Ammi visnaga is a species of flowering plant in the carrot family known by many common names, including bisnaga, toothpickweed, and khella. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but it can be found throughout the world as an introduced species. This is an annual or biennial herb growing from a taproot erect to a maximum height near 80 centimeters. Leaves are up to 20 centimeters long and generally oval to triangular in shape but dissected into many small linear to lance-shaped segments. The inflorescence is a compound umbel of white flowers similar to those of other Apiaceae species. The fruit is a compressed oval-shaped body less than 3 millimeters long. This and other Ammi species are sources of khellin, a diuretic extract.
In Egypt, a tea made from the fruit of this species has been used as an herbal remedy for kidney stones. Laborarory rat studies show that the extract slows the buildup of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys and acts as a diuretic.
Khellin, a chemical obtained from Ammi visnaga gives rose red color with KOH (solid) or NaOH & 2-3 drops of water, was used at one time as a smooth muscle relaxant, but its use is limited due to adverse side effects. Amiodarone and cromoglycate are derivates of khellin that are frequently used in modern medicine.
- Vanachayangkul, P., et al. (2010). An aqueous extract of Ammi visnaga fruits and its constituents khellin and visnagin prevent cell damage caused by oxalate in renal epithelial cells. Phytomedicine 17(8), 653-58.
- Ziment, I. (1998). How your patients may be using herbalism to treat their asthma - Herbal products are becoming increasingly popular for treating a variety of medical complaints - including asthma. What are these. Journal of Respiratory Diseases 19(12), 1070-83.
- Lee, J. K., et al. Anti-inflammatory effect of visnagin in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated BV-2 microglial cells. Archives of Pharmacal Research 33(11) 1843–50. PMID 21116788.
- Khan, Z. A., et al. (2001). Inhibition of oxalate nephrolithiasis with Ammi visnaga (AI-Khillah). International Urology and Nephrology 33:4 605-8.
- Jepson Manual Treatment
- USDA Plants Profile
- GRIN Species Profile
- Photo gallery
- Botanical drawing
- Fructus Ammi Visnagae WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants - Volume 3
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