Ammi Visnaga, also known as Khella, has been used for many centuries for its beneficial affects on the treatment of certain affections, among others high blood pressure and kidney stones. Ammi visnaga is a natural substance long used in herbal medicine. Often referred to as “khella,” ammi visnaga is extracted from a plant in the carrot family. The whole fruit has traditionally been used to treat respiratory system diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and whooping cough, as well as cardiovascular disorders, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), liver and gall bladder disorders and to stimulate dieresis. Its purported effect is related to its antispasmodic action on smaller bronchial muscles, coronary arteries and urinary tract tubules.
This aromatic shrub is also native to the Mediterranean area of North Africa and the Middle East, and now cultivated in different countries, such as United States, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and others. Khella is available in the form of tinctures, tablets, and prescription creams (for vitiligo). In the form of oil (omam) it is almost colourless (slightly brownish) with characteristic odour and a sharp hot taste.
It treats asthma by soothing muscle spasms of the bronchial airways. It is a strong vasodilator, acting much like calcium channel blockers a class of asthma drugs with potentially serious effects, including headaches, urinary tract problems, low white blood cell count, heart failure, weight changes, and mental disorders.
For the treatment of cough and cold 1 tablespoon of seeds crushed and tied up in a small cloth bundle is used for inhalation; for nasal congestion, use a similar bundle, placed it near the pillow while sleeping; for cough, drink hot water after chewing little khella seeds; dry cough, chew betel leaf with khella at night before sleeping.
As for the side effects, khella has few of them. Nausea, vomiting, and ophthalmic changes (decreased visual acuity) have been associated with using the herb. Avoid long exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet radiation while taking Khella, as it contains the compound, which increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.