Herbs & Plants

Ruta graveolens

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Botanical Name:Ruta graveolens L.
Family: Rutaceae
Genus: Ruta
Species: R. graveolens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Common name:Rue, Common rue or Herb-of-grace

Habitat:Ruta graveolens is native to the Balkan Peninsula, southeastern Europe. It is now grown throughout the world as an ornamental plant in gardens, especially because of its bluish leaves, and also sometimes for its tolerance of hot and dry soil conditions. It in nature grows on rocks, old walls and dry hills, mainly on limestone.

Ruta graveolens    is a small evergreen subshrub or semiwoody perennial plant which is 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) tall and almost as wide. The stems become woody near the base, but remain herbaceous nearer the tips. The 3-5 in (7.6-12.7 cm) long leaves are dissected pinnately into oblong or spoon shaped segments. They are somewhat fleshy and usually covered with a powdery bloom. The sea green foliage has a strong, pungent, rather unpleasant scent when bruised. The paniculate clusters of small yellow flowers appear in midsummer, held well above the foliage and often covering most of the plant. Each flower is about 0.5 in (1.3 cm) across with four concave notched petals. Rue usually grows in a compact, rounded to see the pictures.>…..(01).……..(1).…...(2)..(3)…...(4)…(5).....(6)…...(7)...

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Edible Uses: Rue does have a culinary use if used sparingly, but it is extremely bitter and severe gastric discomfort may be experienced by some individuals. Although used more extensively in former times, it is not a herb that typically suits modern tastes, and thus its use declined considerably over the course of the 20th century to the extent that it is today largely unknown to the general public and most chefs, and unavailable in grocery stores. In Italy, it is eaten in salads and used to make the alcoholic drink grappa all ruta. It can be simmered in coffee as they do in Ethiopia to add a lemony flavor. Small snippets of fresh rue can be added to meat and egg dishes during cooking
It is a  Roman cuisine (according to Apicius).
Rue leaves and berries are an important part of the cuisine of Ethiopia.

Rue is used as a traditional flavouring in Greece and other Mediterranean countries.
In Istria (a region in Croatia), and in Northern Italy, it is used to give a special flavour to grappa/raki and most of the time a little branch of the plant can be found in the bottle. This is called grappa alla ruta.

Seeds can be used for porridge.
The bitter leaf can be added to eggs, cheese, fish, or mixed with damson plums and wine to produce a meat sauce.
In Italy in Friuli Venezia-Giulia, the young branches of the plant are dipped in a batter, deep-fried in oil, and consumed with salt or sugar. They are also used on their own to aromatise a specific type of omelette.

Succeeds in any soil but is hardier in a poor dry soil. Prefers an open sunny position. Prefers a partially shaded sheltered dry position but succeeds in full sun. Prefers a well-drained or rocky soil. Likes some lime in the soil. Established plants are drought tolerant. Hardy to about -10°c, possibly to lower temperatures when it is grown in a dry soil. Often cultivated as a culinary and medicinal herb, there are some named varieties. 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. Rue is a poor companion plant for many other species, growing badly with sage, cabbage and sweet basil. It is a good companion for roses and raspberries. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it can also be sown in early to mid spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of young shoots in late spring. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Very easy. Layering in early summer. Old plants often self-layer

Chemical Constituents:
A series of furanoacridones and of two acridone alkaloids (arborinine and evoxanthine) can be isolated from Ruta graveolens.[9] It also contains coumarins and limonoids.

Cell cultures produces the coumarins umbelliferone, scopoletin, psoralen, xanthotoxin, isopimpinellin, rutamarin and rutacultin (6,7-dimethoxy- 3-(1,1-dimethylallyl)coumarin), and the alkaloids skimmianine, kokusaginine, 6-methoxydictamnine and edulinine (1-methyl-4-methoxy-3-[2,3-dihydroxy-3-methylbutyl]-2-quinolone).

The ethyl acetate extract of Ruta graveolens leaves yields two furanocoumarins, one quinoline alkaloid and four quinolone alkaloids.

The chloroform extracts of the root, stem and leaf shows the isolation of the furanocoumarin chalepensin.

The essential oil of R. graveolens contains two main constituents undecan-2-one (46.8%) and nonan-2-one (18.8%

Medicinal Uses:
Abortifacient;  Anthelmintic;  Antidiarrhoeal;  Antidote;  Antiinflammatory;  Antispasmodic;  Carminative;  Emetic;  Emmenagogue;  Expectorant;  Haemostatic;
Homeopathy;  Ophthalmic;  Rubefacient;  Stimulant;  Stomachic.

