Also known as esfand and harmal, Peganum harmala has an interesting Eastern history. In Turkey, dried parts from this plant are strung and hung in homes and vehicles to protect against 'the evil eye'. In Iran it is used as an incense, to purify the air as well as the mind.
Many people who make ayahuasca (analogues of the psychedelic, Amazonian brew ayahuasca), use Syrian rue instead of Banisteriopsis caapi.
Common use of Syrian rue has the effect of a psychopharmacological tool, making otherwise inactive plants active. Sometimes Syrian rue is used to strengthen and prolong the effects of substances that are active by themselves. Syrian rue prevents the breakdown of monoamine neurotransmitters by inhibiting the action of monoamine oxidase enzymes, a process known as MAO-inhibition.
A small number of people is experimenting with the effects of only Syrian rue infusions or smoked seeds. The effects of low doses are sometimes referred to as 'the harmala buzz', as it tends to cause a buzzing feeling throughout the head and body. This is also the initial stage for most people taking a higher dose, though it generally unfolds into a stronger experience associated with nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting. Also, psychedelic effects, such as visual and auditive distortions and mystical phenomena, seem to be common for some people.
0,2 to 0,3 grams contains enough harmine and harmaline to block MAO activity for about six hours.
The primary active ingredients in P. harmala are harmine and harmaline. (C. Raetsch 2005)
Peganum harmala contains MAO-inhibiting substances. This means it can be very dangerous when combined with certain foods or other psychoactives that are totally harmless when taken by themselves.