Additional notes (click to expand)


Calcium channel blockade. Contains a furanochromone, khellin, from which nifedipine, for angina; amiodarone for atrial fibrillation, and sodium cromoglicate for asthma, food allergies and hayfever, were synthesised.
Oakeley, Dr. H.F. (2013). Medicines from RCP plants label list 5-2013.docx.

Ammi visnaga Khellin, amiodarone, nifedipine. Ammi visnaga belongs to the Umbellifereae and grows in the Nile delta. Khella, made from the fruits has been used for centuries to treat renal colic, common in Egypt because of damage to the urinary tract caused by schistosomiasis. Anrep a pharmacologist at Cairo University had an assistant with both renal colic and angina pectoris. When he took Khellin purified from Khella, both improved. Subsequently Anrep showed that the improvement in Angina was due to dilatation of the blood vessels supplying the heart. Search for the active principal in Khellin lead to the discovery of Amiodarone which is now used primarily for the disorders of heart rhythm (arrhythmias). Nifedipine, used for the treatment of high blood pressure and angina, was developed from other precursors found in khellin.
William Harvey and plant derived medicines currently used in cardiovascular medicine, Prof Michael de Swiet's Notes 2018

Medicinal uses Uses supported by clinical data None. Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents As an antispasmodic, muscle relaxant and vasodilator (1). Uses described in traditional medicine Treatment of mild anginal symptoms. Supportive treatment of mild obstruction of the respiratory tract in asthma, bronchial asthma or spastic bronchitis, and postoperative treatment of conditions associated with the presence of urinary calculi. Treatment of gastrointestinal cramps and painful menstruation (6). Internally as an emmenagogue to regulate menstruation, as a diuretic, and for treatment of vertigo, diabetes and kidney stones (8). Contraindications Fructus Ammi Visnagae is used in traditional systems of medicine as an emmenagogue (8), and its safety during pregnancy has not been established. Therefore, in accordance with standard medical practice, the fruits should not be used during pregnancy.
WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants. Vol. 3, 2007

Prescription only medicine: Nifedipine, amiodorone, Sodium cromoglicate


Name change - Previously grown as Ammi visnaga (26/11/2020)
Plants of the World online, Kew Science link


Toxicity due largely to the lectins which can damage lining cells of the intestinal tract.
Professor Anthony Dayan, 2022

Geographical distribution

  • Africa, Macaronesia, Azores
  • Africa, Macaronesia, Canary Is.
  • Africa, Macaronesia, Cape Verde
  • Africa, Macaronesia, Madeira
  • Africa, Northern Africa, Algeria
  • Africa, Northern Africa, Libya
  • Africa, Northern Africa, Morocco
  • Africa, Northern Africa, Tunisia
  • Asia-Temperate, Caucasus, Transcaucasus
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Cyprus
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Iran
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Iraq
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Lebanon-Syria
  • Asia-Temperate, Western Asia, Palestine
  • Europe, Southeastern Europe, Albania
  • Europe, Southeastern Europe, Greece
  • Europe, Southeastern Europe, Italy
  • Europe, Southwestern Europe, France
  • Europe, Southwestern Europe, Portugal
  • Europe, Southwestern Europe, Spain

Visnaga daucoides Gaertn.

Genus: Visnaga
Species: daucoides Gaertn.
Common names: Toothpick-plant, Khella
Pharmacopoeia Londinensis name: Seseli
Distribution summary: Mediterranean, W.Asia
Habit: Annual
Hardiness: H2 - Tender; cool or frost-free greenhouse
Habitat: Frequently on sandy soils
Garden status: Currently grown
Garden location: Europe & Mediterranean (E), Pharmacopoeia Londinensis 1618 'Seeds & Grains' (HSE 7), Mulberry Tree bed (H)
Flowering months: July, August, September
Reason for growing: Medicinal, toxic, prescription only medicine

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