Ruta graveolens (Ruta)

Herb, Finely Shredded from Peru (SKU 3716)

Excellent quality and highly aromatic Ruta herb, finely shredded. Ethically and sustainably cultivated by small farmers around Lima, Peru. No pesticides or fertilizers used. 


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Rue has been used as a medicinal and "antimagic" herb for centuries. During the Middle Ages, it was considered a reliable defense against spells and witches, and reported to be an antidote to all dangerous poisons. Rue was hung in doorways and windows to keep evil spirits out and was given as a gift to the parents of newborns for protection.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Italians made amulets called "cimaruta" from tin or silver made to resemble the tops of Rue. The tip of each branch was decorated with fertility symbols: phalli, horns, solar disks, crescent moons, fish, and keys. Artists, including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, improved their creativity and eyesight by ingesting Rue. Other spiritual paths have recognized the potency of Rue as well. Early christians called it Herb of Grace because they asperged with it during exorcisms and before mass, and catholics used sprigs of it to sprinkle holy water on worshippers.

Rue belongs to the Rutaceae (Rue family). It is an aromatic plant native to southern Europe and northern Africa. It is commonly cultivated in Europe and the U.S., sometimes escaping to grow wild locally. It is a small evergreen subshrub or semiwoody perennial 60-90 cm tall and almost as wide. The stems become woody near the base, but remain herbaceous nearer the tips. The 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 1.3 cm across with four concave notched petals. The fruit is a roundish capsule, warted, and 4-lobed, each lobe opening into 2 valves.[3][4]

It is said that the Rue taken from your neighbor's garden will grow best.

The chemical composition is large and varied. Over 110 chemicals have been found in all parts of the plant, including fats, oils, flavanoids, alkaloids, essential oils and a host of others. The volatile oil is contained in glands distributed over the whole plant and contains caprinic, plagonic, caprylic and oenanthylic acids have been found. Rue contains max. 1% of an essential oil, whose main components are 2-hendecanone (2-undecanone, methylnonylketone, up to 60%) and 2-nonanone (methylheptylketone) plus several more ketones and corresponding secondary alcohols. Methyl anthranilate and anethole glycol are also reported; terpenoids are represented mainly by limonene, α-pinene, cuminaldehyd and l,8-cineol. Rue also contains flavonoids (including rutin), furanocoumarins (including bergapten), about 1.4% furoquinoline alkaloids (including fagarine, skimmianine, arborinine, and others).

Ruta has a bitter odor, with at the same time an incredible sweetness. It is one of those unusual scents that you either love or hate. 

Some people are allergic to Rue and get a skin rash from handling the plant. Especially on hot days, just brushing against Rue can cause water blisters and blotchy skin, much like Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). For some people, ingestion causes increased photosensitivity and can lead to severe sunburn. Ingesting large amounts of Rue can cause violent stomach pain, vomiting, and convulsions. Pregnant women should never ingest Rue.[1]

[1] Ruta graveolens, Floridata
[2] Rue - Ruta graveolens L, Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages
[3] Ruta, Rue., King's American Dispensatory
[4] Rue, A modern Herbal, by Maud Grieve

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This is a natural product, used as incense or in perfumery, or as an ingredient of incense and other perfumery or potpourri preparations.
Some incense plants or products may have some history of other folklore purposes, but we offer this product for its use as incense. Not food grade, not for consumption.

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