The Alharma is a herbaceous plant belonging to the family of zigofiláceas. It is a highly branched plant, with branches slightly zigzag, densely populated and all of it leaves glabrous. The flowers come out one by one, are supported by short Kabyle, with a calyx of five sepals very narrow, linear, and some teeth on each side. The fruit is a globular capsule a little depressed that opens by three valves, angled seeds. The leaves have a grassy flavor.
One grows in uncultivated places, slopes and tailings, usually in the mountains of dry Spain, from the Ebro basin to the central plateau and Andalusia.
The Alharma blooms from April in the south and somewhat later in the Ebro basin in central Spain. This tends to prolong flowering throughout the summer. Collection of interest for medicinal purposes only seeds that are collected in late summer and stored in sealed containers to avoid degrading the active ingredients contained in them.
In the seeds of Alharma located mainly in the shell, are called three alkaloids harmine, and harmaline harmalol. Some authors speak of a fourth alkaloid, found during the extraction process of the previous three, called peganina, which is structurally identical to that found in other plants of different families.
Since time immemorial, especially in the part of many Arab peoples Alharma-seed have been used in various forms to obtain a passing drunk. It is retold in numerous books that these seeds were used to achieve a state of extreme joy and elation, being used by all kinds of magicians, healers and shamans to exalt the spirit. This gives us proof of the virtues of this plant, being the most notable owned excitement. But when it comes to any drug should not forget the possibility that side effects will occur, which can be extremely dangerous if the amount ingested exceeds the permitted level. This is not difficult if we consider that the seeds may be more or less rich in active and in some cases a handful of seeds can lead to drug quantity sufficient to kill a man. Therefore, their use must always be subject to medical prescription.
The seeds should not be used in a home ever since the difference between active dose and toxic dose is very small. If they are prescribed by a physician, this will be in charge of establishing the dose to use.
HABITAT: Dry moors of Spain
PART USED: Seeds
CASTILIAN: Alárgama, venenera
CATALAN: Ruda borda
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