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Syrian Rue / Harmel (Peganum harmala)

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SEEDS (20pcs/bag)

Common names: Syrian Rue, Harmel, Wild Rue, African Rue, Esfand
Scientific name: Peganum harmala
Family: Zygophyllaceae

Plant history & use:

Syrian Rue is a historically well-known plant and is still used today in sedative medications - mainly in the Middle East, North Africa and South West Asia, but even in Finland it is used in prescription medicine.

It is the roots and seeds that you use, which you either make a decoction of, grind down or extract oil from.

The seeds are also used to dye fabrics, as they emit a red color.

The ripe seed contains 3.8 - 5.8% of the alkaloids harmine, harmaline, harmalol and peganine. Ineffective as a contact poison, they are active in vapour form where they are effective against algae, in higher concentrations to water animals and lethal to moulds, bacteria and intestinal parasites.

There is speculation that this plant was the sacred 'Soma' plant, which was used by the ancients of India and Persia as an hallucinogenic aid to understanding the deeper meaning of life.

The seed is used as an incense.


Syrian Rue is a low-growing (0.5-1m), perennial shrub.

It can be grown outdoors in most of Central, Northern and Eastern Europe, and in all of Southern Europe. 

The key point for growing Syrian Rue is a well-drained soil. Not sensitive to sandy and nutrient-poor soils. Mediterranean soil works well. Please allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Preferably to be grown in an open position with full sun.

The shrub can handle temperatures down to -20°C and survives the winter despite its shedding of foliage, thanks to its strong root system. The rate of success for overwintering outdoors is higher if the shrub grows in a dry soil rather than in a moist soil.


Sown either indoors in a pot or outdoors May-Sep.


Lifespan: Perennial
Location: Sun
Height: 50-100 cm
Germination Time: 1-8 weeks
USDA Zone: 7-10