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Khella Essential Oil

Ammi visnaga

Average Rating:5 out of 5 Stars! (see reviews)

Essential Facts

Notes & Use

What Stillpoint "Nose"

Khella is not a well known essential oil in aromatherapy, especially popular aromatherapy.  There is not much information in popular aromatherapy books and seldomly mentioned in Aromatherapy programs.  This may be due to the fact that much of the research has been completed using tinctures and other extractions of the plant, but specifically not the essential oil.  The essential oils are found in different organs of the plant, however mainly in the umbels and the fruit.  The percentage of the main constituents yielded in the essential oil is dependent on two things; the developmental stage of maturity of the plant as well as the plant part.  
In a study by Iraj Rasooli, it was found that A. visnaga  possessed antimicrobial activity and also the ability to neutralize free radicals and prevent unsaturated fatty acid oxidation. This study also indicated that A. visnaga essential oil was very effective against E. coli bacteria.  Khalfallah also found that Ammi visnaga essential oil  possessed antibacterial qualities against several microorganisms. The best antibacterial activity was obtained against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumoniae strains. (Khalfallah, 2011).  Klebsiella, in particular strains of the species K. pneumonia can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and bacteremia (presence of blood in the bloodstreamThis indicates that A. visnaga can be very beneficial when treating pneumonia and other respiratory maladies.  Khella may also be a very good addition to any formulation particularly combined with tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Sandalwood (Santalum album) to fight UTI (Urinary tract infection).
I have used A. visnaga essential oil in many respiratory blends and has found it to be a very powerful bronchial antispasmodic. I believe in part this is due to the presence of esters.  Esters are generally antispasmodic, so when inhaled a relaxing to the bronchial tubes and are very effective when spastic coughing is occurring. (Buckle, 2015) I have found Khella to be very effective for respiratory distress especially with asthmatics.  The traditional oils containing the oxide, 1.8 cineole, i.e.  Eucalyptus radiata, Helichrysum gymnochephalum, Cinnamomum campohora (Ravintsara) and Rosmarinus offcinalis ct cineole or camphor can be irritating and actually initiate an asthma attack. It appears that inhalation of Khella, relaxes bronchial spasms while also dilating the bronchial tubes.
One example illustrating this stands out in my mind.  After teaching the segment on oxides during my Aromatherapy Certification, a student formulated an inhaler to help her with breathing as she suffered from asthma, using oils rich in the oxide, 1,8 cineole. She reported that initially after inhaling the oxide rich formula had a restrictive effect on her breathing.   She then formulated an inhaler (the recipe is below) with A.visnaga, Chamaemelum nobile, Citrus bergamia, and inula graveolens.  She reported that after using the inhaler she felt her “lungs opening” and a soothing feeling when breathing.  She later informed me that she was able to slightly reduce her use of her prescription inhaler during asthma attacks.
When dealing with issues of Cold and FLU or any kind of respiratory distress, Khella is a very valuable part of the formulation.  Khella combined with oils such as Thymus vulgairs ct thymol (phenolic and anti-infectious properties), Lavandula angustifolia (anti tussive property) and Eucalyptus dives (ketone species of eucalyptus for mucus) may offer great relief.
It is important to note ( as mentioned above) that Khellin, an active component in the plant and herbal preparation, is not found in the distilled essential oil. Khellin is extracted from the seeds of the plant Ammi visnaga  and has been used medicinally for multiple issues such as a diuretic to relieve renal colic, kidney stones, a treatment of angina pectoris,  asthma, and treatment of vitiligo.  (Kilicaslan, 2012)
It also appears  that Khella may have a very important role in treating type 1 hypersensitivity reactions as a mast cell stabilizers.  Mast cell mediators are implicated in many different conditions including allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma, psoriasis, mastocytosis and the progression of many different cancers (Zhang, 2015), so there is great interest in a substance that can prevent mast cell mediator release.
What I find to be of interest is that Khella essential oil has (anecdotally) been shown to be an effective addition to formulations to ease allergies despite the absence of the component Kheliin.  The author has used Khella in conjunction with Blue Tansy (Tanacetum annuum) and Helichrysum italicum  with clients to help with seasonal respiratory allergies as well as topical allergic dermatitis.  This is yet another example that there is much more to the essential oil than their individual components.  The author strongly believes that there is an alchemical synergy that occurs in essential oils that can not be dissected into its parts.

