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Plant Information

Common Name: RUE
Scientific Name: Ruta graveolens
Alternative Names: Wynruit (Afr)

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Ruta graveolens
Ruta graveolens
Ruta graveolens


  • Perennial
  • Hardy, evergreen shrub with small, yellow-green, waxy 5-petalled flowers, feathery pale green-blue 3-lobed leaves with an unusual musky scent and round seed capsules.
  • Can tolerate hot and dry soil conditions - will suffer from root rot in damp soil.
  • Need well-drained neutral to alkaline, poor soil.
  • Full sun/ light shade.
  • Cut back hard (but not into the main stem) in spring.
  • Prune to form a low hedge in a formal herb garden.
  • Requires little cultivation.
  • Companion planting: Plant close to fruit trees, tomatoes and strawberries - will keep worms, fruit flies and beetles at bay.
  • Do not grow next to Sweet Basil.

Culinary Uses

  • Pungent, bitter leaf - flavour vinegar.
  • Very small amounts will give an unusual muskiness to cream cheese, egg and fish dishes.
  • For a delicious meat sauce - can be mixed with damsons and wine.

Parts Used

  • Leaves - fresh or dried.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Leaf infusions:
  • Antispasmodic - colic, spasms, lost of appetite, dyspeptic complaints.
  • Menstrual disorders - promote the onset of menstruation.
  • Circulatory disorders and high blood pressure.
  • Nerve tonic - helps for anxiety, convulsions and fits in children, epilepsy and hysteria.
  • Chest, nose and throat problems: bronchitis, colds, flu, whooping cough, fever and heart palpitation.
  • Antiseptic.
  • Eyewash to treat eye strain and sore eyes.
  • Ointment for external use against gout, arthritis, rheumatism and neuralgia.
  • Bruised leaves may be placed on a tooth and in the ears to alleviate pain, treat bites and stings.
  • Cold compress applied to the temples, relieves nervous headaches.
  • Decoction can be taken to ease childbirth.
  • Caution:
  • Should not be taken by pregnant women in the earlier stages of pregnancy - can be abortive - may affect uterine contractions and blood flow.
  • May cause photo toxicity in some individuals - when applied to the skin with sun exposure, the oil and leaves can cause blistering.

Other Uses

  • Insecticide - use in dog kennels and other areas where flies and fleas occur.
  • Hang a sprig in the windowsill to keep away flies.
  • Deterrent for cats - they dislike the smell of Rue.
  • Add a twig of rue to a flower arrangement - will lengthen life of other flowers.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

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