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Peganum harmala – The Syrian Rue


Dr. Roland Guenther shares the experiences of a Shameeah Ceremony in triturating Syrian Rue.

Experiences of a Shameeah Ceremony

The Syrian Rue has a very interesting history. For thousands of years it has been in continuous ritual and medicinal use and this in different cultures and in different religions. Even today it is still included in spiritual practices by Muslim, Jews and Christians. For example, in Turkey it is used to protect from the evil eye, in Morocco it protects from the Djinn. In Iran the seeds are heated up in a pan and when they are smoldering, the smudge is wafted around in the house to keep bad spirits away.

The Syrian Rue has been used to treat skin cancer, to cause abortion, to kill lice, to expel worms. It was used as an antidepressant and analgesic.Newer research showed some interesting qualities. Because of its antibacterial and antiprotozoal effects it has been successfully used to treat drug resistant bacteria, Leishmaniasis and tick-borne parasites in sheep and cattle. Antimutagenic and antioxidant effects have been found and it proved to be cytotoxic in certain leukemia cells. A marked fungicidal effect has also been shown. Toxic effects are well known, however they usually last only a few hours. Such effects include nausea, vomiting, confusion, hallucinations, tremors, locomotor ataxia, respiratory depression and gastric ulcers.

Because of the slightly hallucinogenic effects, recently it has found its way into the streets where it is mixed with other substances as an analog for the more difficult to obtain Ayahuasca. The main ingredients are b-carboline alkaloids called harmine and harmaline which cause MAO inhibition. MAO-inhibitors are used in Western medicine as antidepressants.

The seeds have been the origin of a red dye and the leaves were used to bleach wheat in order to gain a pure white flour.

Peganum harmala is a bushy, about 60 cm high plant of dry areas growing naturally in North Africa and the Middle East eastward to India and Pakistan. It has been introduced and is now an invasive plant in the US from Texas to California and north to Montana in desert areas.  It belongs to the botanical order of the Sapindales and more specifically into the family of Nitrariaceae. Some well-known representatives of the Sapindales are maple trees, frankincense and myrrh, mango and cashew. The pretty white flowers are about 3 cm wide and they have five petals. The orange-brownish fruit capsules are divided into three partitions. They crack open along three lines when the seeds ripen.

All these highly interesting facts were not known to all but two of the participants of the Shameeah ceremony which I will be talking about. What is a Shameeah?
You easily can skip this paragraph and continue reading further below if you are familiar with the energetics and the meaning of the C-levels in a Shameeah ceremony.  The basic structure of a Shameeah Ceremony follows the protocol of a C4-trituration:  In four C-levels, each level consists of six rounds of ten minutes of grinding the substance with a mortar and pestle, while writing down thoughts and sensations as they arise. We go through the different energetic levels of a substance. C1 deals mainly with the physical level and with the individual, C2 focuses on the emotional aspects and relationship and C3 refers to the mental level.  While C1 and C2 usually feel more or less uncomfortable, it is in C3 that we get a better understanding of the problem. In C4 we touch the sacred core inherent in every natural substance. A transformation occurs where a solution reveals itself to us for the problem that was expressed on the lower levels, so the meaning of the problem opens up. Higher C-levels exist, however since they do not play a role for our understanding of Peganum, I will not go into them here.

Direct quotations of expressions of the participants are given in quotation marks.

C1 was rich with physical sensations. Pains were felt as sharp, cutting, piercing, penetrating or burning.
“Animal sinews are holding someone. Resistance cuts into the flesh. You cannot use your muscles, it would cut you to shreds.”
“Pain penetrates behind my right eye into my pituitary”. – “Something sharp intrudes into me almost violently.” – “I am afraid that thoughts and energies of a powerful yet dangerous person could come into my life.”
“I am coughing up a foreign object. It feels like an implant. What is that doing in me?”
“This is about victims and trauma, about wounds that do not heal. Deep emotional scarring that penetrates the soul and creates puncture wounds.”

