What Is Ruta Used For

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Rue is a plant. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine. Be careful not to confuse rue with goat’s rue (Galega officinalis) and meadow rue (Thalictrum species).

Despite serious safety concerns, rue is used as a medicine for a long list of conditions. It is used for digestion problems including loss of appetite, upset stomach, and diarrhea. It is also used for heart and circulation problems including pounding heart (heart palpitations) and “hardening of the arteries” (arteriosclerosis). Some people use rue for breathing problems including pain and coughing due to swelling around the lungs (pleurisy).

Rue is used for other painful conditions including headache, arthritis, cramps, and muscle spasms; and for nervous system problems including nervousness, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Bell’s palsy.

Other uses include treatment of fever, hemorrhage, hepatitis, “weakness of the eyes,” water retention, intestinal worm infestations, and mouth cancer. Rue is also used to kill bacteria and fungus.

Some women use rue for menstrual problems, to stimulate the uterus, and to cause an abortion.

Rue is sometimes applied directly to the skin to treat arthritis, dislocations, sprains, injuries of the bone, swollen skin, earaches, toothaches, headaches, tumors, and warts; and as an insect repellent.

Rue

Rue extract is potentially useful as a potassium channel blocker. It has been used to treat many neuromuscular problems and to stimulate the onset of menstruation. Because rue has an antispasmodic effect at relatively low doses, it should be taken with caution. However, considering rue’s potential for severe adverse effects, clinical trials are limited.

What Are Rue Plants Used for?

The rue plant (Ruta graveolens), also known as Ave-grace, garden rue and herb of grace, is part of the Rutacaea plant family. Rue is a perennial herb or small shrub with a strong odor that blooms tiny, greenish-yellow flowers and is native to Southern Europe. Rue has been used throughout history for a variety of reasons, and today it is still a useful herb to have in your garden. It’s hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 10.

Food

Rue plant leaves have a strong, bitter taste, but they are edible. They’re typically used as a condiment to flavor various foods and as a tea. They may be used raw or dried for use as a seasoning. Rue is occasionally eaten in salads, but because of its slight toxicity, it should only be consumed this way in small quantities.

Medicinal Uses

The tops of fresh rue shoots are gathered before the plant flowers, and are used fresh or dry as a home remedy. Rue is valued for its flavonoids, particularly rutin, which strengthens blood vessels. Because of these flavonoids, rue has been used to strengthen the eyes, as an antithetical to treat parasitic worms, and as an antidiarrheal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, expectorant, hemostat and stimulant. It is also used to induce vomiting and relieve gas. In large doses, however, rue can be toxic, and it should never be used by women who are pregnant or nursing. To treat coughs and stomach issues such as flatulence, it is given as an infusion. The juice of the rue plant has also been used to treat earaches.

Pesticide and Repellent

Whether growing or dried, rue plants are useful for repelling insects, and can be grown as a companion plant for roses and raspberries. The dried leaves are also an effective moth repellent. In the garden, rue may be planted near valuable plants to repel cats as well. When mixed as a decoction, rue can be used topically to kill lice and fly larvae.

Cosmetic

Rue plant oils have a distinct, strong odor. These oils are extracted from the leaves, and are used in a range of cosmetics, fragrance products and soaps. Rue plants are also used to make a red dye.

Toxicity

Rue is toxic when ingested in large doses, and should be taken to treat medical problems only under the approval and supervision of a physician. Rue has abortive properties that may result in hemorrhaging and miscarriages, so it should not be ingested by pregnant women. Wear protective gloves when handling rue plants. The plant juices contain furanocoumarins, which sensitizes the skin to light and can cause dermatitis or blisters. Rue’s mild toxicity can cause mood changes, sleep disorders, fatigue, dizziness, spasms, fainting, bradycardia, tongue swelling, clammy skin and pho toxicity. Dry rue can also produce side effects, but they tend to be milder than those caused by fresh rue. If leaves are ingested in doses of more than 120 milligrams, or more than 1/2 cup of oil, rue can cause vomiting, severe abdominal pain and sometimes death. In doses of this size, fresh rue can cause severe kidney and liver damage as well.

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