Peganum. Peganum Harmala L. Wild Rue. (Fam. Rutaceae.)—A tall herbaceous plant growing in the Mediterranean region of Europe and Africa and extending into Thibet. In the seeds of this plant Goebel (1837) found the alkaloid harmaline, and Fritzsche (1847) a second alkaloid, harmine, which have been re-studied by Fischer and Tauber. (A. J. P., 1886, 89.)
The seeds of peganum were used by the ancient Greeks in the treatment of eye diseases. In modern times it has been used as an emmenagogue, anthelmintic and sedative.
Harmaline or harmine dihydride, C13H14N2O, is in the form of trimetric, octahedral crystals. It is soluble in alcohol and ether and slowly so in water. It melts at about 238° C. (460.4° F.) with decomposition. Flury (A. E. P. P., 1911, lxiv, p. 105) finds that harmaline in moderate doses produced symptoms in the dog similar to those produced by cannabis and in toxic quantities it caused salivation. Its anthelmintic effect he attributes to a paralytic action upon the muscular tissues of the worm.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.