Ruta (commonly known as rue) is a genus of strongly scented evergreen subshrubs, 20–60 cm tall, in the family Rutaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, Macaronesia and southwest Asia. There are perhaps 8 to 40 species in the genus. The most well-known species is Ruta graveolens (rue or common rue).

The leaves are bipinnate or tripinnate, with a feathery appearance, and green to strongly glaucous blue-green in colour. The flowers are yellow, with 4–5 petals, about 1 cm diameter, and borne in cymes. The fruit is a 4–5-lobed capsule, containing numerous seeds.

Medicinal uses

Extracts from rue have been used to treat eyestrain, sore eyes, and as insect repellent.[3] Rue has been used internally as an antispasmodic, as a treatment for menstrual problems, as an abortifacient, and as a sedative.[4] Ruta graveolens and Ruta chalepensis are often confused in scientific literature.[13]


Caution should be taken with using rue topically. Applied to the skin with sun exposure, the oil and leaves can cause blistering.[17] Some people are much more sensitive than others.