Is Rue Poisonous? Find Out the Truth About This Common Herb

Is Rue Poisonous? It’s a question that’s been asked countless times over the years and one that still has yet to find a definitive answer. Rue, also known as Ruta Graveolens, is an aromatic herb that’s been used in various traditional medicines for centuries. However, as with all things natural, some have questioned whether it’s safe to consume or not. So, is rue poisonous? The answer, it seems, lies somewhere in the middle.

Rue has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes throughout history, from treating headaches to menstrual problems. It’s even been used as an insect repellent due to its strong smell. However, despite its apparent benefits, there have been concerns over its safety when consumed in large quantities. Some studies have suggested that it may cause liver and kidney damage if ingested in high doses, while others have linked it to skin and eye irritation. So, while rue may have its benefits, it’s clear that there are also potential risks associated with consuming it.

Despite the uncertainties surrounding rue and its potential toxicity, many people still use it as a natural remedy for various ailments. Some swear by its effectiveness in treating migraines, while others claim it helps with digestion. Ultimately, whether or not rue is poisonous is a matter of perspective. For some, the benefits may outweigh the risks, while others may prefer to err on the side of caution. Whatever your standpoint, it’s important to approach natural remedies with an open mind and an informed understanding of their potential effects.

Symptoms of Rue Poisoning

Rue, also known as Ruta Graveolens, is a plant commonly used in herbal medicine and as a spice. However, consuming this plant in large amounts or for prolonged periods can lead to rue poisoning. The symptoms of rue poisoning can vary depending on the amount consumed and the individual’s tolerance to the plant.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory failure (in severe cases)

The symptoms of rue poisoning typically appear within two to four hours after ingestion and can last up to 48 hours. If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming rue, seek medical attention immediately.

Rue: History and Cultivation

Rue has been used for medicinal and culinary purposes for thousands of years. It is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region and was used by the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. In the Middle Ages, rue was a popular remedy for a variety of ailments, including headaches, epilepsy, and indigestion.

Rue was also believed to have magical properties and was used to ward off evil spirits and protect against the plague. It was often used in religious ceremonies and was considered a symbol of repentance and grace.


  • Rue is a hardy perennial plant that can grow up to 2-3 feet tall.
  • It prefers a sunny location with well-draining soil.
  • Rue is propagated by seeds or cuttings.
  • Seeds should be planted in early spring or fall, while cuttings can be taken in early summer.
  • Rue requires minimal care and can be harvested throughout the growing season.
  • The leaves and stems of rue can be dried and stored for later use.

Medicinal Uses

Rue contains a variety of compounds that have been shown to have medicinal properties. It is commonly used to treat digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, and constipation. It is also used to alleviate menstrual cramps and to reduce inflammation and pain in the joints.

Rue has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antispasmodic properties, and may also have antibiotic and antiviral effects.

Culinary Uses

Rue has a strong, pungent flavor that is often used in small amounts to add a bitter note to dishes. It is a common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, particularly in Italy and Spain.

Risotto allo Zafferano con RutaThis Italian dish combines rice, saffron, and rue for a unique and flavorful meal.
Tortilla de Camarones con RutaThis Spanish dish features shrimp and rue in an omelet-style tortilla.
Salade de RutaThis French salad includes rue, lettuce, and other herbs for a refreshing and healthy meal.

While rue can add flavor and depth to dishes, it should be used in moderation as it can be toxic in large amounts. It is important to consult a healthcare provider before using rue medicinally.

Medicinal Uses of Rue

Rue, also known as Ruta graveolens, is a perennial herb with a pungent, bitter taste and a strong odor. It has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Rue contains various active compounds, including alkaloids, flavonoids, and essential oils, that have been found to have numerous health benefits.

  • Treatment of Digestive Disorders: Rue has been used traditionally to treat several digestive disorders, including indigestion, diarrhea, and flatulence. The herb stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, which aids in digestion and helps to alleviate gastrointestinal problems.
  • Treatment of Respiratory Disorders: Rue has been used to treat respiratory problems, including asthma and cough. The herb contains compounds that have bronchodilatory and expectorant properties, which helps to reduce inflammation and promote the removal of mucus from the lungs.
  • Treatment of Menstrual Disorders: Rue has been used for centuries to treat menstrual disorders, including painful periods, irregular periods, and excessive bleeding. The herb contains compounds that have an antispasmodic effect on the uterus, which helps to reduce pain and cramps.

