Goat's Rue

Goat's Rue, Herb

Galega officinale Also called Galega, French lilac.

Growing wild in southern Europw and part of asia, goat's rue is a bushy perennial that can reach a height of 1-1.5m. If brusied , the leaves consist of six to eight green leftets and blue , pink or white, butterfly- shaped flowers appear all summer. When ripe , its long seedpod twist and burst open to scatter the seeds.

Parts used


The flowers are collected when they are in full bloom between July and September.

Once dried, they are used in infusions, powders and tinctures.


The alkaloid galegine and its derivatives, are found throughout the plant. Goat's rue also contains chromium, flavonoids and tannins, which effect the clotting of blood.

Medicinal uses

Goat's rue can be useful as a supplementary treatment for Type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes as it is rich in chromium which helps to combat the body's inability to absorb glucose Also. animal studies in Scotland have shown that Its galegine can lower blood sugar levels. While the herb's helpful, it is important that a diabetic patient also adheres to any prescribed regular courses of medication.

In addition. the Scottish research noted the ability of galegine to reduce appetite suggesting its potential for use in weight control. Goats rue IS also recommended for digestive problems and is known to relieve chronic constipation. It is adiuretic, helping to prevent swelling resulting from fluid retention, and can increase perspiration as well. Galegine is also responsible forthe plant's antibacterial powers as shown by scientists in India in 2001. This, combined with the known anti-inflammatory effect of its flavonoids, may explain why goat's rue is sometimes used to treat fever.


Preparations containing goat's rue should only be taken in consultation with a doctor or medical herbalist. As high doses are potentially toxic, it is very important to observe the exact dosages prescribed.


Goat's rue can be grown from seed, planted in autumn. It is suited to deep. moist, well-drained soil, and should be positioned in the sun or a lightly shaded spot 


As goat's rue can react adversely, especially to seek medical advice before using the plant. 

Prescribed doses of goat's rue must be closely adhered to since excessive consumption can lead to dangerous reductions in blood sugar.

Although goal's rue preparations are sometimes prescribed to increase breast milk production, it is best to av Ad them, until toxicity studies have been undertaken. Toxicity in Ihe milk of lactating sheep has been reported

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