There was a “fullness of the brain, it feels puffy and it seemed to expand into a bulbous forehead.” – “I am thinking of brain inflammation. Why?” (This is interesting as we know from the homeopathic Materia Medica that Peganum had been used to treat encephalitis)

A feeling of disconnection and separation was quite remarkable and was noticed by many participants. “I am cut off from others and from source.” – “I feel isolated. I am not connected to the other people in the room.” – “I have a sense of solitude.” – “My head and body are not connected but they are not communicating right now.” – “I am disconnected from my body and from my emotions.” – “There is my body and there is my head: The two feel like there is a degree of separation.” – “I think of a client who has sequestered herself in a silent retreat for two months.”
The separation reaches the degree of imprisonment. “I had the vision of a dark portal opening up to a honeycomb like chamber. Each chamber is a prison, the walls are made of very thin material, like paper or onion skin.” – “I really feel closed in, something is pushing my head down.”
“Souls are stuck in between. They are locked nowhere, repeating their last moments over and over. Something black is feeding on them and keeps them there.”

For one participant images of lilies came up and actually, the flowers of the Syrian Rue look similar to lily flowers.

Memories of childhood came up for two participants. Someone else was making children’s rhymes: “Caraway, caraway. Carry me away.”


In C2 we become aware that our images are silent, no sound can be heard in the inner world in which Peganum is leading us here. “In this space there is complete silence. It is as if there is no substance, not even air that could carry the sound.”

There is an inability to connect and a desire to be alone. “I feel alone, surrounded by miscommunication, by deflected, distorted and fragmented signals. My inner perception is incomplete; like a mosaic, each stone carrying its own picture and together they are not composing a whole. The world is fragmented.” – “My mind is distorted. All the pieces are here but they do not fit like a puzzle that has been put together incorrectly.”

The lack of emotions creates a disconnection and this leads to confusion. We reached a very uncomfortable place in the Shameeah:
“I am cut off from my emotions. Connection and intimacy is not possible anymore. It is confusing. I just want to be alone. People are bothersome anyway.” – “I want to sit quietly and be left alone. I do not want to go home to my family nor do I want to see my sister. But I do not really feel connected to myself. I have an image of being kissed but I do not want to be kissed. I feel imposed upon. Where am I? There is an orange line between sky and land on the horizon. I am in an in-between-space, a place where life is held or darkness lurks. I am caught in a slice of time, not alive nor dead. It is a holding pattern. How long have I been here? It is not a friendly place and not unfriendly, just nothing.” The above image of being kissed might mean that in this energy even love does not reach us.
Without any emotional involvement we were fascinated by the pure structure of things. “I see the elaborate design of a frosted fern or snowflake. It leads me to the crystalline programming of water molecules. I have obsessive thoughts about the patterns of snowflakes and the energy of water. I am obsessed with finding solutions, answers, knowledge. I am confused. I am staring off into space, no feeling, trapped in many moments without feelings. I am not feeling my body, I am not feeling anything else, not Source, not Creator. I am in between worlds, in between dimensions, time, space and realities.” – “I see the Get-out-of-Jail-card of monopoly.”

We see here the pure mental thinking, not grounded in the physical and not held by emotions. In that way the facts are crystal clear but they fall apart, because there is nothing that would give them coherence.

“I see a man but not in his full human form. I only see him in grey and blue colors. That is not all of him.”

Things go wrong here. “An apple gets the blight. A parcel is delivered to the wrong address. A child is born with deformities.”

Magic comes up, dark magic. We felt drugged, half seduced and half abducted. “Suspended magic comes up. It is not penetrating anything, it is suspended, brewing in itself.” – “A clown face appears, or is it a lady with a bad make-up? I need to follow her. She leads me into a circus. I do not really want to follow. Deeper into the circus tent the orange turns deep red. I hear her calling: ‘Follow me! Follow me!’ I tried to back out but I have come too far. The tunnel walls are red and slippery. There is a sense of seduction, imposing and persuasive. I see the image of an insect trapped in a red and demanding flower. I get sucked in and darkness is floating through the starry sky. It is a dead, dry daisy. Being trapped in non-existence is confusing. Then I feel self-contained, like a flower basking in sunshine and singing to myself. Isolated, content, selfish and oblivious.”
“I see a body decaying, it is like shedding a skin and at the same time liquefying. Just like magic. Everything is in a grey mist. I see black and white bleeding into each other. Then it is all grey. The decay feeds this grey mist. Then something stretches out and fingers come out and touch everything. Like wizard’s hands.”
“There is enticement, entrapment and deep deception. A small taste makes you want more.”
“I feel drugged.” – “I am infatuated with this sensation of tingling in my whole body. It is an obsession, like being in love. It almost feels like I am high.”
“Naked women standing in the doorways of opium dens. Euphoric smoke clouds hover with the promise of ultimate pleasure. Their eyes are distant. They give away their soul in detachment.”
“I feel pliable and fooled and taken off course. Humanity is so gullible. I see a man promising a woman a ride in an airplane that he owns and the seats are black. I thought about addiction only stopping when the body begins to break down.”

