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Anyone who has ever delved into plant-based mind-altering substances is surely familiar with magic mushrooms, magic truffles and Hawaiian Baby Woodrose. Syrian rue is not yet so well known. This is a herbaceous plant that grows in deserts on saline soils. The little plant has interesting mind-altering effects. In this blog, we explain what Syrian rue actually is and its most common effects.

What is Syrian rue?

In the Middle East and North Africa, Syrian rue is a well-known plant. Even today, the seeds are used for their mind-altering effects, which are caused by harmala alkaloids. Often, Syrian rue (also known as Syrian rue) is used together with other psychoactive plants, as it can enhance their effects.

Already in ancient times, the herb was used as a hallucinogenic medicine. Several ancient Persian texts mention a ritual drink called Soma. This is said to contain a sacred plant, but it is still not known which one. It could well be Syrian rue. However, the plant was also used in rituals as a kind of incense, with the smoke believed to ward off mischief. In Turkey and Morocco, they dry the plant, after which it is hung up with the aim of warding off the evil eye.

Syrian rue grows on dry, poor soil, especially in desert areas and the dry Mediterranean. The plant grows thin stems and leaves and forms small, star-shaped white flowers. This unassuming plant is more robust than you think. It forms a long, woody rhizome underground, which can grow up to 6 metres deep. For medicinal purposes, people used the leaves and stems. As for psychoactive compounds, it's the seeds that you need. These contain harmine and harmaline, which are two powerful alkaloids.

The characteristics of a trip with Syrian rue

There are all kinds of different substances you can trip with, such as magic mushrooms, truffles, LSA and Yopo. Each causes their own unique trip. What stands out about tripping with Syrian rue is its dreamlike nature. You may feel like you are asleep, while still being awake. Your body may feel heavy and it seems like you can only move with great difficulty. You may start hearing voices, coming from outside yourself, telling you what you hear and see. Intense visual hallucinations also occur.

What you should also consider are the physical effects. Syrian rue is known to cause diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. These additional effects are known as "purging", which is seen as a kind of cleansing of the body and mind. So while it is no fun to go through this, you may feel cleaner, lighter and relieved afterwards. The nausea can be relatively short-lived (half an hour to a full hour), but for some, it lasts longer.

What you can do about nausea

Does the idea of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea stop you from taking Syrian rue? Fortunately, you can try to do something about this.

  • Combine Syrian rue with a herb or plant that fights nausea. Think mint or ginger. Cannabis can also help with nausea, but bear in mind that this plant also has psychoactive properties and can therefore affect the trip.
  • You can use CBD oil or capsules against nausea.
  • Before using Syrian rue, eat only a light meal and make sure you don't eat anything for a few hours before you start tripping. An empty stomach can help well against nausea.

The properties of Syrian rue: MAO inhibitor

What makes Syrian rue, so special is that it is an MAO inhibitor. MAO stands for monoamine oxidase. This is an enzyme that plays an important role in the body. One of its tasks is to break down certain body substances, such as noradrenaline, serotonin and adrenaline. Furthermore, it also ensures that certain substances, such as tyramine, are rendered harmless. Tyramine is found, for instance, in dark chocolate and fermented products.

The other side of the MAO inhibitor is that it has the property of enhancing the effects of psychedelic substances. Combining Syrian rue with another mind-altering substance can make the trip much more intense. A good example that takes advantage of this property is the drink Ayahuasca. In it, an MAO inhibitor (Banisteriopsis caapi) is combined with a plant containing DMT. The MAO inhibitor makes DMT less likely to be broken down by enzymes, making the effects more intense and longer lasting.

Syrian rue also works that way. The seeds of this plant are liked by psychonauts to be combined with mushrooms and truffles, for instance. This too makes a trip much more intense than you are normally used to, because psilocybin cannot be broken down as quickly.

Conscious use of entheogens

If you are thinking of tripping with Syrian rue, be sure to take its properties into account. If you have no previous experience with tripping, Syrian rue may not be a convenient first choice. Choose something that is easier to use and has no nasty side effects. Think magic mushrooms or truffles. Be very careful when combining substances, a trip with multiple substances can be much more intense and last longer.

Also, be careful what you eat before and after a trip. Avoid products with tyramine, such as nuts, cheese, wine and chocolate. These are, just a few examples, there are many other products that contain this substance. If you take medications, such as antidepressants, do not use Syrian rue. Inform yourself well and keep an eye on your own safety.