Native to the Mediterranean, as well as Macaronesia and Southeast Asia. Different sources attribute between 8 and 40 different species of Rue.
Rue is very easily reproduced by cuttings.
Cut a small branch from an existing plant, and strip the leaves from the bottom 2/3 of the branch.
Place in a pot of well draining soil and pinch the soil around the branch to hold it in place. In wetter climates, the branch can be placed directly in the garden.
If it is very dry where you live, trim the tops of the leaves to prevent water loss and consider covering with a cloche or misting regularly with water.
The more space you give it, the bigger it will grow. Some sources recommend up to half a meter (one and a half feet) on all sides, but can be planted closer.
Seeds and rooted cuttings can be planted outside in the spring or summer.
The ideal conditions for Rue are dry and sunny. Watering once or twice a week is sufficient. Keep dry to encourage flowering.
Rue prefers rocky, chalky, well draining soils. Does not tolerate compact earth or soil with a high percentage of clay.
Sand (without salt), small rocks, and powdered eggshells can be dug into the earth in preparation for the Rue plant.
Protect from winds and cold temperatures.
Tolerates frost until -15 °C (5 °F) but thrives in warmer climates.
Usually resistant to pests, but can be vulnerable to aphids and white fly when under watered.
Can be toxic depending on the dose, so it is advised to keep out of reach of small children and non-human animals. Wearing gloves when harvesting will protect against phototoxic burns.
Fresh Rue has more essential oil, and is thus more potent than the dried herb.
Infusion in warm water is more effective at extracting the properties of the plant than tinctures using alcohol.
Extracted oil may be given on sugar, or in hot water.
Large doses (more than 100 mL of the oil or approximately 120 g of the leaves in 1 dose) can cause violent gastric pain, vomiting, and systemic failure.
Side effects can include mood changes, rash, sensitivity to sunlight, dizziness, sleep problems, spasms, and damage to the liver, kidney, and stomach. Better avoided by people with kidney, liver, stomach, and intestinal weaknesses.
The recommended dose is 0.5 to 30 g of fresh herb daily or 65 mg of essential oil.
Tests done on humans involving daily doses of 30 mg during 3 months found no abnormal hepatic function.
- Analgesic: Has a long history of use treating pain such as sciatica (applied externally), headache, and pain related to infection, such as earache.
- Anti-Fungal: Useful in treating fungal infections such as athletes foot and candida (in women who are not pregnant)
- Anti-Inflammatory: A cup or two of Rue tea every day reduces pain and inflammation in the joints.
- Anti-Spasmodic: Rue has calming and relaxing effect on the muscles. A remedy for anxiety, muscle pain, stiff neck, dizziness, headache (especially when nervous in nature), tightness in the stomach, and menstrual cramps. Narcotic to the nervous system, and has been used to treat neuromuscular disorders.
- Anti-Viral & Anti-Bacterial: In Mediterranean traditional medicine, used to treat pulmonary conditions, such as tuberculosis, to reduce swelling of the spleen, and to treat wounds. Also used to treat earache, when a burst eardrum has been excluded (traditionally heated in a pomegranate rind).
- Emetic tendencies: May cause vomiting if taken directly after eating.
- Emmenagogue, Abortifacient & Aphrodisiac: When taken in large doses (30 mg), Rue has a stimulating effect on the female reproductive system, and has a long history of use provoking menstruation and abortion.
- Insecticidal & Antiparasitic: Used for hundreds of years as an insect repellent. Taken internally, Rue oil has been used for treating intestinal worms.
- Potassium channel blocker: For treating arrhythmia.
- Remedy for Poison: Effective on neurotoxins and ineffective on hemotoxins. Induces vomiting in case of poisoning. Traditionally used to cure snake and insect bites or stings (which are neurotoxins)
- Rubefacient: Causes dilation of the capillaries, an increase in circulation, and reddening of the skin. Acro-narcotic.
- Sedative: calming epileptic and hysterical attacks. Rue oil contains neurotoxins, which induce numbness.
- Mild Stomachic: Has been used to treat colic and flatulence.
- Has a history of use for treating tired eyes and restoring eyesight.
Metaphysical Uses & Properties
- The Greeks considered nervous indigestion they suffered to be caused by witchcraft, and thus Rue to be an antimagical herb.
- An ingredient in 4 Thieves Vinagre
- In the Middle Ages in many parts of Europe Rue was a powerful defence against witches, and was used in many spells.
- It was also thought to bestow second sight.
- Rue and mint dream pillows are said to induce psychic dreams.
- The dried herb can be burnt with the intention to cleanse a space, object or person with it’s smoke.
- Sprigs can be hung over doorways and windows to cleanse and protect.
- Rue infused water can be used to clean and cleanse the home instead of cleaning products.
- Planting Rue around the place one lives can serve as a protection from unwanted energies, but for this purpose it is recommended to plant it oneself from seed. If one of these plants starts to die, it may signal that further energetic protection is necessary.
- Applied topically, Rue infusion or extract can serve as a glamour spell to ward off unwanted attention.
- Bathing with Rue extracts cleanses and helps to stimulate personal alignment.
- Carried on the person, a sprig of Rue can protect against the evil eye.
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