Other names: countryman’s treacle, garden rue, herb of grace

Scientific name: Rutaceae, Ruta graveolens

Common names: Common rue, Countryman’s treacle, Garden rue

Ayurvedic names:

Chinese names: Chou cao, Chow-cho, Jing jie qi, Xiao xiang cao, Yun xiang, Chou ai

Bangladesh names: Ispund

Arabic names:    السذاب (as-sadhaab)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Ruta graveolens

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Whole herb, sprouts

Collection: June to August

Annual/Perennial: Perennial


Actions:  abortifacient , Anti-spasmodic, anti-tussive,, anthelmintic, abortifacient, anthlmetic, anti-microbial, aromatic bitter,  emmenagogue, stimulant, pungent, rubefacient, tonic

Known Constituents: Rutin, furanocourmarins, alkaloids, tannin

Constituents Explained:


Rue is an aromatic perennial plant; the branched, pale green, glabrous stem bears alternate pinnately decompound, somewhat fleshy leaves with oblong to spatulate leaflets. Small yellow or yellow-green flowers grow in paniculate clusters from June to August. Characterized by its pungent smell and bitter taste 

Traditional Use:

The latin name ‘Ruta’ is based on the Greek word ‘reuo’  Its used to regulat menstrual periods. Rue oil is used as an abortifacient, which means this plant is recommended to avoid during preganancy.  An anti-spasmodic, which means its used to stop intestinal cramps and coughs. Used to enhance perihperal cirulcation and to help lower blood pressure.

Do not boil rue.1

Clinical Studies:



Latin name:    Ruta graveolens 

Family:             N.O. Rutaceae

Other names:

Herb-of-Grace. Herbygrass. Garden Rue.

Rue, a hardy, evergreen, somewhat shrubby plant, is a native of Southern Europe. 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 greenish-yellow flowers are in terminal panicles, blossoming from June to September. 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. This wild form is even more vehement in smell than the garden Rue. The whole plant has a disagreeable and powerful odour. The first flower that opens has usually ten stamens, the others eight only.

The whole herb is used, the drug consisting of both the fresh and the dried herb. The tops of the young shoots contain the greatest virtues of any part of the plant. The shoots are gathered before the plant flowers. 

The volatile oil is contained in glands distributed over the whole plant and contains caprinic, plagonic, caprylic and oenanthylic acids – also a yellow crystalline body, called rutin. Oil of Rue is distilled from the fresh herb. Water serves to extract the virtues of the plant better than spirits of wine. Decoctions and infusions are usually made from the fresh plant, or the oil may be given in a dose of from 1 to 5 drops. The dried herb – which is a grayish green – has similar taste and odour, but is less powerful. It is used, powdered, for making tea.

Extracts from rue have been used to treat eyestrain, sore eyes, and as an insect repellent. Rue has been used internally as an antispasmodic, as a treatment for menstrual problems, as an abortifacient, and as a sedative.

It is strongly stimulating and antispasmodic – often employed, in form of a warm infusion, as an emmenagogue. In excessive doses, it is an acro-narcotic poison, and on account of its emetic tendencies should not be administered immediately after eating. 

It forms a useful medicine in hysterical affections, in coughs, croupy affections, colic and flatulence, being a mild stomachic. The oil may be given on sugar, or in hot water. 

Externally, Rue is an active irritant, being employed as a rubefacient. If bruised and applied, the leaves will ease the severe pain of sciatica. The expressed juice, in small quantities, was a noted remedy for nervous nightmare, and the fresh leaves applied to the temples are said to relieve headache. Compresses saturated with a strong decoction of the plant, when applied to the chest, have been used beneficially for 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.