Common Rue Plant

The many medicinal properties of the common rue plant were already known by Dioscorides (1st century A.D.). It was cultivated in monastery cloisters during the middle ages since it was regarded to have antiaphrodisiac properties. At present, it is still used for several female disorders.

image of common rue plant

Common Rue Scientific Facts

  1. Scientific Name – Ruta graveolens L.
  2. Other Names – Rue, herb of grace.
  3. French – Rue, peganion.
  4. Spanish – Ruda.
  5. Environment – Native to the Mediterranean countries and Asia Minor, where it grows in dry, rocky soils, it has been cultivated in other warm regions of Europe and America.
  6. Description – Vivacious, herbaceous plant of the Rutaceae family, growing up from 0.6 to 1 m high, with yellow-greenish flowers which gather in umbels. Common rue has a very peculiar intense color.
  7. Parts of the plant used medicinally – The flower clusters.

Healing Properties

Gynecological conditions – Common rue contains an essence rich in methyl-n-nonyl ketone, with vigorous oxytocic activity (it contracts the uterus) and emmenagogue properties. Thus, it is used for amenorrhea (lack of menstruation), once this lack is ascertained not to be caused by pregnancy; and for weak, irregular, or painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea).

Antispasmodic and antiseptic – Common rue essence has both properties and is thus administered to calm colic abdominal pain.

Antihemorrhagic – This plant contains rutin or rhutosid (vitamin P), which increases blood capillary vessels’ resistance and can stop some internal hemorrhages. However, the cause of this bleeding must always be determined before taking rue.

Antirheumatic – Externally applied, rue has revulsive properties, and it is used as a compress to calm rheumatic aches.

Skin conditions – Due to its revulsive action, it is recommended for certain skin afflictions: psoriasis, eczema, scabies.


common rue flowers

When taken in high doses, it has abortifacient and toxic properties, so its use is advised against during pregnancy. Touching the plant with the skin can produce allergic reactions.

How to use Common Rue

  1. Infusion with 2-5 grams of plant per liter of water. Drink two cups daily. For menstrual disorders, drink it the week before menstruation is expected.
  2. Essence – The recommended dose is 2-3 drops per day.
  3. Compresses soaked in a concentrated infusion (10-20 grams per liter of water) and applied directly to the affected skin area.


George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 637. Print.

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