Common rue commonly known as rue, or herb-of-grace, is a species of Ruta grown as an ornamental plant and herb. It is native to the balkan Penisula. It is now grown throughout the world in gardens, especially for its bluish leaves, and sometimes for its tolerance of hot and dry soill conditions. It is also cultivated as a medicinal herb, as a condiment, and to a lesser extent as an insect repellent.
Ruta graveolens is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 0.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. All parts of this plant are poisonous in large quantities. It should not be used at all by pregnant women since it can induce abortions. The sap contains furanocoumarins, sensitizing the skin to light and causing blistering or dermatitis in sensitive people. Succeeds in any soil but is hardier in a poor dry soil. Prefers a partially shaded sheltered dry position but succeeds in full sun. The bruised leaves have a pleasant orange-like fragrance. It is one of the most pleasant herbs to inhale. Rue releases its scent in a remarkable way. The essential oil is contained in a cavity immediately beneath the surface of the leaf, above which is a thin layer of cells pierced by a cavity in the middle. The cells swell up and bend inwards, pressing on the essential oil beneath, which is driven to the surface of the leaf and there released.
common rue is a medicinal plant widely used in the Mediterranean region to treat pain, dermatitis, rheumatism, and other inflammatory diseases, but its use is limited by its potential toxicity. Rue has a long history of use as a domestic remedy, being especially valued for its strengthening action on the eyes. The whole herb is abortifacient, anthelmintic, antidote, antispasmodic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, haemostatic, ophthalmic, rubefacient, strongly stimulant, mildly stomachic and uterotonic. An infusion is used in the treatment of hysterical affections, coughs, flatulence etc. The juice of the plant has been used in treating earaches and chewing a leaf or two is said to quickly bring relief from giddiness, nervous headaches, palpitations etc.