Rue, also called herb of grace, is an old-fashioned garden plant, but a well-known medicinal and culinary herb used in ancient times throughout the Mediterranean. Both the Greeks and Romans used it to cure countless conditions, as well as in several magic rituals. During the Middle Ages, it was touted for improving eyesight, overall health and creativity, and as an aphrodisiac. Rue also has a protective function: Its strong scent (graveolens is Latin for ‘having a strong smell’) has been known to be effective in repelling snakes, insects – and even evil spirits! Today, this herb is used in Italian liqueurs, including the famous grappa alla ruta.
A common ingredient in liqueurs and witchcraft spells
Height 60 cm
Width 60 cm
Height 30 cm
Width 30 cm
Mint, basil, lavender, alpine strawberries
How to grow
Indoor Not required
Germination 10-20 days
Harvesting 30-60 days
When sowing 5 cm; Depth 0,5 cm
When thinning 10 cm
Sunligth Full sun
Soil Well drained soil
Watering Regular watering, allow to dry out
Feeding Light feeder
Expert tip Rue can be toxic when eaten in large quantities and can produce severe stomach cramping, so don’t try to cook with it. Furthermore, topical exposure to common rue can cause severe burn-like blisters on some people’s skin.
Pollinators A variety of caterpillars love this plant!
Pests Repels insects, evil spirits, cats, dogs and snakes
How to eat
It’s best to harvest rue before it flowers because once the plant flowers, the essential oils diminish. Harvest rue in the early morning. The cuttings then can be used immediately, dried or kept for use for up to a week.
Medicinal properties Among others uses, the plant’s leaves have been used to treat insect bites.
How to eat Wash and dry some sprigs and put them in a bottle of grappa. Leave them to infuse for at least two months until the alcohol gradually absorbs the rue’s aroma and colour, then enjoy a bicchierino (small glass) or two after a substantial meal.