What Is Khella?

Khella (Ammi visnaga) is a flowering plant whose fruit been used medicinally for centuries. In ancient Egypt, khella was used to treat urinary tract disorders and other health problems. Khella was used as a diuretic in the Middle Ages.

Today, khella dietary supplements are said to help treat a number of health problems, including kidney stones and diabetes. But despite a long history of use of this herbal remedy, the health benefits of khella haven't been explored in many scientific studies.

Khella plant

Also Known As

  • Khellin
  • Toothpick plant

What Is Khella Used For?

Of the research that has been done on khella so far, most of it has been performed in vitro (in a test tube) or on rodents.

While results of such studies can be promising and useful to scientists in their work, they cannot be considered applicable to people without further studies on humans. As such, it's too soon to recommend this khella for the treatment of any health concerns.

Here's what's known about this remedy.

Kidney Stones

Khella shows promise in the prevention of kidney stones, suggests an animal-based study published in the journal Urological Research in 2011.

In tests on rats with hyperoxaluria—a condition known to promote kidney-stone formation—the study's authors observed that treatment with khella helped reduce the incidence of these hard mineral/salt deposits.

In an earlier study published in Phytomedicine in 2010, laboratory tests on kidney cells demonstrated that khella could help prevent the cell damage known to contribute to kidney-stone formation.


Khella may aid in the treatment of diabetes, according to a preliminary study published in the Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy in 2002. Analyzing findings from an experiment involving diabetic rats, researchers found that khella extract may help manage diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels.

Other Uses

Khella is also used as a natural remedy for the following health conditions, though—as with kidney stones and diabetes—sufficient scientific evidence to support use for these purposes is lacking:

Possible Side Effects

Prolonged use or high doses of khella may cause side effects, including:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Itching
  • Nausea

While it may elevate liver enzymes in some people, khella is not known to cause liver damage.

When applied topically, khella may increase your skin's sensitivity to sunlight and raise your risk of skin cancer.

Khella may have effects on uterine muscle contraction and should be avoided during pregnancy. Not enough is known about khella to determine if it is safe during breastfeeding.

Selection, Preparation, and Storage

Many natural-foods stores and other stores specializing in natural products sell khella in dietary supplement form. You can also purchase khella online.

There is not enough evidence to establish a standard dose of the supplement.

Many consumers look for organic products to help ensure purity. Keep in mind, however, that supplements are largely unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the amount specified on the label.

It is it illegal to market a dietary supplement as a treatment or cure for a disease or to reduce symptoms of a disease. If a product makes such claims, that is reason to question using it.

There have also been published reports of supplements containing ingredients not disclosed on the label. To this end, look for products that have been certified by ConsumerLabs, U.S. Pharmacopeia, or NSF International.

These organizations don't guarantee that a product is safe or effective, but do provide assurance that it was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants.

Common Questions

Are there other natural remedies for the prevention of kidney stones?
Although research on the use of natural treatments for prevention of kidney stones is very limited, there's some evidence that certain remedies (including potassium citrate and Phyllanthus niruri) may help fight kidney stone formation.

Are there any other natural remedies that may help in the management of diabetes?
For help in controlling diabetes, there's some evidence that natural substances, such as alpha-lipoic acid and some herbal and other supplements, may be of some benefit to diabetes patients. However, it's important to note that self-treating diabetes with these remedies and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Vanachayangkul P, Chow N, Khan SR, et al. Prevention of renal crystal deposition by an extract of Ammi visnaga L. and its constituents khellin and visnagin in hyperoxaluric rats. Urol Res. 2011;39:189–195. doi:10.1007/s00240-010-0333-y

  2. Vanachayangkul P, Byer K, Khan S, et al. An aqueous extract of Ammi visnaga fruits and its constituents khellin and visnagin prevent cell damage caused by oxalate in renal epithelial cells. Phytomedicine. 2010;17(0): 653–658. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2009.10.011

  3. Jouad H, Maghrani M, Eddouks M. Hypoglycemic effect of aqueous extract of Ammi visnaga in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Herb Pharmacother. 2002;2(4):19-29.

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