Children themes show up again, both as children songs but also in a dark and threatening context.
“I have dreams of murders, I see stab wounds under breasts. Babies drinking milk from voluptuous breasts. In the next round I have an image of crying babies lying on the ground. They are naked and wrapped loosely, not lovingly, in muslin blankets. The bowls sound eerie now.” – “A baby is put on a road to be killed. Surprisingly I did not have any particular emotional reaction to it. The area the baby was put in was enclosed by an orange fence.”
The loss of emotions is here seen as the killing of the child, of our inner child. One participant remembered a fairy tale from his childhood, “The Snow Queen” by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. A little boy is hit by a tiny glass splinter of a devilish mirror, his heart turns ice cold and only the love of his little sister could eventually save him. The story shows many parallels to our Shameeah experience: The loss of feeling, the obsession with snowflakes, numbers and mathematics, and finally the solution in our childlike purity of love.

C2 is in general the most emotional level. Here it was the complete lack of emotions that was striking. We were detached and deeply disconnected to what was happening in our inner world, some even felt comfortable and peaceful in this separation. Nobody described the aloneness as forsaken feeling, as emotional pain.


In C3 it feels as if a façade is all that is left of us. “I am in a lighthouse tower, the waves crashing into its base. There must be light inside, some purpose. But there is nothing in there, no purpose, nothing.”  “I am stuck in this nothing space. I do not understand what is going on here.” – “I can see an empty female energy, where the core has been sucked out. She is devoid of soul. Fuck! Devoid of soul is so nothing, it feels so lifeless, pointless, useless, so non-existent! I want to scream!! I want to scream – but nothing. Somebody stole my voice but there was no bargain, nothing lost and nothing gained. Nothing. I am stuck in this empty eternity. It is still here.” “I am stuck in this nothing space. I am numb to life. I want to bang my head on the piano and fall to the floor! I would just lie there, feeling pain is better than feeling nothing.”  “There is a crack in the universe, an opening for escape. I am stuck in the crack. Accept that there is no purpose.  I am drawn to the darkness and vastness of shining sparkles suspended in blackness. The stars, suspended in space and time. Their coordinates all reveal patterns and structuring, there are gases, molecules, reactions, implosions, explosions, violence and peace. There is no purpose and no feeling. Things are decomposing. Who cares? They are breaking down into smaller particles of solids, liquids, gases. Who cares? I am broken into smaller pieces too, split up into micro-fragments. I am not concerned about it. I am spread and thrown out by the whim of the universe. There is no feeling that goes with this destruction. It just is. It is strange not to have feelings about being violently broken by a force larger than yourself. I have acceptance for what is, and no will. I would go wherever I was told. I would be seduced by either light or dark without concern for the consequences, playing a part of a larger design to which I have no say, no will and no desire.”

“Black smoke is swirling upwards from the prairies. Black is the sum of all colors but this blackness pulls all colors in, it has a pull. Then I get this image of a mother in her depression having stabbed all her children after the dust has caked (caped?) over the …. butter (8.44). Little pockets where sadness leaves a hole and madness enters. When we wake up, these influences cannot reach us. When we know our creativity and power, we do not get taken over and disempowered. Someone I knew well thought that an evil spirit was after him and his family and he even brought an exorcist.
Some years ago a fake lama blessed my business and I lost everything. He had cursed it. I did not want to believe in cursing. I never wanted to believe in darkness. It is Old Work black magic with some reality deep in the psyche.”

“I feel cursed. Something penetrated into me without leaving a scar. Now life seems to be merely a mechanical process that needs to be figured out. Once I thought life is a mystery that wants to be loved but this is not the case here. I am sitting in a prison that I cannot even see. So I cannot get out. I am helpless, trapped but not really aware of it. I cannot ask for help because I do not feel that I need help. I not only do not have the answer, I do not know which question to ask. But answers can only come when there is a question. There is no movement anymore. Time stands still. Without a loving heart beating the rhythm of time, life itself is frozen. I am isolated in a prison of timelessness. My prison is full of the cold light of mental clarity. There is no sign in my mind that anything would be missing.”

