Yesterday, we talked about rue as a cat repellent for your altar and today we are going to talk about it even more practically. Known as “the herb of grace,” the usage and history behind rue is varied. It was much more widely known in more romantic times. Although not used much here in food in the United States, it’s used widely in Ethiopian, Greek, Lithuanian, and Mediterranean cuisine for it’s bitter flavors. The seeds can even be used to make a magic porridge that’s just right – even for a brat like Goldilocks! But aside from it’s flavor, rue is a very magical plant.
A masculine plant ruled by Mars and the fire elements, sniffing it’s fresh leaves helps clear your mind and raise mental powers. This is another reason it is a great altar and work-area plant. It’s most popular use is for protection. In fact, bathing with it lifts hexes and cleanses you of negative energy. Given it’s protective properties, it should come as no surprise that there are many health benefits to this plant too. Rue is used in all kinds of healing magic. It’s energy is very focused on well-being so it is said to quicken recovery and keep health problems away from it’s the owner, although conversely, it is said to grow thicker and more brilliantly when stolen from another person’s garden! I’m pretty sure this is an old witch’s tale, but I doubt anyone would be mad if you took a clipping from their flower bed. It grows fairly quickly from my short experience with it. The fresh, raw leaves can be ground into a thin paste and painted on the forehead to relieve headaches too. I am plagued by terrible migraines, so this is of special interest to me. Peppermint leaves are also great for this, so you could grind both together for an extra strength version of this paste. I must warn, though, not to handle it too much during really hot temperatures or eat it in really large amounts – like as a salad on it’s own, as rue’s toxicity at heated or high levels can cause blisters or be poisonous.