RUE (botanical name : RUTA GRAVEOLENS) is a small, evergreen shrub with woody stems and bluish-grey-green leaves. It is used as a flavouring agent in Greece and other Mediterranean countries. The leaves have an astringent or bitter taste, especially when dried. RUE can be used with sour, acidic foods, which help to tone down its bitterness such as tomato sauces and dishes with olives or capers. RUE leaves and berries are an important part of the cuisine of Ethiopia. Sometimes, RUE seeds are used to flavour porridge. In Italy, the young branches of the plant are dipped in a batter, deep-fried and consumed with salt or sugar.
RUE is one of the herbs mentioned in the New Testament. In some countries, holy water is sprinkled from brushes made of RUE at the ceremony usually preceding the Sunday of High Mass, for which reason it is called the HERB OF REPENTENCE and the HERB OF GRACE. RUE has a long history of use in both medicine and magic, and is considered a ‘protective herb’ in both disciplines.
The hardy evergreen shrub is mentioned by writers from Pliny to Shakespeare and beyond, as a ‘herb of remembrance’ of ‘warding’ and of ‘healing’. RUE was once believed to improve eyesight and creativity, and no less personages than Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo regularly ate the small, trefoil leaves to increase their own levels of creativity.
Since olden days, RUE has been used to ward off contagion and prevent attacks of fleas and other noxious insects. RUE juice is used to treat earache. It is believed that RUE is helpful in the treatment of hypertension, diabetes and allergic reactions. Tea made from RUE leaves is used to treat nervous headache, griping stomach ache, dizziness, cough, vertigo, palpitation, anxiety problems and high blood pressure.
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