The colors orange and red came up strongly and repeatedly. Knowing that the plant was used to create a red dye, this seems to make sense. Especially beautiful was this observation of a participant: “I see a red poppy flower turn white.” We had mentioned the red dye which was gained from the seeds. In the Jewish tradition the leaves had been used to bleach wheat in order to make a pure white flour for bread.

The situation was very clear now. Some invisible force had hit us and disconnected us from emotion and body. What was left was an ice cold mind that was initially still clear. However, in the absence of feelings and the stabilizing connection with the body, things necessarily do not make sense anymore. The result was confusion and loss of meaning. We touched areas close to insanity.
Negative influences whose origin could not be seen were often called curses in older times. Today we know that most invisible energies that make us sick are either collective energies or transgenerational energies that have been passed on. Both are very hard to become aware of because they both feel for us like the water for the fish: We are born into them, we live in them, they feel so natural that they can hardly be recognized but most often are accepted or lamented about as fate or destiny, which are only other words for a lack of clarity.

It was the evening of our first day and the identity of the substance we were dealing with was disclosed. For homeopaths it may be said that what has been described so far is the remedy picture as far as we were able to unveil it. The next step will be C4 which in this case is no longer part of the remedy picture. In C4 we hope to touch the sacred core of Peganum and allow it to lead us out of the trouble that we were in. Every natural substance, it may be from plant, animal or mineral origin, describes a problem like Peganum here in C1, C2 and C3. However, a plant does not only hold a challenge, it also holds the solution. In the depth of every being of nature rests the sacred healing capacity, the wisdom of how to get out of the problem. It is like in “real” life: The solution of most problems lies hidden where we would not look for it, it lies in the very core of the problem itself.

The next morning we met and shared dreams. Sometimes dreams can be crucial for understanding a substance.

This dream was shared: “Behind a curtain an about 11 year old boy with a huge erection was about to screw my youngest sister. I was quite amazed as the age of the boy and the size of its penis did not seem to fit. I backed away. I was not concerned, there were no emotions.”

When we ponder this dream in the light of our Shameeah findings, it could be an expression that someone under the influence of Peganum might look and act in a seemingly adult manner in spite of an inner immaturity. There is a potential of getting hurt and being taken advantage of for people like the youngest sister of the dreamer who do not have the discernment to see the truth behind the façade. Most of us had to agree that we also had fallen victim to the attraction of impressive fake behavior. Under the influence of the lower energetic levels of Peganum we can leave our immature aspects behind and we can act dangerously mature.

All of us were eager now to get out of the very taxing lower energetic levels. It had been painful. So we moved into C4.


Most of us felt freed. “The lesser ones may kindly move into the background where they may blend with the grass and the trees and come out of where they infect our brains. We are delivered of their tyranny and they become tiny, insignificant and we are free. I have a vision of trapped souls being released and floating upward. These irritants and entrapments serve to keenly drive us toward ourselves. We are claiming our power not to submit to anything created, to be sovereign, neither slave nor servant be. In a grey landscape I see green emerging and the words were: Get up and walk all over the earth!
Everything looks bright. Light infused into the dark, contrasts making the other more brilliant.
Choices. No fear, just wonderment is left.”

The direction that healing needs to go was obvious: It is reclaiming the connections to our physical body and to our emotions and reclaiming our relations again.
“I need to love, to cry, to laugh and to feel again. I need someone, a warm hand to touch my heart. I need a song that reaches my heart. I need substance. I see myself touch the dark soil under a tree and allow the darkness of the substance to flow into me again.”

The spell was broken and nobody felt caught and imprisoned anymore! There was a great desire to go back to family and loved ones. “I am really missing my children. I want to hug and kiss them again.”
“What a splendid day! I have a wonderful feeling of euphoria, of lightness and sweetness. My body is settling in again, I am getting grounded from the spine. I am coming together again. The purpose of this flower was to tell me to trust myself. The warm rays of the sun are illuminating me and basking me in all its light and glory.”

