Category: Medicines - plant based



Introduction and description


Ammi visnaga is a species of flowering plant in the carrot family known by many common names, including bisnaga, toothpickweed, and khella.

It is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but it can be found throughout the world as an introduced species.



Ammi visnaga is an annual or biennial herb growing from a taproot erect to a maximum height near 80 centimeters.

 Leaves are up to 20 centimeters long and generally oval to triangular in shape but dissected into many small linear to lance-shaped segments.

The inflorescence is a compound umbel of white flowers similar to those of other Apiaceae species.

The fruit is a compressed oval-shaped body less than 3 millimeters long.

Medicinal uses


In Egypt, a tea made from the fruit of this species has been used as an herbal remedy for kidney stones. Laborarory rat studies show that the extract slows the buildup of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys and acts as a diuretic and indeed this and other Ammi species are sources of khellin, a diuretic extract. 

Visnaga is also used in Indian homepathy, for example:

Homeopathy – mother tinctures

  • Externally used for vitiligo - Externally applied on the white spots (with cotton) in the morning and the parts exposed to sun light for few minutes
  • Has a powerful antispasmodic action on bronchial muscles and arteries; thereby used as anti-asthma drug
  • Alleviates pain due to kidney stones

Doses: 10-20 drops, 2-3 times a day depending on the case.

The observations provide more information on the medicinal uses.

References and further reading

    Vanachayangkul, P., et al. (2010). An aqueous extract of Ammi visnaga fruits and its constituents khellin and visnagin prevent cell damage caused by oxalate in renal epithelial cells. Phytomedicine 17(8), 653-58. .
  • Lee, J. K., et al. Anti-inflammatory effect of visnagin in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated BV-2 microglial cells. Archives of Pharmacal Research 33(11) 1843–50. PMID 21116788.
  • Khan, Z. A., et al. (2001). Inhibition of oxalate nephrolithiasis with Ammi visnaga (AI-Khillah). International Urology and Nephrology 33:4 605-8.






Related observations