Herbal medicine has taken a prominent place in the North African skincare system because of the increased installation of herbalists and healers, but unfortunately most of these do not have the required level to practice this medicine. The Harmel (Peganum harmala L.) belongs to the family Zygophyllaceae, which has 24 genera and 240 species. It is a herbaceous plant, perennial, glabrous, and bushy, from a height of 30–100 cm, with a thick rhizome, its strong, unpleasant odor reminiscent of that of the Rue (Ruta graveolens). The Harmel is a toxic plant widespread in North Africa which has an important place in traditional medicine in several indications. It is used as a sedative, antitussive, antipyretic, antirheumatic, and antihelminthic, and to treat some skin diseases. Harmel is ingested with a glass of water or mixed with honey or pounded with olive oil. The intoxications are mainly due to overdose; the absorption of a quantity of seed greater than a teaspoon causes hallucinations and vomiting. In France, Harmel as well as its compounds (Harmine, Harmaline, Harmol, and harmalol) have been classified among the astonishing substances. The clinical manifestations described in the literature include: digestive disorders, bradycardia; neurological disorders paralysis, central nervous system depression; renal disorders; and in severe cases, dyspnoea and hypothermia and hypotension.
Part of the book: Medical Toxicology