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Ammi visnagaVisnaga (Ammi visnaga) Info

This native of North Africa spread around the Mediterranean, then into Europe with the Moors, and even become naturalized in North and South America and Australia. The flowers are similar to Queen Anne's Lace, but this plant is much easier to grow. The scented, weirdly fractal flowers appear July-September and are a wonderful filler for bouquets. Harvest the hot, bitter seeds before they are quite ripe. They are crushed and infused into a tea drunk as a diuretic and antispasmodic. The seeds have been traditionally used as a muscle relaxant for kidney stones, angina, asthma, and menstrual cramps. With asthma, visnaga has been combined with frankincense. This traditional Arab remedy was mentioned in the Ebers papyrus (~1500 BCE). However, using the seeds for too long can cause vomiting due to a buildup of some toxins in the body. The plant tastes like thyme, and the leaves are chewed for their flavor in some countries. Parts of the plant have been used as toothpicks in Egypt and in Spain (apparently spread there by the Moors). You should be careful about touching the plant if you have sensitive skin, especially when it is sunny, as it can be phototoxic to some people. The ancient Egyptians exploited this effect to treat psoriasis, although this is considered highly dangerous. Research is being done with this plant to help people with uneven skin pigmentation. Visnaga is also made into a homeopathic remedy. Because of its use in treating skin and kidney ills, this plant is of Venus. Use this herb for magick involving appearances, veils, glamours, and other surface effects, as well as for ridding oneself of what does not belong in one's life or personality. Makes an interesting substitute for thyme. Visnaga is also known as Khella, Ammi, Greater Ammi, Picktooth, Toothpick Weed, Daucus visnaga, False Queen Anne's Lace, honeyplant, and Spanish toothpick.

How to grow Visnaga: Sow the seeds outside in spring to germinate in 1-3 weeks at 55-65F/12-18C.  They like full sun or partial shade and moist soil. Space the plants 12"/30cm apart. Harvest the seeds before they are fully ripe and dry them before using. This plant is grown as an annual. It self-sows easily and can become invasive in some situations. General growing info

 

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2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction of any part without permission.