The Herb Rue
Here I'll be telling you all about rue, its uses, appearance, myths, in fact, anything I can find about it, mixed in with some personal experiences.
The Latin name for rue is Ruta graveolens.
There are some really weird uses for this plant! Be careful with rue, it can cause skin problems. For details, keep reading.
Herbals Books of Interest
Everything you'll ever want to know about the magical use of rue and other herbs. This book is one of the best!
Why I Like Rue
Many people dislike rue, but I really like it. Mostly, people don't like the smell of it, finding it very strong and acerbic, however, I love it. Once of the pleasures of walking in the garden is brushing against the rue bushes and making the scent stronger.
Cats are supposed to dislike rue, and it has been used as a cat repellant. It didn't work with my previous cat, because one of her favourite spots to lie in the sun was partially under the rue bush. She was a strange cat anyway.
Another thing I love about rue is the colour of the leaves, a sort of blue-green - it's very unusual, but also very striking. The colour of the leaves makes rue a good contrast plant in the garden.
Although I used to have several rue plants scattered around the garden, one thing I never used it for is as a herb - perhaps because it is now out of favour with herbal medicine, but also because of some other effects it can have.
Rue is an easy plant to grow, and tolerates a variety of conditions. It often flourishes in the poorest part of the garden. It was often grown in medieval herb gardens, with rosemary and thyme.
It is quite hardy, and comes from the Mediterranian area, so can take quite a lot of heat. It seems to prefer a semi-shaded position, however, and also likes quite a dry soil.
Rue can be grown easily from either seeds or cuttings. If you're propagating it by cutting, some root hormone dust or honey on the end of the stem can be helpful. My rue seeds itself occasionally, so I have a continual rue population. It's not that prolific though.
Rue Can Cause Allergies
One weekend a while ago, my partner kindly did some gardening for me, part of which involved tying back the rue, which had become top heavy with flowers. Unfortunately, he came out in a rash which looked like very bad sunburn - an allergic reaction.
Just over a week later, it was still red and itchy, and peeled badly, again like sunburn. We used a cortisone cream on it, which seemed to help a little, and also lavender oil, but it really took quite a few weeks to heal.
The guilty party is the small yellow flowered bush, to the left of the tree in the picture above.
Next time he does any work near the rue, he'll be wearing armour! Or at least very long thick gloves....... It will probably be much easier if I do any work involving rue, as it doesn't seem to bother me at all.
Just be careful if you're working with herbs in your garden - some of them can really give you an allergic reaction.
More On The Allergy
After my partner developed a terrible red burn-like rash on his arms, while trimming my rue bushes back, it took about six weeks to heal, and you could still see the marks for a while after that..
Because he is often to be found in the garden, helping me out, I've had to make the decision as to whether or not to keep the rue. He knows I like it, so told me to keep it, but of course, it has to go, as he's much more important to me than a couple of rue plants. I will miss them though,as I really like their aroma when I brush by them.
Warnings About Rue
Since my partner developed an allergy to rue, I've been doing a little research about it. There are quite a few times when rue is contra-indicated. Please don't treat yourself with rue; leave it to a qualified practitioner.
If you know you have an allergy to this plant, avoid it like the plague.
Do not eat rue, as it may be poisonous. It can cause vomiting, and stomach upsets.
Pregnant women should never use rue. It can interfer with blood flow, and may, in extreme cases, cause a miscarriage.
If you have an allergy to rue, and have touched it, stay out of the sun, as it may well exacerbate the rash you get.
A Cat Flea
Rue As An Insect Repellant
It's said that rue makes a great insect and flea repellant around the house, and I must admit that would be very useful if you have dogs and cats inside the home. A rue plant in the house would be great, if you like the aroma of the leaves.
Rue planted around the garden is said to reduce insect infestations. This sounds really good to me, and I'm considering planting a couple of rue bushes in the vegetable patch, although some say that care should be taken planting rue close to edible plants, as it's said to be toxic when ingested in large quantities.
Have you ever had any problems with Rue?
Haven't got much space? Grow your herbs in containers.
The Evil Eye
Rue In Witchcraft
Its magical qualities:
- Gender : Masculine
- Ruling : Planet Mars
- Powers : Healing, Mental Powers, Exorcism, Love
- Deities : Diana, Aradia
If you place rue leaves on the forehead, it will relieve headaches.
Worn around the neck it helps healing, and wards off future health problems.
Sniffing fresh rue leaves clears the head in romantic matters, and makes your mind clearer.
Rue can be added to healing incenses and poppets.
Use a sprig of rue to sprinkle salt water through a house to clear it of negativity.
The ancient Greeks believed rue was a protection against the evil eye, and the Romans ate it to preserve themselves from the evil eye.
Odd Bits About Rue
Some butterflies lay their eggs on rue, as it's a good food plant for their varieties. The butterfly in the photo is a red admiral.
Some ancient jewellers made charms of gold and silver in the shape of rue, and these were used for protection.
Pilocarpine is contained in rue, and this is used to induce abortion in horses.
In some Christian church ceremonies, rue was used, because it was associated with regret and bitterness, and rue is a bitter herb. The herb was sometimes called "The herb of grace" because of this.
Rue is sometimes made into an external use ointment for arthritis, rheumatism, neuralgia, and gout.