Ammi visnaga




Steam Distilled

Khella Essential Oil Origins

The vast majority of essential oils are derived from perennial growth. Khella, however, is an annual plant found in the Middle East (predominantly Egypt), and the Mediterranean. The A. visnaga varietal naturally adapted well to, and grows in parts of the southeastern United States. The plant can grow to approximately 1 m (3ft) in height. It has a rich aromatic, almost chocolatey odor and a very bitter taste. Products of ammi consist of the dried ripe fruits, and essential oils.


Direct Therapeutic Benefits of Khella Essential Oil

Throughout history, khella has traditionally been used for the management a variety of illnesses, including:

  • vitiligo
  • psoriasis
  • urinary tract infections
  • kidney and urinary stones
  • diabetes management
  • asthma

It is also a potent coronary vasodilator with antispasmodic effects, making it useful in treating angina.

Usage in Medicine

Clinical studies have been performed on the usage of khella in combination with ultraviolet (UV) light therapy for treatment of vitiligo, which utilize 20 mg of the khellin constituent per day internally. In related safety and efficacy studies of khellin, pure compound khellin was applied topically as a 5% preparation, and as 100 mg administered orally. In a study evaluating effects of khellin on cholesterol regulation, khellin 200 mg/day orally was administered over the course of 20 days.

In a longer, 4-month controlled study, 100mg daily oral dosage of khellin in combination with sunlight exposure was found to improve psoriasis in 8 of 10 treated patients.


A. visnaga (Khella) is high in both coumarins and furocoumarins (psoralens), of which,  khellin and visnagin are actively beneficial. Khellin is present in not only Khella itself, but also in a number of fruits in a concentration of approximately 1%, and visnagin is present in a concentration of approximately 0.3%. Additionally, xanthotoxin (methoxsalen) and ammidin (imperatorin), 2 furocoumarins from khella fruits, have been discovered.Fromming describes the solubility of Khella as a usable compound in a 1989 study.


Abdel-Fattah A, Aboul-Enein MN, Wassel G, El-Menshawi B. Preliminary report on the therapeutic effect of khellin in psoriasis. Dermatologica. 1983;167(2):109-110.6628802

Abu-Hashem AA, El-Shazly M. Synthesis, reactions and biological activities of furochromones: A review. Eur J Med Chem. 2015;90:633-665.25499986

Abu-Mustafa EA, Badran N, Fayez MB, Starkowsky NA. Isolation of marmesin from the fruits of Ammi majus Linn. Nature. 1958;182(4627):54.

Ahsan SK, Tariq M, Ageel AM, al-Yahya MA, Shah AH. Effect of Trigonella foenum-graecum and Ammi majus on calcium oxalate urolithiasis in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1989;26(3):249-254.2615405

Al Akeel R, AL-Sheikh Y, Mateen A, Syed R, Janardhan K, Gupta VC. Evaluation of antibacterial activity of crude protein extracts from seeds of six different medical plants against standard bacterial strains. Saudi J Biol Sci.2014;21(2):147-151.24600307

Balbaa SI, Zaki AY, Abdel Wahab SM. Study of the active constituent of Ammi visnaga fruits collected at different stages of maturity. J Pharm Sci UAR. 1968;9:15-26.

Bhagavathula AS, Al-Khatib AJM, Elnour AA, Al Kalbani NMS, Shehab A. Ammi visnaga in treatment of urolithiasis and hypertriglyceridemia. Pharmacognosy Res. 2015;7:397-400.

Carlie G, Ntusi NB, Hulley PA, Kidson SH. KUVA (khellin plus ultraviolet A) stimulates proliferation and melanogenesis in normal human melanocytes and melanoma cells in vitro. Bri J Dermatol. 2003;149(4):707-717.14616361

Chen M, Stohs SJ, Staba EJ. The biosynthesis of radioactive khellin and visnagin from C14-acetate by Ammi visnaga plants. Planta Med. 1969;17(4):319-327.5380188

de Leeuw J, van der Beek N, Maierhofer G, Neugebauer WD. A case study to evaluate the treatment of vitiligo with khellin encapsulated in L-phenylalanin stabilized phosphatidylcholine liposomes in combination with ultraviolet light therapy. Eur J Dermatol. 2003;13(5):474-477.14693493

Duarte J, Pérez-Vizcaíno F, Torres AI, Zarzuelo A, Jiménez J, Tamargo J. Vasodilator effects of visnagin in isolated rat vascular smooth muscle. Eur J Pharmacol. 1995;286(2):115-122.8605947

Durate J, Vallejo I, Pérez-Vizcaino F, Jiménez R, Zarzuelo A, Tamargo J. Effects of visnadine on rat isolated vascular smooth muscles. Planta Med. 1997;63(3):233-236.9225605

