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The healing power of rue

  1. Rue is a beautiful plant to look at; it would not look out of place in an ornamental garden. It does well on dry soil. The leaves have a distinct blue-green color and the flowers turn bright yellow. In addition, rue is a kitchen herb, although it is used less often than it used to be. It has a slightly bitter taste. Rue is used as a medicinal plant in phytotherapy.


  1. Traditional use Naming Active substances Rue for cramps Other medicinal properties of rue Dose and safety Visit a doctor or herbalist

Traditional use

  1. In the past, rue was used to induce cramps in the womb. It was a widely used abortion drug in ancient times. Today it is still used in horses to induce abortion. The Roman historian Pliny the Elder wrote about this plant and its use in abortion. In France it was known as herbe a la fille or 'beautiful girl's herb'. It was popular with girls because by forcing an abortion they could have sex freely. In addition, it is a remedy for coughing; a cough syrup is made to which this herb has been added. It is also used for ear pain. Like some other bitter plants such as absinth wormwood, rue is good for repelling worms. In the 17th century, rue was part of vinegar to combat the plague. Other herbs in this vinegar were: sage, thyme, garlic, rosemary and lavender.


  1. In Latin, rue is called Ruta graveolens. Graveolens means 'smelly'. The plant itself does not smell bad, but it does taste bitter. But smelly or graveolens can also mean "disgusting" or "depraved"; that may indicate moral decay if this herb is used as an abortion drug.

Active ingredients

  1. The leaf or the entire above-ground growing herb of rue is used for phytotherapeutic purposes. It contains the following active substances: essential oil with methyl ketones, methyl nonylcarbinols and free alcohols, esters, phenols, terpene compounds, flavonoids such as rutin and quercetin -3-O-rutinoside, tertiary and quaternary alkaloids including arborinine, skimmianine, graveolin, graveolinine and alpha fagarin, furocoumarin derivatives in the form of bergapten, xanthotoxin and psoralen.

Rue for cramps

  1. Rue is able to resolve mild cramps. These include cramps in the digestive tract, airways and reduced blood flow. In the case of anti-spasm effect on the blood vessels, there are other medicinal plants such as white horse chestnut, lemon-yellow honey clover and buckwheat that have a stronger effect on this. As a phytotherapeutic medicine it is mainly used for:

Other medicinal properties of rue

  1. Ruta graveolens / Source: Jerzy Opioa, Wikimedia Commons (GFDL)

Dose and Safety

  1. There are two standard ways to use this medicinal plant.

Visit a doctor or herbalist

  1. Much of the information about the medicinal plant referred to in this article comes from Geert Verhelst's book Great Handbook of Medicinal Plants. That is a handbook in phytotherapy. However, it is not suitable for self-healing. Anyone who is bothered by something should visit a doctor or phytotherapist for a proper diagnosis and choice of the best remedies, tailored to your personal situation. The knowledge and science mentioned here is of a purely informational nature.

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