Throughout the history of Islamic Iran to the present day, Peganum Harmala - Syrian Rue, has been chiefly esteemed for its apotropiac power or power to avert evil, and is the chief plant regarded as having such power today. Allusions to its use in the very earliest of what is known as New Persian literature shows that this practice was a very clear continuation of Pre-Islamic beliefs and traditions regarding the plant’s supernatural qualities. In particular, the burning of the Peganum Harmala seeds is mentioned quite frequently in classical Persian literature and is found in the works of Nasir-i Kushraw, Attar, Khaqani, Sadi, Jami and many less famous writers and is still practiced to this day throughout Iran.
Many modern day cases for the present day burning of the Peganum harmala seeds are accompanied by the recitation of formulated verses whose content reveals the essential attitude shown towered the plant. This verse asserts that the use of Peganum Harmala, also known in Iran as Esphand is sanctioned by the most revered sources of religious authority in Islamic Iran.
Throughout the Islamic world, the burning of the seeds is believed to cast away evil spirits and bad energies. Wherever there is suspicion of the evil eye, Esphand is said to cleanse the evil spirits, protect the household, and ward off evil.