The medicinal usage of visnaga dates back to ancient Egypt and it even finds mention in the Ebers papyrus (c. 1500 BC). Over the ages, the visnaga's fruit extracts have been used to cure kidney stones, and even to this day Egyptian herbal medicine practitioners use the visnaga to alleviate pains caused by kidney stones. Visnaga helps to reduce the pain caused by the stones trapped in kidney by loosening up the ureter muscles. This way, it helps the locked stone in the kidney to ease down into the urinary bladder. Researches have established that visnaga possesses anti-spasmodic features. Therefore, it is widely used to heal asthma and is also considered to be safe medication even for children. Even though visnaga is not always effective in healing severe bouts of asthma, it is certainly beneficial in averting the recurrence of the ailment. Visnaga is also an efficient medication for different respiratory ailments and is helpful in curing bronchitis, emphysema, and whooping cough. Visnaga efficiently improves the blood supply to the heart muscles and relieves patients of angina by soothing the coronary arteries. However, contrary to some common belief, visnaga does not help in lowering the blood pressure. On the other hand, researchers in Andalusia, Spain have used the best quality of visnaga to cleanse teeth and the results were said to be excellent. When people were asked to assess the value of the herb, they reportedly remarked "Oro, plata, visnaga o nada!" (This means, 'gold, silver, visnaga or nothing!').
Although it is indigenous to northern Africa, visnaga grows naturally as well as profusely in the Middle East and around the Mediterranean Sea region. In due course, visnaga has been naturally grown in both Australia and South America, where the plant is cultivated extensively. Visnaga grows from seeds and normally the fruits bearing the seeds are collected in late summer before they mature completely.
Scientific researches, as well as clinical examinations conducted by pharmacologists functioning in Egypt in 1946, have discovered that visnaga, especially its extracts like khellin and visnagin, have multiple medicinal properties and are helpful in healing a number of ailments. Both khellin and visnagin are said to possess effective anti-spasmodic properties and act efficiently on minor bronchial muscles and coronary arteries that carry blood to the heart as well as the urinary tubules. Visnaga can loosen up the small bronchi for as many as six hours. The best part of the herbal medicine visnaga is that it virtually has no adverse side effects. Particularly, khellin contained in visnaga fruits is of great significance as intal, a common conventional medicine used to treat asthma, and is chemically obtained from this herbal extract.