Traditional Use of Khella

Uses of A. visnaga dates back to 1546-1526 BC as documented in Eber’s papyrus.  It is one of the oldest herbs originating from the Nile Delta.
Dioscorides  (40-90 AD) who was a  Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist used the word Ammi to describe that plant. Ammi is derived from the Greek work Ammos meaning sand. (Khella thrives in sandy soil).  Visnaga is a general term and it is believed that it came from the term “bis actum” which means doubly pointed. (Alam, 2018)
Khella was used to treat urinary calculi and bladder stones in Egyptian Folk medicine. Today, you can still find the dried umbels of Khella in Middle Eastern an Far Eastern markets. The dried stems of the plant are used as toothpicks, hence the names “Toothpick plant and Toothpick Ammi) (Alam, 2018)
According to Loniceras, Ammi was a hot, dry plant and could therefore be used for “cold afflictions”, claiming its effectiveness: “against irritable stomachs and for the womb; it stimulates urine and women’s cycles (menstruation).” The seeds of this plant were at one time used to treat what was referred to as “cold afflictions” such as sterility, convulsions in the urethra and kidney stones.   (Alam, 2018)  Khella was also used in treating vertigo and diabetes as well as headaches. (Khallil, 2020)


Ammi visnaga is an annual or biennial herbaceous folk plant.  An annual is a plant that completes its life cycle from germination to the production of seeds within one growing season and then dies. A biennial is a plant that takes two years to complete its life cycle , while an annual completes its life cycle in one year. The first year biennials  germinate and grow, live throughout  one winter, and in the second year continue to grow more, blooms  and then finally dies.
It can grow to a height of about 2’7” (0.8m) and a width of 1’4” (0.4m). A.visnaga flowers from July through September. This plant is self-fertile (self-pollinating) having both male and female organs known as a hermaphrodite and is pollinated by insects.  

Apiaceae ⁄ Umbelliferae which is also known as the “Carrot family”. This botanical family consists of approximately 434 genera and about 3,700 species. Its members are often aromatic and are characterized by hollow stems, taproots, and flat-topped flower clusters known as umbels, hence umbelliferae. Plants in this family are usually herbs with leaves that alternate with sheathing bases and the internodes are usually hollow  They are aromatic with ethereal oils, terpenoids, saponins and other compounds. Khella shares this family with  carrot (Daucus carota), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), and parsley (Petroselinum cripsum) to name a few


Energetic, Spiritual, and Emotional Qualities of Khella


While a specific essential oil may have applications for many of the chakras, depending on the malady or issue at hand, I have found that Khella essential oil supports the 2nd , 3rd and 4th Chakras in particular.
In my extensive training and experience in Energetic Medicine and subtle aromatherapy the second Chakra deals with multiple subject areas.  It has to do with creation energy, relationships, immune system and sexual energy.  This chakra is connected to our need for relationships with other people (not just sexual) and our need to have some control over the dynamics of our physical environment. It is here in the energy of the second chakra that our attention shifts from obeying tribal authority to other relationships that satisfy personal and physical needs. (Myss, 2017).  Clients have reported that their relationships on the emotional level that were experiencing turbulence seemed to “smooth out” after using an aromastick (nasal inhaler) with only Khella three times a day for a period of 10 days.  
The third chakra deals with primarily our Personal Power and using it in a balanced way. This chakra assists in the process of individuation, of forming a "Self", ego, and personality different from our inherited identity. It also deals with the development of self-esteem, dream time and distributing energy throughout the body. This chakra is known as the Solar Plexus Chakra or Manipura and mediates between the external and the internalization of consciousness. (Myss, 2017)
When  Khella essential oil has been used in formulations or applied to this chakra, clients have reported a sense strength and power in their decision making as well as “feeling better” about themselves. Using Khella via inhalation produced a reduction in anxiety, the ability to deal better with stress, and reach a bit of clarity in viewing the situation.
Lastly, the Fourth Chakra primarily deals with the self, how we love ourselves and how we love our God.  The 4th chakra in basically the central powerhouse of human energy system.  This is the middle chakra and it mediates the body and the spirit. This is the chakra that holds the spiritual lesson that teaches us how to act out of unconditional love and compassion towards ourselves and others. This chakra is also known as the Heart Chakra or Anahata and deals with unconditional love for self and whatever the divine is to each of us. This is where we hold our Divine identity. (Myss, 2017)  What I find to be so interesting is that the respiratory system and circulatory systems correspond to this center and Khella has been used for both of these.
Khella is distilled from the seeds (dried fruit) of the A. visnaga plant.  Seeds are defined as the grains or ripened ovules of plants used for sowing the fertilized ripened ovule of a flowering plant containing an embryo and capable normally of germination to produce a new plant.  The function of seeds are nourishment of the embryo, dispersal to a new location, dormancy during unfavorable conditions and protective: seed pods insure the seed has potential for life by protecting it (Stillpoint, 2020)
It is beneficial to use seed oils like Khella in formulations to assist with the following:
·      Process information and different energies
·      Protect and nurture new ideas
·      Move forward and break through blockages
·      Digest experiences both good and challenging
·      Relocate either physically and/or emotionally
·      Nurture and release creation energy
·      Needing or choosing a new beginning
·      Transformation energy for physical, mental, emotional or spiritual challenges
·      Manifestation (Musacchio, 2020)

Aroma-Chemistry of Khella

Chemical Composition:
Main components are Esters at approximately 48 percent, Monoterpenols and Monoterpenes with the primary constituents being
  •  isoamyl 2-methylbutyrate
  • isoamyl isobutyrate
  • iso-butyl-2-methylbutyrate
  • 2-methylbutyl 2-methylbutyrate
  • 2-methylbutyl isobutyrate
  • isoamyl isovalerate
  • monoterpenols - linalool predominantly
  • monoterpenes – various
Recipes & Blends