In addition to the above uses, rue has been found to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It has also been used to treat skin conditions such as warts and psoriasis, as well as to relieve joint pain and muscle cramps.

While rue has a long history of medicinal use, it should be noted that the herb is toxic in high doses and should only be used under the direction of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, and individuals with liver or kidney disease should avoid using rue altogether.

Medicinal PropertiesCompounds Found in Rue
AntibacterialAlkaloids (rutin, pilocarpine)
AntifungalFlavonoids (quercetin, rutin)
AntiviralEssential oils (methyleugenol, eucalyptol)

Overall, rue has numerous medicinal properties and has been used for centuries to treat a variety of health problems. However, it is important to use caution when using this herb and to seek advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner to ensure safe and effective use.

Side Effects of Rue Consumption

Rue is a herbaceous plant known for its medicinal properties. However, it contains a toxic compound called psoralen, which can cause side effects when consumed in large amounts. Some of the major side effects of rue consumption are:

  • Digestive Problems: Rue can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting when consumed in large amounts. It can also cause inflammation of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract.
  • Photosensitivity: Psoralen in rue can cause skin sensitivity to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight can cause blisters, burns, and pigmentation on the skin.
  • Respiratory Problems: Rue can cause respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath when inhaled. It can also cause irritation and inflammation of the respiratory tract.

It is important to note that rue is not recommended for pregnant women as it can cause miscarriage. It can also cause uterine contractions and may lead to premature labor. People with a history of liver or kidney disease should also avoid consuming rue.

Side EffectsSymptoms
Digestive ProblemsStomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, inflammation of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract
PhotosensitivitySkin sensitivity to sunlight, blistering, burns, pigmentation
Respiratory ProblemsCoughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, irritation and inflammation of the respiratory tract

In conclusion, rue consumption can have adverse effects on the body when consumed in large amounts. It is important to be cautious when using rue as a medicinal herb and to consult with a healthcare professional before usage.

Potential Benefits of Rue Essential Oil

Rue essential oil, also known as Ruta Graveolens, is a highly valued essential oil with various potential benefits. It is extracted through steam distillation from the aerial parts of the Rue plant, which is native to the Mediterranean region and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.

  • Relieves muscle pain: Rue essential oil is known for its analgesic properties, which can help to relieve muscle pain, stiffness, and cramps. It can be used topically by diluting with a carrier oil or added to bath water for a relaxing soak.
  • Improves digestion: Rue essential oil can stimulate digestion and relieve indigestion, bloating, and flatulence. It can be applied topically or ingested in small doses after consulting with a healthcare professional.
  • Alleviates menstrual cramps: Rue essential oil can be used as a natural remedy for menstrual cramps due to its anti-spasmodic properties. It can be applied topically in a carrier oil or added to a warm compress and placed on the abdomen.

In addition, Rue essential oil has been found to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, which may make it useful for a variety of health conditions. However, it is important to note that essential oils should be used with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Here is a table summarizing the potential benefits of Rue essential oil:

Potential BenefitsUses
Relieves muscle painTopical, bath
Improves digestionTopical, oral
Alleviates menstrual crampsTopical, warm compress
AntimicrobialTopical, diffuser
Anti-inflammatoryTopical, diffuser
AntioxidantTopical, diffuser

Overall, Rue essential oil has the potential to offer various health benefits, but caution should be exercised during use. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before using essential oils, especially during pregnancy, and for children or individuals with specific medical conditions.

Rue and its Role in Traditional Medicine

Rue, also known as Ruta graveolens, is a plant that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It has various uses, such as treating menstrual cramps, easing headaches, and reducing inflammation.

However, rue also contains toxic compounds that can cause severe side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and even death. Let’s explore rue’s role in traditional medicine more closely, including both its benefits and pitfalls.

