Peganum harmala (Syrian rue) is a bush producing Sleep Seeds, which are the most important ingredient in many Ayahuasca Analogs. This is because they contain some of the same harmala alkaloids as Banisteriopsis caapi, the original ayahuasca plant.
Syrian rue is also also known as:
- African rue
- wild rue
Read my full article about Syrian rue (8000+ words).
While the main effect of harmala alkaloids is purgative, when higher dosages are taken or when, hypnagogic visions and other hallucinogenic effects may be experienced such visual trails, closed eye visuals, and oneirophrenia (a dreamlike state), even without combining it with other drugs.
Ayahuasca is any plant which neutralizes an enzyme in our digestive tract that deactivates our internally generated DMT. DMT is the “spirit molecule,” associated with lucid dreams, out-of-body and near-death experiences, and spiritual visions.
We have small amounts of DMT in our bodies naturally, and we could (if it wasn’t illegal) ingest more orally, but it is destroyed in the body by an enzyme called MAO (monoamine oxidase).
Ayahuasca plants, including the seeds of Peganum harmala, contain substances which are MAO inhibitors, meaning they block the MAO enzyme, thereby allowing internal DMT (or ingested DMT) to bring about its psychedelic effects.
Several harmala alkaloids that function as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are found in the seeds as well as other substances, including harmaline and harmine.
The fact that we have small amounts of DMT in our bodies explain why Peganum harmala may be psychoactive on its own. However, a really strong effect would require ingesting extra DMT.
In Ayahuasca Analogs (Anahuasca)
As we have seen, Peganum harmala contains MAO-inhibiting beta-carbolines, and thus may be useful as an ayahuasca analog.
Crush 2-5 g Peganum harmala seeds to a pot. According to Shulgin, 1 teaspoon rue seeds weighs 3 grams and contains 60-180 mg alkaloids. So if you don’t have a scale, use about 1 teaspoon.
A light dose is considered up to 3 grams seeds (1 teaspoon; containing 60-180 mg alkaloids). Up to 4 grams can create a moderate psychoactive effect, while up to 8 grams is a strong dose. 1 tablespoon (9 grams; containing 200-600 mg alkaloids), again, may be too much.
Add lime/lemon juice or vinegar, as well as enough water and boil all the ingredients for several hours (or at least 30 minutes), adding more water as needed.
Based on my own experience, I found that the effective dose depends on how you prepare the seeds. For example, if you’re eating the crushed seeds (such as blending them into a smoothie or taking them in a capsule), then 2 grams should be enough (providing about 60 mg of harmala alkaloids).
If you’re making a tea from the seed powder, then go with 3 grams.
If you’re making a tea from whole seeds, then you will probably need to use 4 grams or more per dose.
The intensity of the visual effects as well as the length of the effects seem most dependent upon the dosage of DMT so if you’re taking Syrian rue as a potentiator, you should experiment to find the minimum amount of Syrian rue that will make the DMT (or other drug you’re trying to potentiate) active, and stick with that amount.
The active ingredients are slightly soluble in water, meaning that a hot water extract of the seeds can be made (like making a tea). This is the easiest way of preparing this plant for oral ingestion. It doesn’t even require grinding the seeds. When the liquid turns reddish brown, filter out the seeds, and drink.
Effects usually begin within 30-60 minutes of oral ingestion. The effects may last up to 8 hours, although a residual nausea may be felt up to 48 hours later or even more.
Side effects may include nausea, dizziness, ataxia, tinnitus, hypertension, vomiting, sweating, body tremors, increased heart rate, and anxiety.
To minimize side effects and negative experiences, make sure to keep hydrated, stick to a low dose, and remain in a safe, cool environment with people you trust, ideally with a trip sitter. Make sure that you will not be disturbed for at least 6-8 hours.
Smoking Syrian Rue
I was able to find a source that claims to have smoked a Syrian rue seed extract. Retrospectively they wrote that they:
“cannot see any clear advantages of extraction over that of smoking the original plant material due to the relatively minor concentration of the amount needed to smoke. A plain water infusion would also seem to be just as effective in removing the harmine and would result in less of the other plant components being extracted.”
However, smoking Syrian rue seeds is harsh and an extract is preferable if not just for an easier smoking experience.
For the first extraction, they boiled the ground seeds in vodka and water, and for the second extraction they used boiled distilled water.
Each extraction was done for several hours. The second extract came out bright cloudy yellow.
After each extraction, the plant material was strained and compressed, and the liquids from both extractions were combined and dried on low heat.
They smoked the resulting extract until they had reached a subjective feeling of being “high.”
Smoking more than this amount, they discovered, only intensified the physical side effects, such as dizziness and nausea.
The most effective “high” was produced when the material was boiled, rather than burned. They wrote that the “rue extract lends itself nicely to smoking in a ‘hash oil’ pipe with the flame heating the bowl on the outside.”
Effects started about 5-10 minutes after smoking, and included:
- hypnagogic imagery appear when the eyes are closed
- a calming effect (manifesting as change in facial expression and tone of voice)
- limbs become heavy and lethargic and visibly tremble
- hypersalivation (making for a particularly smooth smoke)
- irritation of urethra and anus
Syrian rue are sometimes ingredients of smoking blends, mixed with tobacco and/or cannabis. The beta-carbolines may pass into the smoke, thereby potentiating the effects of THC or other substances.
Another source said that smoking “harmala extract works very well. It seems to provide more of a cerebral effect and less of a body high when taken this way. I find that 50-75 mg of extract (acid/base method) is quite sufficient to synergize mushrooms or LSD. Wait till your coming on and then give it a whirl!”
Mixed with cannabis, one person reported: “I would say a very good mix, about 50/50 mix. Makes the high somewhat more visual, distortion like affects. Major body high, a strong buzz feeling.”
Vaping Syrian Rue Seeds
Is it possible to use a vaporizer with Syrian rue?
One would think that the answer is negative because the boiling temperature of harmala alkaloids is much higher than the temperature most vaporizers can reach.
However, vaping Syrian rue may be mildly effective due to sublimation of the harmala alkaloids (specifically harmaline, according to TiHKAL), which may begin at around 189 degrees Celsius.
I found one experience report (in DeKorne’s AA) that suggests vaping Syrian rue may indeed be effective:
You will love vaporizing Peganum harmala extract! Not only is there no puking involved, but the effects are much clearer and more cerebral. I find that vaporizing 50–75 mg of the extract usually does the trick; more than that doesn’t increase the potentiating effects but does seem to increase the body load.
If you choose to experiment with Syrian rue, remember that it can result in severe toxic effects if used inappropriately.
Important: Please consult with your doctor before using this powerful plant, especially if you’re suffering from disorders including hypertension and mental illness, or if you’re taking any medications and drugs. Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery under the influence of this plant.