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Rue is a hardy evergreen, shrub with bluish-green fern like leaves that emits an unpleasant odour. The greenish-yellow flowers are in terminal panicles, blossoming from June to September. Rue is native to the Balkan Peninsula but now be found growing in gardens around the world. Rue, genus Ruta, is a genus of about 40 species of perennial shrubs and herbs in the family Rutaceae. The name Ruta is from the Greek reuo–meaning to set free–because this herb is so efficacious in various diseases.
In England, Rue is one of the oldest garden plants used as a food spice and for its beneficial qualities in traditional European medicine. Rue was a common cooking herb for the Romans and commonly used in a spicy seasoning paste that contained garlic, hard cheese, coriander, and celery seeds with Rue leaves. Occasionally you can still find Rue used in Italian dishes, mostly among old Italian families that have passed down recipes through generations. Rue is more commonly used today in Ethiopia as both a culinary herb and an addition to coffee.
Rue was even employed folklorically in the Middle Ages in witchcraft and magic considered as a protective herb. Early physicians considered Rue as protection against plagues and pest-like fleas. It is originally one of the ingredients in the “Vinegar of the Four Thieves.”
Rue was once believed to improve the eyesight and creativity, and no less personages than Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci used Rue for this purpose. Pliny, called Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, a naturalist and natural philosopher, reported Rue to be of such effect for the preservation of sight that the painters ate it because it was supposed to make the sight both sharp and clear, especially when the vision had become dim through overexertion.
Traditionally, in folk medicine the leaves were used topically for sciatica and joint pain. The fresh leaves applied to the temples were used for headaches; and compresses saturated with a strong tea was applied to the chest for chronic bronchitis or congestion. In traditional Chinese medicine, Rue warms the lungs and stomach and moves Qi.
It has been used by the early Roman Catholic Church in holy water to wash away sins and to perform exorcisms. This gave rise to one of the herb’s common names: Herb-of-Grace.
The taste and energetics of Rue are pungent, bitter, acrid, warming and drying. Rue has an affinity to the uterus, musculoskeletal system, respiratory system and digestive system. For an eyewash combine with Fennel, Chrysanthemum or Calendula Flowers.
How to use:
Use Rue sparingly in tea and as a culinary spice. Also use as an external wash or eyewash.
Cautions & contraindications:
Do not take during pregnancy as it is very stimulating with abortifacient properties. Some people are allergic to the plant’s oils and can develop a severe rash. In excessive doses it is an acre-narcotic poison – use with caution and in small doses.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.