines. However, it also causes the absorption of tyramine, which is found in many foods, to go unregulated. This can be dangerous and can cause a hypertensive crisis. For this reason it is very important to watch your diet when taking anything that is an MAOI.

As Syrian rue is an MAOI, it is very commonly used to potentiate other psychedelic plants, enhancing them and prolonging the high. A good example of this is the use of magic mushrooms or DMT, where the prior use of Syrian rue is reported to lengthen the experience by up to 4 hours. Syrian rue can also be used as a psychedelic itself with larger doses, but this can cause a lot of physical discomfort. Anecdotal reports describe how pure harmala alkaloids of the rue can result in a range of hallucinogenic effects, from closed eye visuals, all the way to open eyed patterns and distortions.

Peganum Harmala

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How To Use Syrian Rue

How To Use Syrian Rue

There are many ways to take Syrian Rue, the easiest being to simply grind the seeds with the teeth, letting the ground seeds mix with saliva for a couple of minutes before swallowing. It is also possible to grind them externally, using something like a mortar and pestle before putting them in capsules. This can be preferable for those who want to ingest Syrian rue directly, but don’t want the taste of it in their mouths.

Not only are these methods some of the simplest, they are also some of the most potent, as no active ingredients are lost in the preparation process. The actual dosage required can vary largely person to person, but the most standard is to take 1 gram, then work your way up if required – 5 grams is seen as the top limit of a very high dose for most people.

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Another common method of taking Syrian rue is to brew “tea” from it, (also known as a water infusion). This method causes much less nausea, so is preferred by some. However, the flip side of this is that some of the active ingredients are lost during the preparation process, so about 1-2 grams extra is required. To make a brew, simmer ground up seeds in 150ml of water and 50ml of lemon juice per person, for around 15-30 minutes. Strain the liquid to remove the excess seeds and then consume.

Another method that is used, but is somewhat less common, is to use the ground up powder of Syrian rue as part of an incense. Quite large amounts are needed for it to be effective – and it lasts for a much shorter duration.

To potentiate other psychedelics such DMT or magic mushrooms, up to 3 grams are used up to 1 hour before taking the other entheogen. Any more can cause increased discomfort without affecting the high.

Traditional Use Of Peganum Harmala

Traditional Use Of Peganum Harmala

Syrian rue has many traditional uses across the Middle East and parts of Asia, having influenced religion, industry, medicine and local folklore.


In Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Turkey the dried capsules of the Syrian rue seeds are mixed with other ingredients and placed on hot coals. This causes them to explode and release fragrant, incense-like smoke. It is during this process that prayer is recited.


In Turkey, it is believed that the dried capsules of the plant can be strung up within the home to protect against “the evil eye”, a malevolent look that is thought in many cultures to cause injury or misfortune to those who were subjugated to it. In Morocco it is believed to offer protection from djinn.


The seeds of Syrian rue are used as a traditional way of making dye throughout the Middle East.


Syrian rue is used as a traditional medicine in the Middle East and has been used to help with skin inflammation as well as kill lice. The seeds have been used as a hallucinogen in both the Middle East and Europe for a very long time. They are now also quite often used as an analogue for Ayahuasca style brews.

Safety and Risks

Safety and Risks

  • The consumption of Syrian rue (Peganum harmala) can cause dizziness, vomiting, nausea, body tremors, tinnitus, bradycardia and tachycardia.

  • The harmala alkaloids within Syrian rue act as MAO inhibitors, this means consuming tyramine containing foods 24 hours before and after taking Syrian rue can lead to a hypertensive crisis. Be sure to follow the MAOI-Diet.

  • Syrian rue also acts as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and should not be taken in conjunction with any other SSRI’s or anything that reacts badly with them.

  • Other common side effects include: dry mouth, low blood pressure, mild headaches, lethargy, trouble sleeping, blurred vision decreased sexual ability, increased appetite and a reduced tolerance to alcohol.

  • It should be noted, that with certain diets and medications, Syrian rue can cause high blood pressure. It is advisable to avoid its use if you suffer from it.

  • Syrian rue should not be taken if you are pregnant, breast-feeding or are suffering from any pre-existing serious condition.