Ten species of annuals and biennials closely related to Daucus (See wild carrot) make up this genus, which occurs through SW Asia to S Europe and neighboring Atlantic islands. Ammi majus is widely grown in India for the treatment of vitiligo: the active ingredient is psoralene, which stimulates pigment production in skin exposed to ultraviolet light. It also has a long history of use as a contraceptive in various cultures. If a decoction of ground seeds is taken after intercourse, it may prevent implantation of the fertilized ovum. In Morocco, where it is known as cure-dents du Prophète, it is used as a gargle for toothache. In the West it is better known as an ornamental. Ammi visnaga was mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus c.1550BCE. The seeds contain a fatty oil, which includes khellin. Research into Khellin in the 1950's led to the formulation of commercial drugs for management of asthma.

The dried, ripe fruit of this native Mediterranean plant eases spasms in the muscles in the walls of blood vessels, bronchial airways, and other tubes and ducts, which explains its use as a treatment for high blood pressure, cough, and bronchitis. It also mildly stimulates the pumping action of the heart and increases blood circulation to the heart muscle.

Tall stout annual or biennial with triangular-ovate, finely divided, aromatic leaves, to 18cm (7in) long. Tiny, yellow-white flowers appear in summer in long-stalked umbels with 30-150 rays that thicken and remain erect after flowering. Small seeds are oblong-ovoid.

