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Shamanic Incenses
Peganum Harmala; Syrian Rue
Peganum Harmala; Syrian Rue
Syrian Rue; Peganum Harmala
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Botanical Name: Peganum Harmala

Other names: Harmel

Family: Zygophyllaceae

Distribution: Asia, India, sometimes southern Europe




Syrian rue appears in the ancient literature (Dioscorides) under the name peganon. This name may have been derived from that of Pegasus, the winged horse of ancient mythology that was begotten by Poseidon, the god of the sea, and the dying Medusa. The plant has also been interpreted as the legendary magical plant known as moly.

The seeds were imported from Persia to India by the Muslims at an early date. The plant was present in central Europe by the 15th century at the latest and was portrayed by the “fathers of botany”. In the Near East and North Africa, Syrian rue has retained its great significance as ritual incense into the present day.

Syrian rue was a sacred plant in the ancient Orient. The Koran states, “Every root, every leaf of harmel, is watched over by an angel who waits for a person to come in search of healing”. For this reason, it is said that dervishes in Buchara also esteem and ritually utilize harmel seeds.

Syrian rue seeds, in the form of small incense balls (sepetan), are still offered by burning great quantities during Nouruz (New Day), the ancient Iranian and now Islamisized spring and New Year’s festival. The ascending smoke is distributed throughout the entire house to keep away all misfortune. In Persia (Iran, Iraq), the seeds are scattered over glowing coals at weddings to ward off evil spirits and the evil eye. It is said that the smoke is also capable of dispelling epidemic diseases.

In Baluchistan (Pakistan), the seeds are used to neutralize the enchantments of a jin and to banish all evil spirits in general. A person who has fallen under the spell of or has been possessed by a jin is urged to inhale as mush as possible of the smoke rising from the crackling seeds on the charcoals. It is said that such a treatment usually results in a rapid improvement. Harmel is also used as a fumigant in Turkey to counteract the effects of the evil eye.

In North Africa, Syrian rue has been regarded as a magical and medicinal panacea since ancient times. The seeds are used as incense, both alone and in combination with other plants. The seeds are scattered over charcoal to dispel evil spirits. The smoke is inhaled to treat headaches, the consequences of the evil eye, and venereal diseases. In Morocco, an incense of Syrian rue seeds, alum, and olibanum is burned during the wedding night to fan the flames of desire. 

In the Himalayas and neighboring regions, shamans use the seeds as magical incense. The shamans of the Hunza, who live in what is now Pakistan, inhale the smoke to enter a clairvoyant trance. The shamans (bitaiyo) then enter into a close, lusty, sexual contact with the divining fairies, who give them important information and the ability to heal. 



Our Syrian Rue is high quality, freshly and sustainably cultivated in India. It’s Organic and not treated with any chemical. It’s harvested with great care, with respect and love for nature. Our Syrian Rue is higher quality because it’s always freshly harvested and prepared in the right conditions.

Our Syrian Rue is sold for incense making, soap making, decorative purposes and/or legitimate ethnobotanical research and is not intended for human consumption. By ordering, you are automatically agreeing to our terms and conditions. The information given here is for academic purposes only and not intended to be used medically.



This product is a short acting MAOI (Mono Amine Oxidase Inhibitor). It is very dangerous to combine internally with a SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) and other drugs. Doing so may result in a hypertensive crisis and health problems.



Select Quantity
28g; (1Oz) ; +4.00US$
114g (4Oz) ; +10.00US$
227g (8Oz) ; +19.00US$
454g (16Oz) ; +32.50US$
1kg (2,2Lbs) ; +65.00US$
5kg (11Lbs) ; +270.00US$

Detailed Images
Peganum Harmala; Syrian Rue
Syrian Rue; Peganum harmala

More information about this plant:
Wisdom Plants

Main reference:
The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants by Christian Ratsch.
Translation copyright Park Street Press © 2005 Inner Traditions / Bear & Co

Secondary references:
See our References section


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