Other Names: Herb of grace; rue (French); Weinraute (German); ruta (Italian); ruda común (Spanish).
Description: Rue is a woody, strongly aromatic, perennial shrub (about 1 m), bearing irregularly divided, compound leaves covered with minute, translucent glands, clusters of small yellow flowers and four-lobed fruit capsules. The Mediterranean Aleppo rue (R. chalepensis) is traditionally used in a similar way.
Origin: Southern Europe; commonly cultivated in many parts of the world.
Parts Used: Dried leaves (Rutae folium) or dried, aboveground parts (Rutae herba).
Therapeutic Category: Traditional tonic.
Uses and Properties: Rue is traditionally used to help support a very wide range of ailments, including menstrual disorders, spasms, loss of appetite, dyspeptic complaints, circulatory disorders, fever, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, inflamed mucosa, toothache, hysteria, joint pain, sprains, injuries and skin problems. It can be been used as a uterine stimulant and for inducing abortion - a dangerous practice that has led to fatalities. Rue was formerly used to improve and stabiise wine of bad quality.
Preparation and Dosage: Extreme care should be taken because rue can cause severe photodermatitis. It is toxic and abortive if taken in high doses. Bruised leaves may be placed on a tooth and in the ears to alleviate pain.
Active Ingredients: A large number of chemical compounds are known from R. graveolens. Examples of interest are the coumarins (coumarin, herniarin, gravelliferon, rutaretin), furanocoumarins (bergapten, psoralen, rutamarin), furanoquinoline alkaloids (dictamnine, skimmianine, rutacridone and various derivatives) and the flavonoid rutin (5%). Methylnonyl ketone (2-undecanone) is a major component of the volatile oil and can be used in perfumery and flavourings.
Health Effects: Reported antimicrobial, antispasmodic, anti-exudative, analgesic and ion channel inhibiting activities are probably due to furanocoumarin and furanoquinoline alkaloids. Rutin is a well-known capillary protectant, and can be used together with coumarins as a supplementary product for chronic venous diseases.
Status: Traditional health; Pharm. (now obsolete).
Health-wise,rue has been tried for its diaphoretic, antispasmodic, emmenagogic, stimulant, and mild sedative properties. Rue may also be an anaphrodisiac and an abortificant. Rue has been used to expel worms, to break fevers and colds, support toothache, and as an antidote for insect and snake bites.
The plant contains numerous alkaloids, bergapten - a coumarin - and rutin (vitamin P). The oil contains methyl-n-nonyl ketone as its main component, which is a base for perfume chemicals. Rue oil supports spasms in smooth muscles and is an effective worm expellant. Rutin decreases capillary permeability and fragility and studies with X-rays in mice have shown it to be protective against irradiation.
General Plant Information
Rue is a beautiful, lacy, herbaceous perennial with a woody base. Native to the Mediterranean, it grows to a height of three feet. The finely divided fern-like leaves distinguish the plant, earning it the name "herb of grace?" The leaves are in alternate arrangement on the stems. The dissected leaf segments are oblong or spatular shaped, up to one-half inch long, smooth, glaucous, bluish-green, and dotted with oil glands.
The comb-like inflorescence of yellow-green flowers appears from late spring to autumn. The one-half inch diameter, five-parted corolla surrounds a green center, appearing on close examination to be similar to citrus fruit skin. Citrus fruits are in the rue family. 'Variegata' has creamy white mottled leaves. 'Jackman Blue' has a dense compact growth and blue foliage.
Propagate by stem cuttings or root division in spring or plant by seed. Seed germinates readily and self-sows freely. In southern regions where plants may become several feet wide, give seedlings two foot spacings. In the North, space plants at one-foot intervals.
Rue is not particular about soil conditions. A poor, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.8 to 8 will suit rue. Full sun is preferable. Some gardeners must approach this plant with caution as the juice can cause a rather unpleasant dermatitis with irritating burning, reddening, and blistering. The condition looks much like poison ivy rash.
Gather the herb before it flowers. Rue's culinary use is limited. The leaves can be used very sparingly in salads and have been used in pickles. Rue has a bitter flavor suggestive of black pepper. Since the time of Greek naturalist, Dioscorides, (first century AD.) it has been known that internal consumption of rue may be dangerous to pregnant women.
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Take 1 capsule, 3 times daily, with meals.
Furanocoumarins and related alkaloids are mutagenic and should be avoided during pregnancy.
End of More Photographs - Rue (Ruta Graveolens) - 450 mg
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."