Rue (Rutae folium, herba)

Published March 2, 1989.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Rutae folium, rue leaf.
Rutae herba, rue herb.

Composition of Drug

Rue leaf consists of the dried leaf of Ruta graveolens L. ssp. vulgaris Willkomm [Fam. Rutaceae], as well as preparations thereof.

Rue herb consists of the dried, above-ground parts of R. graveolens L. ssp. vulgaris Willkomm, as well as preparations thereof.


Preparations of rue herb and/or leaf are used for menstrual disorders and discomforts, as a uterine stimulant and for abortion; furthermore for loss of appetite and dyspeptic complaints, circulatory disorders, arteriosclerosis, palpitation of the heart, for nervousness, hysteria, fever, pleurisy, headache, neuralgic afflictions, toothache, weakness of the eyes and respiratory complaints. It is also used internally and externally for ailments and discomforts of arthritic conditions, for dislocations, sprains, injuries of the bone, for skin diseases, and as an antispasmodic, diuretic and inflammatory agent.

The effectiveness for the claimed applications is not verified.


Rue oil can cause contact dermatitis in humans.

Furthermore, phototoxic reactions causing dermatoses have been described. Severe liver and kidney damage is also documented.

The herb contains furanocoumarins which have phototoxic and mutagenic actions.

Deaths of pregnant women have been reported upon usage of rue for abortion.

Therapeutic dosages can cause the following side effects:

Melancholic moods, sleep disorders, tiredness, dizziness, and spasms.

The juice of fresh leaves can lead to painful irritations of the stomach and intestines, fainting, sleepiness, low pulse, abortion, swelling of the tongue and clammy skin.


A therapeutic administration must be declined since the effectiveness for the claimed applications is not documented, and because of the unfavorable ratio of benefit to risk.