Peganum harmala is a plant of the family Nitrariaceae. Its common English-language name came about because of a resemblance to rue (which is not related).
In Turkey, dried capsules from this plant are strung and hung in homes or vehicles to protect against “the evil eye”. It is widely used for protection against Djinn in Morocco.
In Iran, and some countries in the Arab world such as, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Jordan , dried capsules mixed with other ingredients are placed onto red hot charcoal, where they explode with little popping noises in a way similar to American popcorn. When they burst a fragrant smoke is released. This smoke is wafted around the head of those afflicted by or exposed to the gaze of strangers while a specific prayer is recited. This tradition is still followed by members of many religions, including Christians, Muslims, and some Jews. In several versions of the prayer accompanying the ritual, the name of an ancient Zoroastrian Persian king, called Naqshaband, is used. He is said to have first learned the prayer from five protective female spirits, called Yazds.
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