Recipes and Blends

Congestion crème (approximately 4% dilution)
1 ounce/30 ml Unscented lotion
6 drops Khella (Ammi visnaga)
4 drops Sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata)
6 drops Lavender, Spike (Lavandula latifolia)  
3 drops Inula (Inula graveolens)
4 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
Easy Breathing inhaler
(Found to be very effective for asthma)
35%  Khellla (Ammi visnaga)
20 % Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia)
25%  Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
20%  Inula (Inula graveolens)
5%    Hyssop (Hyssop decumbens)
Combine the essential oils in a small non-reactive bowl. Place the wick of a blank inhaler (aromastick) in the bowl to absorb the essential oils. Place the wick in the inhaler tube and tightly cap at the bottom. Replace the cover and screw tightly to close.
Safety Etc.

Safety Information for Khella

Khella is considered to be a safe oil with no known hazards. However, it may be phototoxic. (Tisserand and Young, 2014). 


Abdul-Jalil T.Z., Saour K., Nasser A.A. Phytochemical Study of some Flavonoids Present in the Fruits of Two Ammi L. Species Wildly Grown in Iraq. Iraqi J. Pharma. Sci. 2010;19:48–57
Alam, Shah & Anjum, Nighat & Akhtar, Jamal & Bashir, Fouzia. (2018). PHARMACOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS ON KHELLA-(AMMI VISNAGA L.). World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. 7. 212-224. 10.20959/wjpr201813-12702.
Batanouny K.H. Wild Medicinal Plants in Egypt: An Inventory to Support Conservation and Sustainable Use. Acad. of Scientific Research & Technology; Cairo, Egypt: 2001.
Battaglia S. (2003). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Brisbane: International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy.
Buckle, Jane, Jane Buckle, and Jane Buckle.  Clinical Aromatherapy Essential Oils in Healthcare. Elsevier, 2015. 37-72. Print.
Graves, Julia. The Language of Plants: A Guide to the Doctrine of Signatures. Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne, 2012. Print.
Haug KG, Weber B, Hochhaus G, Butterweck V. Pharmacokinetic evaluation of visnagin and Ammi visnaga aqueous extract after oral administration in rats. Planta Med. 2012 Nov;78(17):1831-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1315393. Epub 2012 Oct 24. Erratum in: Planta Med. 2013 Mar;79(3-4):312. PMID: 23096256.
Khadhri, Ayda & El Mokni, Ridha & Mguis, Khaled & Araújo, Maria Eduarda. (2011). Variability of two essential oils of Ammi visnaga (L.) Lam. a traditional Tunisian medicinal plant. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. Vol. 5. 5079-5082.
Khalfallah, Assia & Amira, Labed & Kabouche, Ahmed & Semra, Z. & Kaki, Bara & Touzani, Rachid & Kabouche, Zahia. (2011). Antibacterial activity and chemical composition of the essential oil of Ammi visnaga L. (Apiaceae) from Constantine, Algeria. International Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. 1.
Kilicaslan I, Coskun S. Spontaneous stone passage: is it Ammi visnaga effect? Urol Res. 2012 Dec;40(6):799-800. doi: 10.1007/s00240-012-0509-8. Epub 2012 Sep 19. PMID: 22990409
Musacchio, Virginia J. "Plant Parts." Stillpoint Aromatics. Web. 26 Oct. 2020.
Koriem KMM, Arbid MS, El-Attar MA. Acute and subacute toxicity of Ammi visnaga on rats. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2019 Sep;12(1):26-35. doi: 10.2478/intox-2019-0004. Epub 2020 Feb 20. PMID: 32189984; PMCID: PMC7061450.
Myss, Caroline. Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing. New York: Harmony, 2017. Print.
Ram, J., Arun Sethi, Mahendra Nath, & Ramendra Pratap. (2019). The chemistry of heterocycles : chemistry of six to eight membered N, O, S, P and Se heterocycles. Elsevier
Rasooli, Iraj. (2007)  Phytobiological properties of Ammi visnaga L. and Lavandula angustifolia Mill. Essential oils
Tisserand, R., Young, R., & Williamson, E. M. (2014). Essential oil safety : a guide for health care professionals. Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, Cop.
Vanachayangkul P, Byer K, Khan S, Butterweck V. An aqueous extract of Ammi visnaga fruits and its constituents khellin and visnagin prevent cell damage caused by oxalate in renal epithelial cells. Phytomedicine. 2010 Jul;17(8-9):653-8. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2009.10.011. Epub 2009 Dec 29. PMID: 20036111; PMCID: PMC3618668.
Woodward E.F. Botanical Drugs: A Brief Review of the Industry with Comments on Recent Developments. Econ. Bot. 1947;1:402–414. doi: 10.1007/BF02858903
Zhang T, Finn DF, Barlow JW, Walsh JJ. Mast cell stabilisers. Eur J Pharmacol. 2016 May 5;778:158-68. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2015.05.071. Epub 2015 Jun 27. PMID: 26130122.


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