10 Amazing Benefits Of Rue Herb For Skin, Hair, And Health

Let the magical properties of this herb nourish your body and make you glow from within.

Medically reviewed by Eva De Angelis, Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist Eva De Angelis Eva De AngelisLicensed Dietitian Nutritionist linkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , B.Desgn, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition Tanya Choudhary B.Desgn, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition twitter_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach Moksha Gandhi BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach Experience: 2 years

Ruta graveolans is a herb known for its antiviral, antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also commonly known as rue. The benefits of the rue herb are numerous. It is also known as the herb of grace. This is native to the Balkans and is an essential garden plant. Its medicinal and therapeutic properties were highly valued, and it is also used as a condiment and an insect repellent.

This herb was mentioned in Old English Herbals, a book comprising detailed descriptions of many plants and herbs (written by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde). European folk medicine widely used this herb. However, its usage has decreased because of its potential toxicity. It also is not often preferred due to its bitter taste. The herb is beneficial to health nonetheless. Learn more about them here.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Rue Herb

What Is It?
A herb native to the Balkan peninsula

What Are Its Benefits?
With medical and culinary uses, it has antifungal and antibacterial properties and helps with clear skin and treating lice.

Who Can Use It?
It can be used by anyone who is not allergic to it.

How Often?
It can be used daily or as needed.

It may cause photosensitivity, dizziness, rashes, spasms, and kidney and liver problems.

Benefits Of Rue Herb

Ruta graveolens contain flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory properties (1). It also has antimicrobial, antiplasmodiali  XThe effect of a medical substance that relieves pain in the smooth muscles of the stomach and intestine. , free radical scavenging, and antioxidant properties (2). Rue contains alkaloids which may exhibit anticancer benefits. It also has antibacterial and antifungal activity that may prevent fungal and bacterial infections (3), (4). It is an abortifacient, and is used to induce and increase menstrual flow, and cleanse the body.

Skin Benefits Of Rue

Rue oil is often used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Due to its toxicity, rue is seldom applied to the skin directly. Yet, rue is known for some benefits for the skin:

1. Antifungal

Itching due to fungal infection
Image: Shutterstock

Rue has antifungal and antibacterial properties that might protect the skin from eczema caused by Staphylococcus aureus, and other infections (3). Depending on the severity of the infection, rue can be used directly on the skin, especially when one is suffering from athletes’ foot. It also provides instant relief from itchy skin.

2. For Clearer Skin

Image: Shutterstock

Rue may also reduce the risk of additional skin diseases (5). This herb is also said to have free radical scavenging properties which suggests that it might protect the skin from UV damage (6). It may also be used as an anti-bleeder to heal wounds (7).

protip_icon Did You Know?
Rue is the national herb of Lithuania and is heavily referenced in Lithuanian folk songs.

Hair Benefits Of Rue

3. For Lice Free Hair

Woman suffering with itching due to head lice
Image: Shutterstock

Being an effective insecticide, rue essential oil and extracts are often used to get rid of a lice infestation (8). Regular use of this oil can repel those pesky little parasites from your hair and help you stay itch free!

4. Get A Spa Treatment

A number of spas use rue oil for hair treatment, to give you hair that shines with health. This is the perfect recipe for healing damaged hair.

 Health Benefits Of Rue

5. Sedative

Rue is effective in calming hysterical and epileptic attacks due to its sedative properties (9). It helps in desensitizing and relaxing the nerves while inducing numbness because of its neurotoxin content.

6. Insecticide

Pests like mosquitoes, cockroaches and flies cause a number disease. These insects can be driven away with the use of Rue. It can also be used as vaporizers, fumigants, incense sticks and burners in-order to ward off insects.

7. Anti-Bacterial

Image: Shutterstock

Rue protects us from bacterial infections by killing bacteria with its antibacterial properties (3). It can be used in the preparation of tea to fight urinary tract, intestine, and colon infections. It also protects us from food poisoning and salmonellai  XA common bacterial disease that causes diarrhea and fever due to infection in the intestinal tract. .

8. Anti-Spasmodic

Image: Shutterstock

If you suffer from muscle pain, you can try rue. It is an excellent remedy for muscle pain, anxiety and menstrual cramps (5). It also can be used for sprains and bone injuries.

9. Anti-Inflammatory

Rue can reduce inflammation mainly caused by arthritis or gout (5). It contains vitamin C which helps reduce inflammation. Regular intake of 1-2 cups of rue herb tea helps in easing stiff muscles, and fever and provides joint pain relief. Rue herb is also known for its expectorant properties and can also help with upper respiratory tract infection and inflammation and clears up your nasal air passages (10). You may use it for steam or aromatherapy to get relief from common cold and flu.

