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Schwabe News Volume 4 | Issue 1 | January 2013

Ammi visnaga

Ammi visnaga is also known as Visnaga, Khelle or picktooth. It grows in the dry regions of the Mediterranean. It is indigenous to Egypt and widely cultivated in South America. It is an annual plant of 1 to 1.5m height. At the top this plant forms a generous inflorescence, large umbels with numerous radii bearing secondary umbels and abundance of white flowers combining to form huge umbrellas. Resin formation is strong throughout the plant.

The fruits have been used against spasms of uterus, kidney stones, and as a diuretic. It is also used to promote the elimination of menstruation. It dilates the coronary vessels and relieves spasms in this area.1 Its antispasmodic action on small bronchial muscles helps in the disorders of the airways passages.2 It is safe for children when given in breathing troubles, and prevents recurrences.3 As per investigations it has powerful antispasmodic action on small bronchial muscles and arteries that supply blood to heart. It is used in the treatment of angina pectoris, asthma, alone or with other medicines, and externally for vitiligo. Its phytoconstituent khellin is found to be an effective muscle relaxant and alleviates pain due to kidney stones. Khellin inhibited vascular smooth muscle contractions in rat aorta induced by noradrenaline; it also relaxed both noradrenaline induced contractile tension in rat aorta smooth muscle and spontaneous contractile activity of rat portal vein with similar potency. Research on Khellin has resulted in discovery as an anti-asthma drug.

It is covered by Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India, Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of United States and German Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia. Its homoeopathic employment in potencies is not yet fully established. In urinary troubles, it relaxes muscles of the ureter and relieves pain caused by trapped stones. By relaxing the ureter, it eases the stone down into the bladder. Other indications are angina pectoris, rheumatism and chronic bronchitis4. It is known for its external use in vitiligo (leucoderma).

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 60 people has showed that the combination of oral khellin and natural sun exposure caused repigmentation in 76.6% of the treatment group; in comparison, no improvement was seen in the control group receiving sunlight plus placebo. Another placebo-controlled study with 36 people had found that a topical khellin gel plus UVA caused repigmentation in 86.1% of the treated cases, as opposed to 66.6% in the placebo group.5 In another placebo-controlled study of 36 people, it was found that a topical khellin gel plus UVA caused repigmentation in 86.1% of the treated cases, as opposed to 66.6% in the placebo group.6 Many other studies have shown that the khellin is equally effective as psoralen (constituent of psoralea) but with less phototoxic symptoms. Such symptoms are not usually observed with the use of mother tincture.


Recommended dose: 10-20 drops of mother tincture, 2-3 times a day depending on the case. Externally applied (with cotton) in cases of vitiligo in the morning and the parts exposed to Sunlight for few minutes.

References:
  1. The British Homoeopathic Journal, The Umbelliferae, Volume LX, 1971, Pg. No. 211.
  2. Dr. Kellar, Greiner, et. Al., Homoopathische Arzneimittel, Einschliesslich 6th ed. 1995.
  3. Andrew Chevallier, The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, 1st Edition, 1996, Dorling Kindersley, London. Pg. No. 59.
  4. Dr. med. Karl Stauffer, Klinische Homoopathische Arzneimitellehr, 1955, Pg. No. 66-67
  5. Abdel-Fattah, Aboul-Enein MN, Wassel GM, El-Menshawi BS. An approach to the treatment of vitiligo by khellin. Dermatologica   1982;165:136–40
  6. Orecchia G, Sangalli ME, Gazzaniga A, et al. Topical photochemotherapy of vitiligo with a new khellin formulation: preliminary clinical results. J Dermatol Treat. 1998;9:65–69