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Scientific Classification:

Kingdom Plantae
Order Sapindales
Family Rutaceae
Genus Ruta
Species R. graveolens
Binomial name Ruta graveolens

Other Common Names:

The other common names for this particular herb rue are Herbygrass, Garden Rue, Common Rue, Countryman's-treacle, German Rue and Herb-of-grace.


The Spanish name for Rue is Ruda and the Italian name is Ruta which is been widely accepted as a magical herb by the indigenous people of Central and South America and among African-Americans as well. The name Ruta is from the Greek reuo (to set free), because this herb is so efficacious in various diseases. It was much used by the Ancients; Hippocrates specially commended it, and it constituted a chief ingredient of the famous antidote to poison used by Mithridates. The Greeks regarded it as an antimagical herb, because it served to remedy the nervous indigestion they suffered when eating before strangers, which they attributed to witchcraft. It is used in love and protection spells.


Rue is first mentioned by Turner, 1562, in his Herbal, and has since become one of the best known and most widely grown simples for medicinal and homely uses. In England Rue is one of our oldest garden plants, cultivated for its use medicinally, having, together with other herbs, been introduced by the Romans, but it is not found in a wild state except rarely on the hills of Lancashire and Yorkshire. When the European settlers in North America introduced the rue to the locals as well as among other inhabitants there, it soon acquired the status of a common medication. Soon physicians as well as apothecaries recommended the herb of its different properties.


Rue, a native of Southern Europe a hardy is an evergreen, shrubby plant with tough, woody branches. The stem is woody in the lower part, the leaves are alternate, bluish-green, bi- or tripinnate, emit a powerful, disagreeable odour and have an exceedingly bitter, acrid and nauseous taste. The first flower that opens has usually ten stamens, the others eight only.

The greenish-yellow flowers are in terminal panicles, blossoming from June to September. After the flowers are fertilized, the Rue plant makes clusters of bumpy green four-lobed fruits, containing numerous brown seeds. The whole plant has a disagreeable and powerful odour.


Rue is indigenous to Europe, but has now acclimatized to the conditions in the United States and is widely cultivated there.


It is generally cultivated as garden shrub which likes dry, sheltered spots. The herb prefers and thrives well in open spaces and under bright sunlight.


The herb prefers and thrives well in open spaces and under bright sunlight and dry situation. The rue is propagated by seeds. The seeds are sown in the outside during spring. The plant beds needs regular raking up to avoid weeds. When the seedlings are approximately two inches high, they need to be transplanted in fresh beds. While transplanting the seedlings in a new bed, ensure that there is a minimum of 18 inches space on all sides as the plant grows to cover large areas when mature. The plants are normally deep rooted when they are grown in partial shade. The next method is by cutting from mature plants in spring may be planted in the soil for speedy propagation of the herb. Rue has the capability to survive for long periods even in unfavorable conditions. The plant is not susceptible to any damage from frost during the fall even if grown in infertile, arid and worthless soil. The airborne parts of the rue plant are harvested during the summer.

Flowering Season

The flowers of the rue herb are in bloom in late summer.

Pests and Diseases

Rue is not affected by biotic factors like pests and diseases. Late blight caused byP.infestans only reduces radiation interception but not the rue. Some other pests and diseases influence the crop other than by removing foliage and may influence the rue like the potato cyst nematodes reduced the amount of intercepted radiation and the rue.

Parts Used

The aerial parts of the rue herb are generally used for its medicinal and commercial applications.

Medicinal Applications


• It helps in clear and sharp eyesight, especially when the vision had become dim through over-exertion of the eyes.

• The juice was used against ear ache.

• It is used as a medicine for treatment in hysterical affections, in coughs, croupy affections, colic and flatulence, being a mild stomachic.

• It is used in treating chronic bronchitis.

• If a leaf or two be chewed, a refreshing aromatic flavour will pervade the mouth and any nervous headache, giddiness, hysterical spasm, or palpitation will be quickly relieved.