Common Name:
Other Names:
Bishop's Weed, Greater Ammi, Khella Fruits
Botanical Name:
Ammi visnaga
Native Location:
E Mediterranean, especially Egypt
Well-drained soil in sun.
By seed sown in spring.
Seeds are gathered when ripe and dried for powders, tinctures, and liquid extracts. Fractions of the fatty oil are extracted for drug formulation.
45-75cm (18-30in)
45cm (18in)
Parts Used:
Seeds, Fruit
An aromatic herb that dilates the bronchial, urinary and blood vesels without affecting blood pressure.
Medicinal Uses:
Internally for asthma, angina, coronary arteriosclerosis, and kidney stones.
To treat angina pectoris, hypertension, asthma, whooping cough, and cramping of the abdomen.
Typical Dose:
A typical dose of bishop's weed is approximately 0.5ml of liquid extract.
Possible Side Effects:
Bishop's weed's side effects include insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and allergic reactions.
Drug Interactions:
Taking bishop's weed with these drugs may increase the risk of hypotension (excessively low blood pressure):
Acebutolol (Novo-Acebutolol, Sectral) Acetazolamide (Apo-Acetazolamide, Diamox Sequels) Amiloride (Midamor) Amlodipine (Norvasc) Atenolol (Apo-Atenol, Tenormin) Azosemide (Diat)
Benazepril (Lotensin) Bepridil (Vascor) Betaxolol (Betoptic S, Kerlone) Bisoprolol (Monocor, Zebeta) Bumetanide (Bumex, Burinex) Candesartan (Atacand)
Captopril (Capoten, Novo-Captopril) Carteolol (Cartrol, Ocupress) Carvedilol (Coreg) Chlorothiazide (Diuril) Chlorthalidone (Apo-Chlorthalidone, Thalitone) Clonidine (Catapres, Duraclon)
Diazoxide (Hyperstat, Proglycem) Diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac) Doxazosin (Alti-Doxazosin, Cardura) Enalapril (Vasotec) Eplerenone (Inspra) Eprosartan (Teveten)
Esmolol (Brevibloc) Ethacrynic Acid (Edecrin) Etozolin (Elkapin) Felodipine (Plendil, Renedil) Fenoldopam (Corlopam) Fosinopril (Monopril)
Furosemide (Apo-Furosemide, Lasix) Guanabenz (Wytensin) Guanadrel (Hylorel) Guanfacine (Tenex) Hydralazine (Apresoline, Novo-Hylazin) Hydrochlorothiazide (Apo-Hydro, Microzide)
Hydrochlorothiazide and Triamterene (Dyazide, Maxzide) Hydroflumethiazide (Diucardin, Saluron) Indapamide (Lozol, Nu-Indapamide) Irbesartan (Avapro) Isradipine (DynaCirc) Labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate)
Lacidipine (Aponil, Caldine) Lercanidipine (Cardiovasc, Carmen) Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) Losartan (Cozaar) Manidipine (Calslot, Iperten) Mannitol (Osmitrol, Resectisol)
Mecamylamine (Inversine) Mefruside (Baycaron) Methazolamide (Apo-Methazolamide, Neptazane) Methclothiazide (Aquatensen, Enduron) Methyldopa (Apo-Methyldopa, Nu-Medopa) Metolazone (Mykrox, Zaroxolyn)
Metoprolol (Betaloc, Lopressor) Minoxidil (Loniten, Rogaine) Moexipril (Univasc) Nadolol (Apo-Nadol, Corgard) Nicardipine (Cardene) Nifedipine (Adalat CC, Procardia)
Nilvadipine Nimodipine (Nimotop) Nisoldipine (Sular) Nitrendipine Nitroglycerin (Minitran, Nitro-Dur) Nitroprusside (Nitropress, Nipride)
Olmesartan (Benicar) Omesartan and Hydrochlorothiazide (Benicar HCT) Oxprenolol (Trasicor, Slow-Trasicor) Perindopril Erbumine (Aceon, Coversyl) Phenoxybenzamine (Dibenzyline) Phentolamine (Regitine, Rogitine)
Pinaverium (Dicetel) Pindolol (Apo-Pindol, Novo-Pindol) Polythiazide (Renese) Prazosin (Minipress, Nu-Prazo) Propranolol (Inderal, InnoPran XL) Quinapril (Accupril)
Ramipril (Altace) Reserpine Spironolactone (Aldactone, Novo-Spiroton) Telmisartan (Micardis) Terazosin (Alti-Terazosin, Hytrin) Timolol (Betimol, Timoptic)
Torsemide (Demadex) Trandolapril (Mavik) Triamterene (Dyrenium) Trichlormethiazide (Metatensin, Naqua) Urea (Amino-Cerv, Ultramide) Valsartan (Diovan)
Verapamil (Calan, Isoptin SR)
Xipamide (Diurexan, Lumitens)
Taking bishop's weed with these drugs may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising:
Abciximab (ReoPro) Antithrombin III (Thrombate III) Argatroban Aspirin (Bufferin, Ecotrin)
Aspirin and Dipyridamole (Aggrenox) Bivalirudin (Angiomax) Clopidogrel (Plavix) Dalteparin (Fragmin)
Danaparoid (Orgaran) Dipyridamole (Novo-Dipiradol, Persantine) Enoxaparin (Lovenox) Eptifibatide (Integrillin)
Fondaparinux (Arixtra) Heparin (Hepalean, Hep-Lock) Indobufen (Ibustrin) Lepirudin (Refludan)
Ticlopidine (Alti-Ticlopidine, Ticlid) Tinzaparin (Innohep) Tirofiban (Aggrastat) Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
Lab Test Alterations:
  • May increase HDL "good" cholesterol levels.
  • May increase the results of certain liver tests (ALT, SGOT, SGPT), giving the impression that the patient may have hepatitis or liver disease.
Disease Effects:
May worsen liver function in people with liver disease.
Supplement Interactions:
  • May increase the risk of liver damage when combined with herbs and supplements that can cause hepatotoxicity (destructive effects on the liver), such as Borage, Chaparral, Uva-Ursi, and others.
  • Increased risk of bleeding when used with herbs and supplements that might affect platelet aggregation, such as Angelica, Danshen, Garlic, Ginkgo Biloba, Red Clover, Turmeric, White Willow, and others.
  • May have additive effects when used with herbs and supplements taht increase photo-sensitivity, such as St. John's Wort.
Culinary Uses:
Seeds are an ingredient of mish, a soft, yellow-brown, pickled cheese that was popular in ancient Egyptian times and is still made in Egypt today.
This herb is subject to legal restrictions in some countries.
Encyclopedia of Herbs by Deni Brown Copyright © 1995, 2001 Dorling Kindersley Limited Pg 118
The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide by Geo. T. Grossberg,MD and Barry Fox, PhD copyright ©2997 by Barry Fox, PhD Pp. 68-71