Herb: Visnaga

Latin name: Ammi visnaga

Family: Umbelliferae

Medicinal use of Visnaga:

Visnaga is an effective muscle relaxant and has been used for centuries to alleviate the excruciating pain of kidney stones. Modern research has confirmed the validity of this traditional use. Visnagin contains khellin, from which particularly safe pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of asthma have been made. The seeds are diuretic and lithontripic. They contain a fatty oil that includes the substance "khellin". This has been shown to be of benefit in the treatment of asthma. Taken internally, the seeds have a strongly antispasmodic action on the smaller bronchial muscles, they also dilate the bronchial, urinary and blood vessels without affecting blood pressure. The affect last for about 6 hours and the plant has practically no side effects. The seeds are used in the treatment of asthma, angina, coronary arteriosclerosis and kidney stones. By relaxing the muscles of the urethra, visnaga reduces the pain caused by trapped kidney stones and helps ease the stone down into the bladder. The seeds are harvested in late summer before they have fully ripened and are dried for later use.

Description of the plant:


75 cm
(2 feet)

July to


Habitat of the herb:

Fields and sandy places.

Edible parts of Visnaga:

Leaves - raw. Chewed for their pleasant aromatic flavour.

Other uses of the herb:

The fruiting pedicel is used as a toothpick whilst the seeds have been used as a tooth cleaner.

Propagation of Visnaga:

Seed - sow spring in situ.

Cultivation of the herb:

Fields and sandy places.

Known hazards of Ammi visnaga:

Skin contact with the sap is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.