Edwards AM. Chromones. Chem Immunol Allergy. 2014;100:317-322.24925412

el-Domiaty MM. Improved high-performance liquid chromatographic determination of khellin and visnagin in Ammi visnaga fruits and pharmaceutical formulations. J Pharm Sci. 1992;81(5):475-478.1403684

Franchi GG, Bovalini L, Martelli P, Ferri S, Sbardellati E. High performance liquid chromatography analysis of the furanochromones khellin and visnagin in various organs of Ammi visnaga (L.) Lam. at different developmental stages. J Ethnopharmacol. 1985;14(2-3):203-212.4094467

Franchi GG, Ferri S, Bovalini L, Martelli P. Ammi visnaga (L.) Lam.: occurrence of khellin and visnagin in primary rib channels and endosperm, and emptiness of vittae, revealed by U.V. microscopy. Int J Crude Drug Res. 1987;25:137-144.

Fromming KH, Eisenbach N, Mehnert W. Influence of biopharmaceutical properties of drugs by natural occurring compounds as exemplified with khellin in an Ammi visnaga dry extract. Pharmazeutische Industrie. 1989;51(4):439-443.

Gharbo SA, Abd El-Samad MM. Modified chromatographic method of assay of Ammi visnaga L. fruits and its galenicals. J Pharm Sci UAR. 1968;9:7-14.

Harvengt C, Desager JP. HDL-cholesterol increase in normolipaemic subjects on khellin: a pilot study. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res. 1983;3(5):363-366.6678829

Hilmi Y, Abushama MF, Abdalgadir H, Khalid A, Khalid H. A study of antioxidant activity, enzymatic inhibition and in vitro toxicity of selected traditional Sudanese plants with anti-diabetic potential. BMC Complement Altern Med.2014;14:149.24885334

Hofer A, Kerl H, Wolf P. Long-term results in the treatment of vitiligo with oral khellin plus UVA. Eur J Dermatol. 2001;11(3):225-229.11358729

Ibrahim IA, ElBadwi SM, Abdel Gadir WS, Bakhiet AO, Yagoub SO, Adam SE. Susceptibility of Bovans chicks to low dietary levels of Ammi visnaga and Artemisia herba-alba. Vet HumanToxicol. 2004;46(2):67-69.15080205

Ibrahim SM, Kadry HA, El-Olemy MM. Use of acid-dye technique in the analysis of natural products. Part 3. Spectrophotometric microdetermination of khellin and bergapten. Lloydia. 1979;42:366-373.

Jan M. Effects of Ammi visnaga (Bisnaga) extract on the volume and acidity of stimulated gastric secretion in fasting rabbits. J Coll Phyisicians Surg Pak. 2014;24(1):39-42.24411541

Jaradat NA, Zaid AN, Al-Ramahi R, et al. Ethnopharmacological survey of medicinal plants practiced by traditional healers and herbalists for treatment of some urological diseases in the West Bank/Palestine. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17(1):255.28482898

Jawad AM, Jaffer HJ, Al-Naib A, Naji A. Antimicrobial activity of sesquiterpene lactone and alkaloid fractions from Iraqi plants. Int J Crude Drug Res. 1988;26:185-188.

Jouad H, Maghrani M, Eddouks M. Hypoglycemic effect of aqueous extract of Ammi visnaga in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Herb Pharmacother. 2002;2(4):19-29.15277079

Karawya MS, el-Kiey MA, Sina A, Nour G. Simultaneous TLC separation of khellin and visnagin and their assay in Ammi visnaga fruits, extracts, and formulations. J Pharm Sci. 1970;59(7):1025-1027.5428074

Karawya MS, Girgis AN, Khayal SE. Micro method for the estimation of khellin and visnagin in Ammi visnaga fruits and in formulations. J Pharm Sci UAR. 1969;10:189-196.

Karawya MS, Sina A, Nour G. Determination of dihydroseselins in fruits and extracts of Ammi visnaga L. J Pharm Sci. 1969;58(12):1545-1547.5353279

Koriem KM, Asaad GF, Megahed HA, Zahran H, Arbid MS. Evaluation of the antihyperlipidemic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities of ethanolic extract of Ammi majus seeds in albino rats and mice. Int J Toxicol.2012;31(3):294-300.22550046


Kavli G, Volden G. Phytophotodermatitis. Photodermatol. 1984;1(2):65-75.6397734

Khan ZA, Assiri AM, Al-Afghani HMA, Maghrabi TMA. Inhibition of oxalate nephrolithiasis with Ammi visnaga (AI-Khillah). Int Urol Nephrol. 2001;33(4):605-608.12452606

Kilicaslan I, Coskun S. Spontaneous stone passage: is it Ammi visnaga effect? Urol Res. 2012;40(6):799-800.22990409

Le Quesne PW, Do MN, Ikram M, Israrkkhan M, Mir I. Furocoumarins from the fruit of Ammi visnagaJ Nat Prod. 1985;48:496.

