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Ruta chalepensis11.jpg
Ruta chalepensis, fringed rue
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Rutaceae
Subfamily: Rutoideae
Tribe: Ruteae[1]
Genus: Ruta

8–40 species, including:

Ruta angustifoliaMHNT

Ruta (commonly known as rue) is a genus of strongly scented evergreen subshrubs, 20–60 cm tall, in the family Rutaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, Macaronesia and southwest Asia. There are perhaps 8 to 40 species in the genus. The most well-known species is Ruta graveolens (rue or common rue).

The leaves are bipinnate or tripinnate, with a feathery appearance, and green to strongly glaucous blue-green in colour. The flowers are yellow, with 4–5 petals, about 1 cm diameter, and borne in cymes. The fruit is a 4–5-lobed capsule, containing numerous seeds.

Medicinal uses[edit]

Effect of common rue on skin in hot weather

Extracts from rue have been used to treat eyestrain, sore eyes, and as insect repellent.[2][unreliable medical source?] Rue has been used internally as an antispasmodic, as a treatment for menstrual problems, as an abortifacient, and as a sedative.[3][unreliable medical source?] Ruta graveolens and Ruta chalepensis are often confused in scientific literature.[4]


Caution should be taken with using rue topically. Applied to the skin with sun exposure, the oil and leaves can cause blistering.[5] Some people are much more sensitive than others.


  1. ^ Takhtajan, Armen (2009). Flowering Plants (2 ed.). Springer. p. 375. ISBN 978-1-4020-9608-2.
  2. ^ J. G. Vaughan; P. A. Judd (2006). The Oxford Book of Health Foods. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280680-2.
  3. ^ J. G. Vaughan; P. A. Judd (2003). The Oxford Book of Health Foods. Oxford University Press. p. 137. ISBN 0-19-850459-4.
  4. ^ Kannan R, Babu UV (July 2012). "Identity and pharmacognosy of Ruta graveolens Linn". Anc Sci Life. 32 (1): 16–9. doi:10.4103/0257-7941.113792. PMC 3733200. PMID 23929988.
  5. ^ Kimberly Eickhorst, Vincent DeLeo & Joan Csaposs (2007). "Rue the herb: Ruta graveolens-associated phytophototoxicity". Dermatitis. 18 (1): 52–55. doi:10.2310/6620.2007.06033. PMID 17303046.