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Ruta graveolens (Rue) | by wallygrom
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Ruta graveolens (Rue)

From Wikipedia -

 

The Common Rue (Ruta graveolens), also known as Herb-of-Grace, is a species of rue grown as a herb. It is native to the Balkan Peninsula, southeastern Europe. It is sometimes grown 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 also is cultivated as a medicinal herb, as a condiment, and to a lesser extent as an insect repellent.

 

The caterpillars of the Papilio machaon butterfly species feed on rue, among other kinds of plants.

 

Common Rue is said to promote the onset of menstruation and of uterine contractions - for this reason the refined oil of rue was cited by the Roman historian Pliny the Elder and the gynecologist Soranus as a potent abortifacient (inducing abortion). Rue contains pilocarpine which is used in horses to induce abortion.

 

It is also used in Brazil as the key ingredient in homemade herbal cough syrup, when mashed with caramelized sugar and honey.

 

Exposure to Common Rue, or herbal preparations derived from it, can cause severe phytophotodermatitis which results in burn-like blisters on the skin.

 

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 (see also Plectranthus caninus).

 

Rue does have a culinary use if used sparingly, however it is incredibly bitter and severe gastric discomfort may be experienced by some individuals. Although used more extensively in former times, it is not an 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.

 

Rue leaves and berries are an important part of the cuisine of Ethiopia.

 

It is used as a traditional flavoring 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 times a little branch of the plant can be found in the bottle.

 

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.

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Taken on June 9, 2012