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Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Ruta graveolens

Other Common Name:


Parts of the plant used:

The leaves and flowers.

How is it used?

Rue is sometimes taken as tea, but parts of the plant are also applied to the skin.

What is it used for?

In traditional healing practices, Rue tea has been used to promote menstruation, against hypertension and to treat hysteria. Crushed rue leaves are placed in the ear canal to relieve ear aches and headaches. Externally, rue is applied as a skin antiseptic and insect repellant, as well as a poultice against rheumatic pain. Due to its toxicity, the use of this plant is now considered obsolete by modern scientific herbalism (phytotherapy).


Safety / Precautions


  • Never use internally in pregnancy or lactation. Rue’s active principles are toxic to the embryo or fetus.
  • Some people have employed this herb to end unplanned pregnancies, but this is a very dangerous practice, which may cause death to the mother as well as the baby.
  • Do not use internally in small children or the elderly.
  • Do not use in patients with cardiac or kidney ailments.
  • Rue applied to the skin can cause serious photodermatitis (if skin treated with this herb is exposed to direct sunlight), as well as contact dermatitis in people sensitive to the plant.
  • Do not take Rue together with medications to lower blood pressure, as this may increase their effects.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!