Addictive Potential: None
Emergency Room Visits Yearly: Unknown
Mandatory Minimum Sentence: None
Mechanism of Action: harmala alkaloids are MonoAmine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI)
Syrian Rue is also known as Peganum Harmala. It is a plant of the family Nitrariaceae, native from the eastern Mediterranean region east to India.
It has been used as an entheogen in the Middle East, and in modern Western culture, it is often used as an analogue of Banisteriopsis caapi to create an entheogenic brew similar to Ayahuasca.
The active alkaloids of syrian rue seeds are the MAOI (MonoAmine Oxidase Inhibitor) compounds harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine (collectively known as harmala alkaloids).
In Turkey dried capsules from the Syrian Rue plant are strung and hung in homes or vehicles to protect against “the evil eye”. In Iran, dried capsules – mixed with other ingredients – are burnt so as to produce a light, distinctly scented smoke or incense. It is used as an air and mind purifier, perhaps linked to its entheogenic properties. This Iranian practice dates to pre-Islamic Zoroastrian times.
Syrian Rue seeds are also what inspired the magical tales of flying carpets. The seeds were used as a dye in the process of making persian rugs. The rug makers stockpiled the seeds. As they were making the rugs, they were also traveling the cosmos on flying carpets.
Syrian Rue is currently legal to buy, sell, and possess in the United States.
When ingested orally, MAOIs inhibit the catabolism of dietary amines. Sufficient intestinal MAO-A inhibition can lead to hypertensive crisis, when foods containing tyramine are consumed (so-called “cheese syndrome”), or hyperserotonemia if foods containing tryptophan are consumed. The amount required to cause a reaction exhibits great individual variation and depends on the degree of inhibition, which in turn depends on dosage and selectivity.
The exact mechanism by which tyramine causes a hypertensive reaction is not well understood, but it is assumed that tyramine displaces norepinephrine from the storage vesicles. This may trigger a cascade in which excessive amounts of norepinephrine can lead to a hypertensive crisis. Another theory suggests that proliferation and accumulation of catecholamines causes hypertensive crises.
Syrian Rue (Peganum Harmala)