Botanical: Ammi visnaga
Family: Apiaceae (parsley) - Umbelliferae (carrot)
Other common names: Bishop's Weed Fruit, Ammi Visnaga, Ammi, Bishop's Weed, Khellin, Visnaga, Visnagin
Khella is said to combat spasms in smooth muscles and dilate blood vessels, bronchial airways and many other bodily tubes and ducts, making it very useful for the management of angina, asthma, arteriosclerosis and kidney stones. The herb is also used to improve blood circulation, which can be beneficial for a weak heart by giving a mild boost to the heart muscle. Used both internally and externally, Khella is considered very helpful in cases of vitiligo.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Khella is a bitter, aromatic plant that is native to the Mediterranean area of North Africa and the Middle East, and is cultivated in the United States, Mexico, Chile and Argentina, thriving as a crop in well-drained soil in sun. The plant grows erect to a height of about five feet and bears wispy leaves and clusters of small white flowers and tiny fruits, which are picked and dried and used in herbal medicines. Khella's medicinal usage reaches back to antiquity. The herb appeared in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus of almost four thousand years ago as a component in formulas to treat kidney stones, one of the very same uses that has echoed through the ages. The seeds contain a fatty oil, which includes khellin, and research that was conducted in the 1950s, led to its formulation in many commercial drugs for dilating blood vessels. Some of the constituents in Khella include coumarins, visnagin, visnadin, khellin, khellos glycoside, flavonoids, sterols and volatile oil.
Khella is said to be very beneficial for good heart health. As a vasodilator, it has been used to relax the coronary arteries, reduce arterial plaque and increase circulation to the heart without reducing blood pressure; and it is believed to improve circulation in the heart muscle, giving a mild boost to the heart's pumping action. Khella is also said to improve a weak heart and relieve the pain of angina pectoris.
Further supporting coronary health, research has indicated that the visnagin in Khella acts as a calcium channel blocker, preventing blood vessel constriction that could result in raised blood pressure. Moreover, the herb is thought to increase the ratio of HDL (high-density lipoprotein or "good" cholesterol) to LDL (low-density lipoprotein or "bad" cholesterol) in the blood, helping to reduce plaque formation in the linings of arteries. This action is said to diminish the risk of arteriosclerosis, stroke and heart attack.
In the treatment of kidney stones, Khella is said to relax tubes and ducts to the bladder, allowing the stones to pass, which reaffirms this particular medicinal application in ancient Egypt. By relaxing the muscles of the ureter, Khella may help to ease the stone down into the bladder for eventual release, and also relieve the pain caused by the trapped stone. The German Commission E Monograph recommends Khella for its ability help the urinary passages heal after the trauma of passing kidney stones by preventing irritation and spasms in the urinary canal.
Khella is considered an antispasmodic that combats spasms in the smooth muscles and is believed to be useful in cases of spastic coughs and cramps, including abdominal cramps and painful menstruation.
Khella is an aromatic herb that helps to dilate bronchial tubes. Its active constituent, khellin, is considered a bronchio-dilator, and along with its antispasmodic qualities, is said to alleviate spasms of the smooth muscles that line bronchial airways. This action is beneficial for various respiratory problems, including bronchitis, emphysema, whooping cough and asthma. While not always able to arrest "acute" asthma attacks, it may help to prevent their recurrence.
Khella has been used (both internally and externally) in the treatment of vitiligo, a disease in which the skin loses its pigment-carrying melanocytes. When combined with sunlight, the khellin and the natural sun exposure have increased the sensitivity of remaining melanocytes and induced re-pigmentation in 76-to-86 percent of the patients treated.
Used externally, Khella is believed to relieve wounds, inflammation, psoriasis and poisonous bites. It is also used topically in creams as a treatment for vitiligo (un-pigmented white patches on skin).
Pregnant and nursing women should avoid this herb, as well as those who take blood-thinning medications. Those who have high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease should consult their physicians before using this herb. Taking Kella Herbal Supplement may interfere with the actions of heart medicines, such as Digoxin (Lanoxicaps®, Lanoxin®); Digitoxin (Crystodigin®), resulting in the return of symptoms otherwise controlled by prescription medicines. If your physician approves taking Khella and heart medicines together, and you experience any change in blood pressure, or a return of symptoms otherwise controlled by prescription medicines, call your doctor right away. Khella contains compounds that greatly heighten photosensitivity, and extreme care should be taken when exposed to the ultraviolet light of sun or tanning lamps. Overuse (many times the recommended dosage) or long-term use can cause liver problems, nausea, headache and insomnia.