Rue (Ruta graveolens) also known as herb-of-grace is an herb that has been around for ages and is used in a variety of ways. It is cultivated as a condiment, insect repellent and a medicinal herb. Rue is highly poisonous and so it should be handled with utmost care. Rue has a bitter taste with many health benefits, in New Mexico; rue has been used as a tisane (tea) for ailments such as stiff neck, dizziness, headache, tightness in the stomach, and inner ear problems. The oil has a strong, bitter taste too and has been used for the treatment of intestinal worms. Rue is native to Europe but is now cultivated worldwide and has been used as an antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial, sedative, and stimulant therapeutic properties.
Rue has calming and relaxing effects and as such is used as a remedy for anxiety, muscle pain, and menstrual cramps. It also helps relax the brain and nervous system hence improving quality of life for the individual. These properties work similar to anti-anxiety medications because of rue’s antispasmodic content. Rue is also used in folk medicine to help treat menstrual disorders and to stimulate the appetite. It is also known to stimulate the uterus and is often used as an herbal contraceptive agent and to help promote abortion.
Rue has for long being used to kill and drive insects away. It is highly poisonous to insects thus used in fumigants, vaporizers, incense sticks, and burners to ward off insects.
The plant contains rutin which supports and strengthens the inner walls of blood vessels and helps reduce blood pressure. Fresh leaves can be bruised and applied to the forehead and temples to get rid of headaches and the juice will prevent nightmares and help with nervous conditions.
The side effects associated with Rue are rare but as with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction like vomiting.