The Health Benefits of Ammi Visnaga

Ammi Visnaga plant
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Ammi visnaga is a natural substance long used in herbal medicine to treat conditions ranging from menstrual cramps to atherosclerosis. The extract is derived from a plant in the carrot family that is commonly found in the Eastern Mediterranean. Some people take ammi visnaga orally and others use it topically to treat certain skin conditions.

Ammi visnaga contains khellin, a compound said to promote widening of the blood vessels. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of ammi visnaga for the treatment of any medical condition and there are concerns about whether or not the treatment is safe, especially for women who are pregnant.

Health Benefits

In alternative medicine, ammi visnaga is touted as a treatment for the following health problems:

  • Angina
  • Asthma
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Bronchitis
  • Colic
  • Coughs
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Kidney stones
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Vitiligo
  • Whooping cough

In addition, ammi visnaga is said to reduce inflammation.

When applied directly to the skin, ammi visnaga is thought to aid in the treatment of conditions like psoriasis and alopecia areata, as well as promote wound healing.

There is limited research on the health effects of ammi visnaga and much of it dates back to the 1950s. For example, one study published in 1950 suggested that it may aid in the treatment of angina. And another study published in 1955 investigated its use as an asthma treatment. But no recent studies have supported these findings.

The small number of recent studies on ammi visnaga have focused on a few potential medicinal uses.

Kidney Stones

Several preliminary studies suggest that ammi visnaga may help protect against kidney stones. In a 2011 study published in Urological Research, for instance, tests on rats revealed that treatment with ammi visnaga helped prevent the buildup of minerals known to form kidney stones.

Diabetes

Ammi visnaga may hold promise in the treatment of diabetes, according to an animal-based study published in the Journal of Pharmacotherapy in 2002. In tests on diabetic rats, the study's authors found that ammi visnaga helped reduce blood sugar levels.

Vitiligo

Ammi visnaga may aid in the treatment of vitiligo, suggests a study published in the European Journal of Dermatology in 2001. A condition marked by white patches on the skin, vitiligo occurs when the cells that give your skin its color are destroyed.

For the study, researchers assigned 28 people with vitiligo to a treatment regimen that included oral intake of khellin and therapy involving exposure to ultraviolet A light. Researchers found that of the 17 patients who continued the treatment regimen for longer than three months, seven had a good response (described as more than 70% repigmentation of the vitiligo-affected skin).

Possible Side Effects

There's some concern that ammi visnaga may trigger adverse effects when taken orally in high doses or used in the long term. These adverse effects range from constipation and nausea to liver problems and difficulty sleeping. Consumption of the active ingredient khellin may also cause dizziness, lack of appetite, headache, itching, and insomnia.

Ammi visnaga extract may aggravate liver disease. Therefore, anyone with liver disease should avoid the use of ammi visnaga.

Not enough is known about the topical use of ammi visnaga to determine if it is safe to use.

Given these safety concerns, it's important to consult your physician prior to taking ammi visnaga.

Pregnant women should not consume ammi visnaga. The active ingredient khellin has uterine stimulant activity which makes it unsafe to use during pregnancy.

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend ammi visnaga as a treatment for any condition.

It's also important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with ammi visnaga and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Selection, Preparation & Storage

Widely available for purchase online, ammi visnaga is sold in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements. The product is sold as a liquid extract and also as a cream.

Not enough is known about ammi visnaga or khellin to determine an effective or safe dose.

Also, keep in mind that supplements like ammi visnaga are largely unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to government standards, it is not legal to market a dietary supplement as a treatment or cure for a specific disease or to alleviate the symptoms of a disease. But the products are not tested by the FDA for safety or effectiveness.

In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the amount specified on the label. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances. Some consumers look for products that have been certified by ConsumerLabs, The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, or NSF International. These organizations don't guarantee that a product is safe or effective, but they do provide a certain level of testing for quality.

Common Questions

Can you grow ammi visnaga?

Seeds are available in some stores and the plant can be grown in deep pots or cell trays indoors. Plant experts advise that it is sensitive to disturbance and can be damaged when transplanting so they suggest growing it for six or more weeks before transplanting outdoors.

Are there other natural remedies that boost heart health?

A number of other natural remedies may help improve blood vessel health and protect against cardiovascular problems.

For example, studies suggest that substances such as omega-3 fatty acids, garlic, cocoa, and black tea may help enhance cardiovascular health.

In addition, resveratrol, anthocyanins, and other antioxidants found naturally in certain foods (such as berries) may help keep your blood vessels healthy.

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