Kiistala R, Mäkinen-Kiljunen S, Heikkinen K, Rinne J, Haahtela T. Occupational allergic rhinitis and contact urticaria caused by bishop’s weed (Ammi majus).Allergy. 1999;54(6):635-639.10435481

Kursinszki L, Troilina J, Szoke E. Biologically active compounds of genetically transformed Ammi visnaga cultures. Gyogyszereszet. 1997;41:84-87.

Mabberley D. The Plant-Book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1987.

Martelli P, Bovalini L, Ferri S, Franchi GG. Rapid separation and quantitative determination of khellin and visnagin in Ammi visnaga (L.) Lam. fruits by high-performance liquid chromatography. J Chromatogr. 1984;301(1):297-302.6438143

Mesbah MK. Determinatioin of khellin and visnagin in Ammi visnaga fruits and in renal teas by high-performance liquid chromatography. Egypt J Pharm Sci. 1992;33(5-6):897-904.

Mohammed MM, El-Sharkawy ER. Cytotoxic new furoquinoline alkaloid isolated from Ammi majus L. growing in Egypt. Nat Product Res. 2017;31(6):645-652.27686420

Morliere P, Hönigsmann H, Averbeck D, et al. Phototherapeutic, photobiologic, and photosensitizing properties of khellin. J Invest Dermatol. 1988;90(5):720-724.3283251

Orecchia G, Perfetti L. Photochemotherapy with topical khellin and sunlight in vitiligo. Dermatol. 1992;184(2):120-123.1498372

Orlov YE, Krupskaya NV. Polarographic determination of khellinum in Ammi visnaga fruits. Farmatsiia. 1989;38(5):47-50.

Pavela R, Vrchotová N, Triska J. Larvicidal activity of extracts from Ammi visnaga Linn. (Apiaceae) seeds against Culex quinquefasciatus Say. (Diptera: Culcidae). Exp Parasitol. 2016;165:51-57.26995534

Saeed MA, Khan FZ, Sattar A. Studies on the contact dermatitic properties of indigenous Pakistani medicinal plants. Part 3. Irritant principles of Ammi visnaga L. seeds. Gazi Universitesi Eczacilik Fakultesi Dergisi. 1993;10(1):15-23.

Saraceno R, Nisticò SP, Capriotti E, Chimenti S. Monochromatic excimer light 308 nm in monotherapy and combined with topical khellin 4% in the treatment of vitiligo: a controlled study. Dermatologic Therapy. 2009;22(4):391-394.19580584

Schimmer O, Rauch P. Inhibition of metabolic activation of the promutagens, benzo[a]pyrene, 2-aminofluorene and 2-aminoanthracene by furanochromones in Salmonella typhimuriumMutagenesis. 1998;13(4):385-389.9717176

Selim YA, Ouf NH. Anti-inflammatory new coumarin from the Ammi majus L. Org Med Chem Lett. 2012;2(1):1.22373472


Zgórka G, Dragan T, Glowniak K, Basiura E. Determination of furanochromones and pyranocoumarins in drugs andAmmi visnaga fruits by combined solid-phase extraction-high-performance liquid chromatography and thin-layer chromatography-high-performance liquid chromatography. J Chromatogr A. 1998;797(1-2):305-309.9542122

Shlosberg A, Egyed MN, Eilat A. The comparative photosensitizing properties of Ammi majus and Ammi visnaga in goslings. Avian Dis. 1974;18(4):544-550.4433298

Valkova S, Trashlieva M, Christova P. Treatment of vitiligo with local khellin and UVA: comparison with systemic PUVA. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2004;29(2):180-184.14987278

Vanachayangkul P, Byer K, Khan S, Butterweck V. An aqueous extract of Ammi visnaga fruits and its constituents khellin and visnagin prevent cell damage caused by oxalate in renal epithelial cells. Phytomedicine. 2010;17(8-9):653-658.20036111

Vanachayangkul P, Chow N, Khan SR, Butterweck V. Prevention of renal crystal deposition by an extract of Ammi visnaga L. and its constituents khellin and visnagin in hyperoxaluric rats. Urol Res. 2011;39(3):189-195.21069311

Westendorf J, Vahlensieck W. Spasmolytic and contractile effects of a combination product from plants on the smooth muscle of the guinea pigs [in German]. Arzneimittelforschung. 1981;31(1):40-43.7194092

Yaniv Z, Dafni A, Friedman J, Palevitch D. Plants used for the treatment of diabetes in Israel. J Ethnopharmacol. 1987;19(2):145-151.3613607


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