• The herb is also used to treat insect bites.

• Leaves of the rue herb are said to have therapeutic benefits and have been used as an anti-spasmodic to cure cramps, a calmative or sedative, an emmenagogue that helps in increasing the menstrual flow as well as an abortifacient or a drug that causes abortion.

• They possess anti-spasmodic properties.

• Herbalists used rue for treating varying conditions such as hysteria, epilepsy or medical disorder of the brain, vertigo or dizzy sensation, colic or stomach aches, intestinal worms, poisoning as well as eye problems.

• It is also used to treat several other disorders such as a disease of the nervous system called multiple sclerosis and Bell's palsy.

• Chewing the leaves helps in imparting a flavor in the mouth that not only stays for a substantial period, but also helps to get rid of germs in the gums.

• They help in strengthening capillaries and veins thus reducing the likelihood of varicose veins and improving overall cardiovascular function.

• It is an antidote against all dangerous medicines or deadly poisons.

Commercial Applications

• The leaves are curative of croup in poultry.

• It has also been employed in the diseases of cattle.


It is an herb which is influenced by the Sun, and under Leo.

Quotes from Scriptures and Religions

The common name "Herb of Grace" reflects the time when a brush of Rue was used to sprinkle the holy water in the ceremony "Asperges" before High Mass. Once upon a time, brushes made from the rue plant were utilized to shower the holy water in the Catholic churches before a mass, probably to 'purify the attendants'. Owing to this peculiar practice, the rue has also been nicknamed as the 'herb of grace'. It was with 'Euphrasy and Rue' that Adam's sight was purged by

Milton's Angel. At one time the holy water was sprinkled from brushes made of Rue at the ceremony usually preceding the Sunday celebration of High Mass, for which reason it is supposed it was named the Herb of Repentance and the Herb of Grace. 'There's rue for you and here's some for me; we may call it herb of grace o' Sundays.'

Shakespeare refers again to Rue in Richard III:

'Here in this place

I'll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace;

Rue, even for ruth, shall shortly here be seen,

In the remembrance of a weeping queen.'

The following is a quotation from Drayton:

Then sprinkles she the juice of rue,

With nine drops of the midnight dew

From lunarie distilling.'


For centuries Rue has been considered one of the foremost protective herbs, especially against the evil eye, a belief that originated in the Middle East and which holds that magical harm can come to people through the glance of an envious onlooker. In Italy, faith in the protective qualities of Rue is so great that a special charm, the Cimaruta or "Sprig of Rue" is worn as a pendant to ward off the evil eye. It is always made of sterling silver (the most common metal for apotropaic charms, due to the metal's symbolic association with the moon, which is thought to protect women and children, the most frequent victims of the evil eye) and it is most often found in the vicinity of Naples, where generations of artisans have developed a variety of Cimaruta designs.

Folklores and Myths

In the Middle ages and later, it was considered a powerful defense against witches, and was used in many spells. It was also thought to bestow second sight. Rue has been regarded from the earliest times as successful in warding off contagion and preventing the attacks of fleas and other noxious insects. It was the custom for judges sitting at assizes to have sprigs of Rue placed on the bench of the dock against the pestilential infection brought into court from gaol by the prisoner, and the bouquet still presented in some districts to judges at the assizes was originally a bunch of aromatic herbs, given to him for the purpose of warding off gaol-fever.

RUE, also known as RUTA or RUDA, is widely held to be a Magical Herb. Many people carry a pinch of RUE in a cloth bag or place it above the front door to ward off the Evil Eye. Some folks make a tea of RUE and sprinkle it around the home for protection or bathe in it to break spells. Rue is also said to aid in Love Matters. Burned with Lavender Flowers and Sandalwood it is thought to be a Lover's Incense and if placed in a man's left shoe, it is believed to hold him. Add to healing incense, use for protection and to break hexes and curses.