Ruta graveolens

Ruta graveolens L. (Rutaceae)

Herb of Grace, Common Rue

Ruta graveolens L. is a glabrous herb with stem that can grow up to 14-45 cm. Lower leaves are more or less long-petiolate with ultimate segments 2-9 mm wide, lanceolate to narrowly oblong. Inflorescence is rather lax; pedicels are as long as or longer than the capsule; bracts are lanceolate, leaf-like. Sepals are lanceolate and acute. Petals are oblong-ovate, denticulate and undulate. Capsule is glabrous; segments somewhat narrowed above to an obtuse apex.


Native to Europe.


Rutoside, rutaverine, arborinine, rutin, elemol, pregei-jerene, geijerene, furocoumarins, bergapten, xanthotoxin, fagarine, graveolinine and others.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

It is frequently used to treat worm and parasitic infection. It has been commonly used for the treatment of psoriasis and vitiligo due to the psoralens and methoxypsoralens present. It is also used to relieve muscle spasms, as carminative, emmenagogue, haemostat, uter-onic, vermifuge, to treat hepatitis, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, bug bite, cancer, cold, fever, snakebite, earache, toothache and as an antidote especially in malarial poisoning. It is also used as an abortifacient to terminate pregnancy. The plant has been used for pain relief in Mexico.

Pharmacological Activities

Analgesic, Antibacterial, Anticancer, Antifertility, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antiprotozoal and Cytotoxic.


For the treatment of earache, the oil is poured on cotton and inserted into the affected ear. For oral administration, 1 capsule or 0.5 to 1 teaspoon of extract is taken three times daily with meals. The topical cream may be applied to the affected area when necessary. For delayed menstruation, 2 cups of infusion per day is used.

Adverse Reactions

Hypotension, hypersensitivity, rash, erythema and blisters may occur when applied topically. Therapeutic dosages could bring about melancholic moods, sleep disorders, tiredness, dizziness and spasms. Misuse as an abortive during pregnancy can lead to vomiting, epigastric pain, kidney damage, depression, sleep disorders, feelings of vertigo, delirium, fainting, tremor, spasm and sometimes may end up with fatal outcome.


Toxic to humans and animals.


Should not be used during pregnancy. Should not be used during lactation, in children and in person with hypersensitivity to rue. Patients with heart diseases should use it with caution. Contraindicated in patients with poor renal function.

Drug-Herb Interactions

Concurrent use of cardiac glycosides (e.g. digoxin, digitoxin) with rue may cause increased inotropic effects. Concurrent use of antihypertensives with rue may cause increased vasodilation.