The Benefits of Rue in Traditional Medicine

  • Relieving Menstrual Cramps: Rue is often used to relieve painful menstrual cramps. Its antispasmodic properties can help to ease muscle tension and reduce the severity of cramps.
  • Easing Headaches: Rue’s analgesic properties can help to ease headaches and migraines. It is often used in combination with other herbs, such as lavender and chamomile, for maximum effect.
  • Reducing Inflammation: Rue contains compounds that can help to reduce inflammation, making it useful for treating conditions such as arthritis and gout.

The Risks of Rue in Traditional Medicine

While rue has many benefits, it is also important to be aware of its potential risks. Rue contains a toxic compound called psoralen, which can cause severe side effects when taken in large amounts or over an extended period of time.

Some of the potential side effects of rue include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea and stomach cramps
  • Photosensitivity (increased sensitivity to sunlight)
  • Seizures
  • Coma or death

Rue should not be used by pregnant or nursing women, as it can cause uterine contractions and may be harmful to the developing fetus or infant. It should also be avoided by individuals taking certain medications, as it can interact with them and cause serious health problems.


While rue has many potential benefits, it is important to use it with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Always be aware of the potential risks and side effects before using rue in any form.

Relieves menstrual crampsNausea and vomiting
Eases headachesDiarrhea and stomach cramps
Reduces inflammationPhotosensitivity
Seizures, coma, and death

Remember that rue should never be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment or advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before using any herbs or supplements, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking any medications.

Comparing Rue to Other Plants with Poisonous Properties.

While rue is certainly toxic and can cause a range of symptoms in humans and animals, it is important to remember that there are many other plants out there that can also be dangerous if consumed or handled in a certain way. Here are a few examples:

  • Castor bean – The seeds of the castor bean plant contain ricin, which can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, seizures, and even death.
  • Foxglove – The flowers, leaves, and seeds of the foxglove plant contain digitalis, which can cause heart palpitations, nausea, and confusion. It can also be deadly if consumed in large enough quantities.
  • Poison hemlock – This plant contains coniine, which can cause respiratory failure and death in high enough doses. It is often mistaken for wild parsley or wild carrot.

As you can see, many of these plants have unique toxic properties that make them dangerous to humans and animals. Rue is no exception, and it is important to always handle it with care and caution.

Here is a table comparing some of the toxic properties of rue to those of other poisonous plants:

Plant NameToxic Properties
RuePhotosensitivity, gastrointestinal irritation, increased heart rate, seizures
Castor beanRicin – severe gastrointestinal symptoms, seizures, death
FoxgloveDigitalis – heart palpitations, nausea, confusion, death
Poison hemlockConiine – respiratory failure, death

It is clear to see that each of these plants has its own unique properties and dangers, but they all have one thing in common: they should be handled with care and caution to avoid any potential harm.

FAQs About Is Rue Poisonous

1. Is it safe to consume rue?

No, rue is not safe to consume in large quantities. It contains various toxic compounds that can cause serious health issues.

2. What are the symptoms of rue poisoning?

The symptoms of rue poisoning can vary depending on the type and amount of toxin ingested. However, common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, seizures, and even death in severe cases.

3. Can rue be used medicinally?

Yes, rue has been used medicinally for centuries to treat various ailments. But, it should only be used under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

4. Is rue toxic to pets?

Yes, rue is toxic to cats and dogs. Even a small amount of rue can cause serious health issues in pets.

5. Can rue be used as a pesticide?

Yes, rue can be used as an insecticide for some plants. However, it should not be used on vegetables or fruits that will be consumed.

6. How should I handle rue to avoid poisoning?

When handling rue, it is important to wear gloves and avoid touching your face or mouth. Additionally, wash your hands thoroughly after handling rue.

7. Is there an antidote for rue poisoning?

No, there is no specific antidote for rue poisoning. Treatment involves supportive care and addressing the specific symptoms.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading our article about is rue poisonous. It is important to understand the potential dangers of this plant and to exercise caution when handling or consuming it. If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out. And, be sure to check back for more informative articles in the future!