Rue has a long history of use as a domestic remedy, being especially valued for its strengthening action on the eyes. The plant contains flavonoids (notably rutin) that reduce capillary fragility, which might explain the plants reputation as an eye strengthener. Some caution is advised in its use internally, however, since in large doses it is toxic and it can also cause miscarriages. The whole herb is abortifacient, anthelmintic, antidote, antispasmodic, carminative, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, haemostatic, ophthalmic, rubefacient, strongly stimulant, mildly stomachic and uterotonic. The tops of fresh shoots are the most active medicinally, they should be gathered before the plant flowers and can be used fresh or dried. 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. An alkaloid found in the plant is abortifacient, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. A homeopathic remedy is obtained from the fresh herb, harvested in early summer shortly before flowering begins. This is used in the treatment of a variety of complaints including eye strain, headache and sprains

Other Uses:
Rue is also grown as an ornamental plant, both as a low hedge and so the leaves can be used in nosegays. Most cats dislike the smell of it, and it can therefore be used as a deterrent to them . Dried rue repels insects such as fleas and lice and is good to tuck into pet bedding.

Caterpillars of some subspecies of the butterfly Papilio machaon feed on rue, as well as other plants.

Caterpillars of some subspecies of the butterfly Papilio machaon feed on rue, as well as other plants.

Known Hazards   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.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


Herbs & Plants

Ruscus aculeatus

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Botanical Name: Ruscus aculeatus
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Nolinoideae
Genus: Ruscus
Species: R. aculeatus
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms:  Ruscus flexuosus. Ruscus laxus. Ruscus parasiticus. Ruscus ponticus

Common Names:Butcher’s Broom,Kneeholy, Knee Holly, Kneeholm,Jew’s Myrtle,Sweet Broom,Pettigree, Hare’s apple (in greek)

Habitat :Ruscus aculeatus is native to western and southern Europe from Britain to Switzerland, south to the Mediterranean. It occurs in woodlands and hedgerows, where it is tolerant of deep shade, and also on coastal cliffs. It is also widely planted in gardens, and has spread as a garden escape in many areas outside its native range.

Ruscus aculeatus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a slow rate  with flat shoots known as cladodes that give the appearance of stiff, spine-tipped leaves.
It is hardy to zone 7. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jan to April, and the seeds ripen from Aug to March. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is not self-fertile.


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The female flowers are followed by a red berry, and the seeds are bird-distributed, but the plant also spreads vegetatively by means of rhizomes

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay and nutritionally poor soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Tolerant of most soils, including chalky and heavy clay soils. Prefers a shady position, tolerating dense dry shade and bad growing conditions, including the drip-line of trees. Dislikes much wetness at the roots. Established plants are drought resistant. A very hardy plant, when fully dormant it can tolerate temperatures down to about -25°c. Plants have a slowly creeping tough rootstock and eventually form large clumps. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Plants are unusual in that the flowers are produced from the middle of the leaf. Although normally dioecious, some hermaphrodite forms are known. One of these is called ‘Sparkler’. Male and female plants must usually be grown if seed is required.

Seed – sow the seed thinly in early spring in a cold frame in light shade. The seed germinates better if it is given a period of cold stratification. Germination can be rather slow, sometimes taking 12 months or more. Grow the seedlings on in the pot in light shade in the greenhouse for their first growing season, giving occasional liquid feeds to ensure they do not suffer nutrient deficiencies. Prick them out into individual pots in the following spring and grow them on for at least another year in the pots before planting them out in early summer. Be very sure to protect the seedlings from slugs. Division as the plant comes into growth in early spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Edible Uses:
Young shoots – cooked. They are harvested in the spring as they grow through the soil and used as an asparagus substitute. The taste is pungent and rather bitter. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute

Medicinal Uses:
Antipruritic;  Aperient;  Deobstruent;  Depurative;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Vasoconstrictor.

Butcher’s broom has been known to enhance blood flow to the brain, legs, and hands. It has been used to relieve constipation and water retention and improve circulation. Since Butcher’s broom tightens blood vessels and capillaries, it is used to treat varicose veins.

It is also used for hemorrhoids. In a 1999 open-label (not blinded) clinical trial, the herb was tested as a hemorrhoid treatment and showed statistically significant positive results It also showed reduction in venous insufficiency in two other studies. It was approved by the German Commission E guidelines for hemorrhoids treatment It is occasionally prescribed for varicose veins which can be a complication of pregnancy. However, since it is classified as a natural product, there is no evidence or trials to suggest complete safety for the fetus. A qualified healthcare practitioner should be consulted prior to using this compound during pregnancy.

A study published in 1999 suggested that Butcher’s Broom may also improve symptoms of postural hypotension without increasing supine blood pressure. Suggested mechanisms to explain this include stimulation of venous alpha 1 and 2 adrenoreceptors and decreased capillary permeability.

Other Uses  
Broom;  Scourer.

Mature shoots are bound into bunches and used as scourers or as besoms.

Known Hazards:   The berries are purgative. Caution required if used in patients on treatment for high blood pressure. An increase in tone of veins can influence blood pressure allowing more blood to flow to the heart.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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