Table of Contents

Bishop’s Weed

It is an annually and biannually growing plant. It is found in fields and sandy areas like beaches near sea banks etc. This plant is native of western Africa and south East Asia.

Scientific Name: Ammi visnaga

Common Names:

  • Visnaga.
  • Khella.
  • Bishop's Weed.


  • Ammi dilatatum.
  • Apium visnaga.
  • Carum visnaga.
  • Daucus visnaga.

Family Name: A. visanga belongs to the family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae.

Medicinal Uses

All of its medicinal effects are systemic and are achieved by oral administration. The side effects are mostly never seen. It is safe to use even in children and old people. Its safety profile has been established. And it is finding more and more use in geriatric medicine now. The pharmacologically active agent is khellin.

  • It is a known anti arrhythmic agent and used for treatment of cardiac dysrhythmias like Atrial Fibrillation, flutter and many more. Its actions are similar to class I antiarrythmics. It alters the current at sodium pumps in Sino Atrial node in the heart. Unlike other anti-arrythimics, it doesn’t lead to development of new arrhythmias. It is given orally. Time for onset is a little prolonged but its safety profile merits its use if the patient is relatively stable.
  • It has an excellent bronchodilator effect for which it can be used for management of acute attacks of asthma as well as for the long term management of asthma. The asthmatics have usually a good compliance with it. For long term, it can either be taken in oral form or it can be inhaled with steam. Both modes of administration have similar results. It also decreases bronchial secretions and has a healing effect for reparatory passage.
  • It is an antispasmodic. It is used for treating:

a. Biliary colic

b. Renal colic

c. Intestinal colic

d. Reliving sudden muscles spasms

e. Treatment of Risus Sardonicus in tetanus patients

  • It has a diuretic effect due to which it can be used in

f. Hypertension (for lowering BP)

g. Heart failure and other fluid overload states

h. Liver failure (for prevention of ascities)

  • It is an excellent anti diarrheal agent. When given with some liquids, it reduces the frequency of diarrheal stools. It also changes the stool consistency gradually shifting it to a solid one from liquid state. It is being used to treat

i. Inflammatory bowel diseases

j. Dysentery

k. Infectious diarrheas

l. Diarrhea secondary to drugs

m. Diarrhea in hyperthyroidism

  • It is one of the few plants known to humans that can remove kidney stones without surgical intervention. Kidney stones as large as 5-7mm have been reported removed with regular use of this plant’s extract.

Moreover, it prevents further formation of stones. Both these effects are achieved through its diuretic actions which causes rapid clearance of water and other substances from nephrons. It is also a vasodilator. This effect has been used to salvage ischemic limbs (as in diabetic foot etc), in treatment of burger’s disease and in hypertension to lower BP.

Category: Medicine

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