• Home
  • Chayote (Sechium edule)

Health benefits of Khella (Ammi visnaga)


Ammi visnaga, also known in Egypt as Khella, has been used for many centuries for its beneficial effects on the treatment of certain affections, among others high blood pressure, kidney stones and some others.

The reason for the effectiveness of this herb seems to be, following the latest news on the subject, the active constituents found on this herb, namely khellin and visnagin, which seem to be very effective in the treatment of those health disorders. 

Visnagin, an active constituent found in Ammi visnaga, has been used as an herbal treatment for low blood pressure and blocked blood vessel contraction by inhibition of calcium influx into blood cells. Image: Ammi visnaga by Dwight Sipler under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0).


Family: Apiaceae

Genus: Ammi

Common name: Bisnaga, Toothpickweed, Khella.


CURIOSITY: Khella was first used by Egyptians as much as 4,000 years ago to treat kidney stones [6]. 



These results suggest that visnagin has a neuroprotective effect in terms of suppressing kainic acid (KA)-induced pathogenesis in the brain and that these neuroprotective effects are associated with its anti-inflammatory effects(1).

Visnagin has also a certain biological activity as a vasodilator and reduces blood pressure by inhibiting calcium influx into the cell (2). Image right: Ammi visnaga by Dwight Sipler under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0).

In Egypt, teas prepared from the fruits of Ammi visnaga (syn. "Khella") are traditionally used by patients with urolithiasis. The oral administration of an aqueous extract prepared from the fruits of Ammi visnaga as well as two major constituents khellin and visnagin showed at least in one of the studies analysed that it could prevent crystal deposition in stone-forming rats.

The Khella extract (KE; 125, 250 or 500 mg/kg) was orally administered for 14 days. The histopathological examination of the kidneys revealed that KE significantly reduced the incidence of calcium oxalate (CaOx) crystal deposition.

In conclusion, the data obtained in this study suggest that KE and its compounds, khellin and visnagin, may be beneficial in the management of kidney stone disease caused by hyperoxaluria but that it is likely that different mechanism of action is involved in mediating these effects [3].

Disclaimer: The information presented on this website is not intended to prescribe or give in any way or form medical advice, recommend or diagnose. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page for more info.



[1] Neuroprotective Effect of Visnagin on Kainic Acid-induced Neuronal Cell Death in the Mice Hippocampus. Kwon MS, Lee JK, Park SH, Sim YB, Jung JS, Won MH, Kim SM, Suh HW. Department of Aerospace Medical Research, Aerospace Medical Center, ROKAF (Republic of Korea Air Force), Cheongwon 363-842, Korea.
[2] Anti-inflammatory effect of visnagin in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated BV-2 microglial cells. Lee JK, Jung JS, Park SH, Park SH, Sim YB, Kim SM, Ha TS, Suh HW. Institute of Natural Medicine, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea.
[3] Prevention of renal crystal deposition by an extract of Ammi visnaga L. and its constituents khellin and visnagin in hyperoxaluric rats. Vanachayangkul P, Chow N, Khan SR, Butterweck V. Department of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, PO Box 100494, Gainesville, FL, 32610, USA.
[4] Chemical composition and biological activity of Salvia verbenaca essential oil. Canzoneri M, Bruno M, Rosselli S, Russo A, Cardile V, Formisano C, Rigano D, Senatore F. Ente Sviluppo Agricolo - Dipartimento Regionale Azienda Foreste Demaniali, Regione Siciliana, Via Libertà 97, Palermo, Italia.
[5] Comparative analysis of medicinal plants used in traditional medicine in Italy and Tunisia Maria Lucia Leporatti1 and Kamel Ghedira
[6] Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-To-Use A-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies by Phyllis A. Balch, pag. 87.