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The harmel is widely known and used in it’s native area and is considered as a panacea by the traditional populations. It is used for various disturbances:
- gynecologic: emmenagogue, abortive, sterility of women.
- general: hypnotic, antipyretic, antalgic, cough remedy,
- digestive: colics
- skin: antiseptic and cicatrisand, eczemas, burns, purulent conjonctivites and blepharites, alopecia
- infectious: neonatal tetanos, anthelminthic (ascaris, tenia), antimalarial, mumps
- miscellanous: sudorific and blood clearing, hemorroïds, diabetes, high blood pressure, poisoning, snake bites.
Some examples of its use in the Maghreb are mentioned below:
- external application: as cataplasm, liniment, fumigations, the seed oil, seeds as powder, decoction of roots, the pulverized dry plant
- internal application: in traditional noth-african medicine, one teaspoon of seeds =2,5 g ingested with water, honey or olive oil, fresh plant hacked and cooked in oi, dry leaves in decoction. (7)
In Algeria, the seeds of Conium maculatum L. are called: Harmel djazair (Harmel of Algier) wheereas the seeds of Peganum harmala L. are called Harmel sahari (Harmel of Sahara). The confusion is said to have been responsible for deadly intoxications.
Peganum harmala is reported to be used in India for syphilis.
The plant is reported to be used as an incense and spice.
The seeds are an important trading good. They yield a dye (‘turkish red’ or ‘syrian red’) long used in ‘Persian’ carpets.