Rue is a plant. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine. Be careful not to confuse rue with goat's rue (Galega officinalis) and meadow rue (Thalictrum species).
Despite serious safety concerns, rue is used as a medicine for a long list of conditions. It is used for digestion problems including loss of appetite, upset stomach, and diarrhea. It is also used for heart and circulation problems including pounding heart (heart palpitations) and “hardening of the arteries” (arteriosclerosis). Some people use rue for breathing problems including pain and coughing due to swelling around the lungs (pleurisy).
Rue is used for other painful conditions including headache, arthritis, cramps, and muscle spasms; and for nervous system problems including nervousness, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Bell's palsy.
Other uses include treatment of fever, hemorrhage, hepatitis, “weakness of the eyes,” water retention, intestinal worm infestations, and mouth cancer. Rue is also used to kill bacteria and fungus.
Some women use rue for menstrual problems, to stimulate the uterus, and to cause an abortion.
Rue is sometimes applied directly to the skin to treat arthritis, dislocations, sprains, injuries of the bone, swollen skin, earaches, toothaches, headaches, tumors, and warts; and as an insect repellent.
In foods and beverages, rue and its oil are used as flavoring.
In manufacturing, rue oil is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.
How it works
The chemicals in rue help decrease muscle contractions and reduce swelling (inflammation).
Not ProvenMenstrual disordersIndigestionHeart poundingNervousnessFeverDiarrheaBreathing problemsMultiple sclerosis (MS)Bell's palsyArthritisSprainsEarachesToothachesWartsHeadachesOther conditions
It is UNSAFE when used as a medicine. When taken by mouth, it can cause side effects such as stomach irritation, changes in mood, sleep problems, dizziness, spasms, serious kidney and liver damage, and death. When applied to the skin, it can cause rash and increased sensitivity to the sun.
Rue is considered safe when consumed in food amounts
UNSAFEfor anyone to use rue in medicinal amounts, but people with the following conditions are especially likely to experience dangerous side effects.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE for both mother and unborn child to take rue during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Rue can cause uterine contractions, which can cause a miscarriage. That's why rue is used to cause an abortion. But it also has serious effects for the mother. Some women who have tried using rue to cause an abortion have died.
Stomach and intestinal (gastrointestinal, GI) problems: Rue can make existing GI problems worse. If you have any stomach or intestinal disorder, you have an extra reason not use rue.
Kidney and urinary tract problems: Rue can harm the kidney and irritate the urinary tract. If you have a kidney or urinary tract problem, you have an extra reason not use rue.
Liver problems: Rue can make existing liver problems worse. If you have any liver disorder, you have an extra reason not use rue.
ModerateMedications that increase sensitivity to sunlight (Photosensitizing drugs)
Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Rue might also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Taking rue along with medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering, or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun.Some drugs that cause photosensitivity include amitriptyline (Elavil), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra), tetracycline, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen, 8-MOP, Oxsoralen), and Trioxsalen (Trisoralen).