10. Remedy For Poison

Rue is known as an intidote to poison. It is highly effective on neurotoxins (E.g.: Snake bite, insect bite which are neurotoxin) but it cannot show any effect of haemotoxinsi  XA type of toxin that can destroy red blood cells and cause blood clots while affecting other organs simultaneously. .

protip_icon Trivia
Naturalists in ancient Rome, namely Pedanius Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder, recommended combining rue with extracts of oleander (a poisonous shrub) and drinking the concoction as an antidote to snake bites.

Side Effects Of Rue

Rue, in all its forms, is poisonous, and should never be ingested directly (4), (5). But if one is careful about the amount, it can safely be used to cure a myriad of ailments. It has minor side effects which include:

  • Increased sensitivity to sun exposure
  • Dizziness
  • Rashes
  • Spasms
  • Mood changes
  • Sleeplessness
  • Stomach irritation

Karl, a vlogger, shared his love for rue. However, he experiences a reaction every time he touches it. He said, “When I mash it up, it has a funny sensation on the fingers; it makes the fingers kind of tingly, and so I do wash my hands pretty quickly afterwards (i).”

Rue is also associated with some serious side effects:

  • It can cause severe damage to the liver and kidneys. People with kidney/liver problems must not use any medicine/food related to rue for culinary use. Rue herbs also possess diuretic properties which can lead to dehydration if taken in excess.
  • If people with stomach and intestinal problems such as disturbed digestion, colitis, ulcers, constipation, and inflammatory bowel disease consume rue, it can worsen the problem.
  • Pregnant women must avoid rue in all its forms as it can cause miscarriage. Rue can be used for abortion but it can have serious effects on a woman’s health and can even lead to death.

No wonder that rue’s use has nose-dived in recent years. But if one is careful, and follows the prescription of a doctor, rue can still be used to get relief from several health conditions.

Infographic: Top 5 Benefits Of Using Rue Herb

Rue is an ancient herb used for centuries to treat different medical ailments. It contains essential compounds that also improve certain skin conditions and hair health. To help you out, we have rounded up the top 5 benefits of using the rue herb you should know about. Check out the infographic below to know more!

top 5 benefits of using rue herb (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Rue herb benefits are varied and plentiful. It is loaded with nutrients like antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that are beneficial to the body. It may help you sleep better, soothe muscle pain, and reduce inflammation. Rue has natural antibacterial and insecticidal properties. It is good for your hair and skin too. However, excess use can lead to side effects. Rue is poisonous and should not be consumed directly. Additionally, it can cause nausea, rashes, and spasms. If you experience any adverse effects, limit its use and visit your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is rue called the herb of grace?

Rue plant was believed to be effective in warding off evil spirits. Later on, it evolved into the Catholic practice of dipping rue branches in holy water and sprinkling on heads of parishioners as blessings giving it the name “Herb of grace”.

How do you make rue tea?

You can prepare rue tea by simply pouring enough boiling water over one gram of fresh plant or half a gram of dried plant.

How much rue is toxic?

Anything more than 0.5 to 1 g of the rue herb or 65 mg of the essential oil could be harmful.

Key Takeaways

  • Rue oil is used in soaps and cosmetics for fragrance.
  • The antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties may protect against skin infection, hair lice, and itching scalp.
  • It may relieve muscle pain, menstrual cramps, and joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It is an antidote to neurotoxins but excess consumption may be toxic.
  • It is not good for pregnant women and people with liver and kidney abnormalities.
rue herb benefits

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Embark on a captivating journey into the ancient world of herbal folklore and unravel the mystique surrounding rue and its fascinating historical significance in traditional medicine practices. Check out the below video.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Research Of Phenolic Compounds Of Ruta Graveolens L. And Stellaria Media (L.) Vill
  2. Ruta graveolens: Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, and Biotechnology
  3. Ruta Graveolens
  4. The Alarming Toxicity of Ruta Graveolens
  5. Silver Nanoparticle Production by Ruta graveolens and Testing Its Safety, Bioactivity, Immune Modulation, Anticancer, and Insecticidal Potentials
  6. In vitro SPF and Photostability Assays of Emulsion Containing Nanoparticles with Vegetable Extracts Rich in Flavonoids
  7. Effect of Aquatic, Methanolic and Ethanoliclic Extracts of Ruta graveolens on Some Mycotoxigenic Fungi
  8. Pediculicidal Activity of Hydroethanolic Extracts of Ruta graveolens, Melia azedarach and Sambucus australis
  9. Ruta graveolens, rue
  10. Medicinal plants with potential anti-arthritic activity
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