Peganum harmala seed extract has been frequently reported to possess antibacterial potential through in vivo studies. P. harmala L. (Zygophyllaceae) is one of the most famous medicinal plants used in traditional medicine of Iraq. The harmaline, harmalol and harmine exerted many pharmacodynemic effects on the central nervous system: stimulation and depression depending on the dose. P. harmala indicates a great variety of pharmacological activities such as antimicrobial, antitumor, antinociceptive and monoamine oxidase (MNO) inhibitory activities. The most important components of P. harmala seeds are harmaline, vasicinone and deoxyrsinone. The antibacterial effect of P. harmala was studied. The antibacterial activity of aqueous extracts was determined by agar well diffusion method. It inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. All animals injected with 100 mg/kg b. w of aqueous extract of P. harmala show myorelaxation or incoordination; so the animals dropped down from the wire 3 consecutive times i n 60 s. Aqueous extract of P. harmala also induced muscle relaxation and prolonged the sleeping time induced by pentoparpitol. These data suggest that P. harmala extract could inhibit the growth of S. aureus and E. coli strain in vitro and this activity may contribute to its chemopreventive effect.
Key words: Antibacterial, muscle relaxant, hypnotic, Peganum harmala.
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