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Khella (Ammi visnaga)
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • Ammi, Ammi daucoides, Ammi visnaga, Bischofskrautfruchte, bishop's weed, bishop's weed fruit, daucus visagna, false Queen Anne's lace, fruits de khella, germakellin, honeyplant, khellin, picktooth, Spanish toothpick, toothpick plant, visnaga, visnagae, Visnagafruchte, visnagin.

Background

  • Khella (Ammi visnaga) was originally cultivated by the ancient Egyptians who used it to treat many ailments, including urinary tract diseases. It was also used in the Middle Ages as a diuretic.
  • The whole fruit has traditionally been used to treat respiratory system diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and whooping cough, as well as cardiovascular disorders, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), liver and gall bladder disorders and to stimulate diuresis (increase in urine production). Its purported effect is related to its antispasmodic action on smaller bronchial muscles, coronary arteries and urinary tract tubules. Ammi visnaga may vasodilate the coronary arteries, which increases the blood supply to the myocaridium, and as a result, can be used to treat mild forms of angina (chest pain). It is also used to treat problems associated with spasms and constriction of the gallbladder and bile duct and facilitates the discharge of kidney stones and gallstones.
  • The clinical and therapeutic effectiveness of khellin, a constituent of khella, with respect to coronary, respiratory and urologic indications, has been demonstrated in experiments. Current khella indications include mild angina (chest pain) complaints, postoperative treatment of urinary calculus (kidney stones) and supportive treatment of mild forms of obstructive pulmonary diseases.
  • Few clinical trials have investigated khella (the whole herb vs. its constituent khellin). However, based on traditional use, more studies of khella for the treatment of psoriasis (chronic skin disease) or lipid panel may be warranted.

Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.