Rue, Garden Ruta graveolens (Herb of Grace; Herbygrass)
Rue was used to help support headaches, strained eyes, colic, indigestion, flatulence, heart palpitations and menstrual problems. Rue tea expelled intestinal worms. Externally, the herb was applied to sprains, bruises, rheumatic pains, gout, chilblains and skin problems. Pliny said it was one the Roman's chief nutraceutical plants, and "an antidote for all poisons". He also said that it was eaten, with bread and cress, by engravers and painters to improve their vision. In large doses the herb is poisonous. Even handling the leaves can cause blisters. It should not be taken during pregnancy.
Rue, a strong aromatic herb, was used to give a bitter flavour to foods and alcoholic drinks, especially grappa. It was also added to salads.
A native of southern Europe and the Mediterranean, rue was introduced into England by the Romans, who not only believed that it improved eyesight, but that it had the power to bestow second sight on those who consumed it regularly. Indeed, it was for these vision-enhancing powers that Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo claimed to have taken the herb. The name is derived from the Greek for to set free, a reference to its efficacy as an antidote, or release from poisons. As a symbol of sorrow and repentance, rue was known as 'herb of grace' (for to Christians true repentance leads to God-given grace). Brushes of rue were used to sprinkle holy water in exorcisms and before a Mass, For Moslems the plant has a special significance, in that it is the only herb said to have been blessed by Muhammad, The phrase 'rue the day' comes from the custom of throwing a bunch of rue in the face of one's enemy, while cursing them. The herb was also worn for luck, and as a protection against witchcraft, the 'evil eye' and the plague. In medieval times, rue was placed near magistrates to protect them against gaol fever brought into court by prisoners. It was also hung inside houses to repel insects. Listed by Aelfric, the plant was used in perfumes and cosmetics.
Besides an essence, the plant contains an acid and a coloring matter, rutin. The fresh leaves when crushed cause violent irritation of the skin. Taken internally, Rue is a poison. A slight dose is a stimulant and useful antispasmodic in windy colics in particular. The seeds are vermifuge. One variety is believed to make the hair grow and was long used by the Egyptian women for this purpose.
The bitter and pungent aerial portions of rue (or garden tue) have beneficial health effects for the liver, spleen, nerves, tendons, uterus, and the circulatory system. Antispasmodic, emmenagogue, stimulant, and rubefacient properties have been confirmed in laboratory research. Rue is traditionally used for spasms, neuralgias and cramps, menstrual cramps, and earaches. Biochemical analysis of the herb has revealed the presence of volatile oil, flavonoids, rutin, hypericin, tannin, pectin, and choline.
Rue is used in supporting nervous spasms, neuralgia, trauma, cramps, and to relax strained muscles and tendons. As such it is applied externally as liquid extract or oil of rue. It is also taken internally as well but should be used moderately. A few drops of rue oil (made by macerating the herb in olive oil) can be applied to a wad of cotton to help support earaches in children or adults.
The Chinese use liquid extract of rue for sedation, supporting rheumatic pains, increasing local circulation and reducing swelling.
Given in small doses of one-half to one teaspoon at a time, the extract helps support menstrual cramps and promotes blood circulation through the female reproduction organs. It should strictly be avoided during pregnancy.
Dosage: One teaspoon of the leaves m infusion, 10-15 drops of the liquid extract, externally as needed.
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Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 tea bag for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the pot, cover and let steep for 2-4 minutes. Pour into your cup; add milk and sugar to taste.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea itself. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into the serving pitcher straining the tea bags. Add ice and top-up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste.
Any possible allergic reaction to rue can be antidoted by applying goldenseal either internally or externally.
End of More Photographs - Rue (Ruta Graveolens) Tea
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