?About the Plant?
Ruta graveolens, also known as common rue, garden rue, or herb-of-grace, is an evergreen flowering shrub native to Mediterranean Europe. It is now common in many parts of the United States, especially in the Northeast. The plant grows in sprigs of rounded blue-green leaves with small yellow blooms. The second part of the name, graveolens, comes from the Latin word for “strong smelling,” and refers to the pungent bitter smell of the herb.
Chewing a fresh leaf of rue is reported to ease headaches, light-headedness, and hysteria. It also has antispasmodic properties, which means it can be used to suppress muscle spasms and cramping, and it reduces stomach pain and gas.
?Fresh rue may be applied directly to cuts, sprains, or sore joints (especially the knees and ankles) for temporary relief. It also eases headaches when applied to the temples.?
In ancient Greece, rue was propagated as an abortifacient (medicine to induce an abortion). The herb contains pilocartine, a chemical that stimulates the uterine muscles and causes cramping. It was widely used as a home remedy for regulating menstruation and inducing abortions well into the 19th century, and is still in use today among some traditional cultures. Rue is also used to induce abortions in animals, particularly horses.
?Although fresh rue is stronger, powdered or dried rue may be substituted and used to make a tisane that treats menstrual problems. To make rue tea, bring to the boil enough water to fill a teacup, then add 1 tablespoon powdered rue and allow to steep 2 to 3 minutes, then strain out leaves.??
Rue may be used as a kitchen herb. However, it is no longer common in Western cooking due to its bitter taste. It is sometimes used as a flavoring in Middle Eastern cuisines. The fruits of rue are almost never used in cooking due to their unpleasant bitterness. To prepare rue for cooking, strip the leaves from the stalk, discarding the flowers and fruit. Wash the leaves well and chop them before adding to food.??
The smell of rue deters many animals, especially feral cats and dogs, and even some insects. Incorporating rue into gardens or hedges keeps pests out.? Rue is also used as a fragrance in soap making and some cosmetics.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not ingest any form of rue. Rue is highly toxic to children in the womb and to infants.?The sap of rue may cause rash or blistering of the skin when exposed to sunlight.?
Rue is poisonous in large quantities and can cause violent stomach upset if too much is ingested. Some people may be allergic. Use the smallest effective dose when taking medicinally, and avoid eating if you experience nausea or stomach cramps.