The following is a beautiful and complete healing experience of one participant in which she finds her inner children again as a goblin village. She also experiences the gift of this painful journey: She can no longer be sucked dry anymore by parasitic energies, she now has the power of discernment.

“I see a white, pulsating bloom, inviting. I travel down through the stem into the roots. There is a village there, like trolls or goblins. A road leads out of the village and I know it is for me to follow. The gates open and there is a big open space. It is white, like with sparkly tiny snowflakes. Angelic beings move in the sparkles. I can move into this space in my own pace without being rushed. I can feel my heart healing. ‘You are loved’.

My heart feels lighter now and the bowls are sounding at a higher frequency. The depth of suffering equals the depth of healing. My four-month-old niece’s eyes are suddenly before me. I recognize her spiritual self. I feel an entirely strong bond with her. This is very emotional for me. I am crying.  My heart warms. I feel a return of blood flow to my heart. My heart feels full and whole. I can discern now people who are energetic vampires.”

How often have we not struggled with our inner kindergarten, with our emotional pain or with pain in our body! After the experience of having lost them, after having come close to the madness that results out of this not-feeling, we never will complain about them again. We realized how necessary they are for our mental health.  We also could see how unhealthy a purely mental approach to life is as it is so often promoted and practiced in business and in science. We found the truth: Not including our human heart is insane!  We see in the world the effects of a pure mental approach to life: It is threatening the very existence of human life on this planet. In Peganum we found a herb that can not only survive in the desert of heartlessness but also guide us out of the insanity. May many people find healing through its powerful guidance?

I want to express my deepest gratitude to Linda Miller, the director of the Western College of Homeopathic Medicine in Calgary who is exposing her students to the sometimes challenging effects of energetic remedies, thus giving them a first hand experience of the archetypal path of the healer who dares to go through a disturbance to find the path of healing. The patients of these students will benefit from this.
I want to thank the group of homeopathy students who were so courageous to trust me and follow me on yet another journey into unknown territory. One of them wrote a week after the Shameeah:
Thank you for leading an amazing weekend.  It is hard to express in words the depth of what happens in these Shameeahs but they are forever changing and healing. I am entirely grateful to be a part of it.

I want to thank the spirit of Peganum harmale, the Syrian Rue, for opening up to our inquiry and for trusting in our capacity for holding, dealing with and moving through such a difficult energy.  Lastly I want to bow to the energies that guide us on these sacred journeys, that bring our attention to those beings of nature that we need in our times to make it through the great changes without damaging the natural beauty of this planet too much.

About the author

Roland Guenther

Roland Guenther is a German MD who started his medical career as a surgeon and later practiced family medicine for 20 years, primarily using homeopathy. In 2005 he immigrated to Canada. In Germany he pioneered a three year accreditation program, which later became mandatory for medical doctors wanting certification in homeopathy. He practices and teaches the art of preparing remedies by hand in a way he calls Shameeah. These are ceremonies that combine the homeopathic trituration technique, the alchemical principle of transformation and indigenous wisdom. His work is strongly influenced by the years he spent with Native people. He lived for 3 years on the Blood Reserve in Alberta and with the Huichol people in the remote mountains of Mexico. He lives and practices homeopathy in Royston on Vancouver Island, BC, and also teaches at homeopathic colleges in Calgary and Minneapolis.


  • that interesting … i believe in power of hermala as it is used in cleansing ritual in Pakistan and India … but medicinally i was enlightened by the article … i am sure it will treat all the symptoms u describe .. in 10 M and 50 M potency esp … and for psychical lower potentiates … will be beneficial … thanks for enlightenment … blessings

  • Hello… I am curious about this remedy, peganum Harmala (I am not a homeopath, it was recommended to me). If I am pregnant, why was this recommended? In it’s non-homeopathic form, it has been commonly used for abortion. I was surprised about this when I looked it up. I understand a bit about homeopathy, but not very much. From my understanding, the the portion is so miniscule that it is basically negligible, more so, a vibration, a resonance, is that correct? But why would I want to introduce this resonance to my body during pregnancy? I was honestly nervous about taking it, so I didn’t. They initially gave me lanthanides, then changed their mind and told me to take peganum Harmala Thoughts? Are there such things as homeopathic remedies that are contraindicated during pregnancy? I didn’t feel comfortable confronting the homeopath, because she is very secretive about her remedies and why she prescribes them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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