Harman2, Airbin2, Airbine2, Locturine2, Loturine2, Passiflorin2

Harmane is a tricyclic eukaryotic alkaloid metabolite in the family of ß-carboline alkaloids (BCAs).1,2 BCAs are found primarily in cooked animal protein such as chicken, beef, pork, and fish.3-4 It was recently isolated from several species of psychedelic mushrooms.5 Like other chemicals in the BCA family, harmane is highly neurotoxic.6 High levels in the blood are associated with essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease.7 Harmane is also a potent inhibitor of the enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MOA-A).8 It is an antiviral agent that destroys or inhibits replication of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).9


  1. Louis ED, Zheng W, Applegate L, Shi L, Factor-Litvak P. Blood harmane concentrations and dietary protein consumption in essential tremor. Neurology. 2005;65(3):391-396. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000172352.88359.2d
  2. Harman (CHEBI:5623). ChEBI - Chemical Entities of Biological Interest. https://www.ebi.ac.uk/chebi/searchId.do?chebiId=CHEBI:5623.
  3. Gross GA, Turesky RJ, Fay LB, Stillwell WG, Skipper PL, Tannenbaum SR. Heterocyclic aromatic amine formation in grilled bacon, beef and fish and in grill scrapings. Carcinogenesis. 1993;14(11):2313-2318. doi:10.1093/carcin/14.11.2313
  4. Layton DW, Bogen KT, Knize MG, Hatch FT, Johnson VM, Felton JS. Cancer risk of heterocyclic amines in cooked foods: an analysis and implications for research. Carcinogenesis. 1995;16(1):39-52. doi:10.1093/carcin/16.1.39
  5. Blei F, Dörner S, Fricke J, et al. Simultaneous Production of Psilocybin and a Cocktail of β-Carboline Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors in “Magic” Mushrooms. Chemistry – A European Journal. 2019. doi:10.1002/chem.201904363
  6. Rommelspacher H, May T, Salewski B. Harman (1-methyl-β-carboline) is a natural inhibitor of monoamine oxidase type A in rats. European Journal of Pharmacology. 1994;252(1):51-59. doi:10.1016/0014-2999(94)90574-6
  7. Louis ED, Zheng W, Jurewicz EC, et al. Elevation of blood β-carboline alkaloids in essential tremor. Neurology. 2002;59(12):1940-1944. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4992345/.
  8. Herraiz T, Chaparro C. Human monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibition by coffee and β-carbolines norharman and harman isolated from coffee. Life Sciences. 2006;78(8):795-802. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2005.05.074
  9. Ishida J, Wang HK, Oyama M, Cosentino ML, Hu CQ, Lee KH. Anti-AIDS agents. 46. Anti-HIV activity of harman, an anti-HIV principle from Symplocos setchuensis, and its derivatives. J Nat Prod. 2001;64(7):958-960. doi:10.1021/np0101189