Izband or Harmala in English and Harmal in Hindi popularly known as Wild Rue is a small shrub which is widespread in the subtropical regions of India, abundant in Kashmir and Ladakh. Harmala Seeds or Izband have been used since ancient times in the cultural and religious rites worldwide. According to folklore Izband smoke wards off the evil eye.Traditionally Izband seeds are placed on red hot charcoal and in Kangri, wherein they explode with small popping noise releasing a fragrant smoke. This tradition is still followed in Kashmir and in some other parts of the world believing to ward off the evil. Izband is used in every special occasion in Kashmir, be it a wedding, a happy festive gathering or a housewarming party, the fragrance of the smoke fills the ambience to kill off all the evil that there might be. Besides these cultural uses, Izband is also used to obtain a red dye that is then used to color carpets and wool.
Izband is known to treat depression. Izband is known to have anti-bacterial properties. Smoke from the izband seeds kills algae, bacteria, intestinal parasites and molds. Izband is also effective in curing insomnia. Izband is useful for treating irregular fevers. It can cure persistent malaria but it is not so effective in acute cases.