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

Effect of common rue on skin in hot weather

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.[6]


Caution should be taken with using rue topically. Applied to the skin with sun exposure, the oil and leaves can cause blistering.[10] Some people are much more sensitive than others.