Goats Rue (Galega officinalis)
Goats rue is native to Europe and the east coast of North America, although it has been found as far east as Japan. It grows in most soil types. In some places, it is considered invasive. The plant grows spikes of pea-like flowers that range in color from white to lavender. There may be up to 200 flowers per plant. The plant will fix nitrogen into the soil, which can benefit plants growing nearby. This herb has been used medicinally since at least the Middle Ages, and was used at that time to treat the plague.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Goat's rue is used to treat intestinal worms, relieve fevers and to cure snakebite. It helps nursing mothers increase milk production. It also has potential as a treatment for diabetes, as it lowers blood sugar levels. While it is not used instead of normal diabetic remedies, it is recommended in the early stages to help control symptoms. It is also diuretic. Native Americans used this herbal remedy as an aphrodisiac and to treat impotency. They also used it to restore health and beauty to women.
Externally Not used externally.
Other Uses Goat's rue was first used to increase milk production in goats and cattle. It also has a compound in it that is a natural cheese rennet and will clot milk for the cheese-making process. It has also been used as fodder for livestock. It was once used as a shampoo to prevent loss of hair. The root of the plant is the source of the insecticide "rotenone" that is often used against flying insects.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Goat's rue can be combined with fenugreek to make a formula to lower blood sugar.
Flowers, leaves, seeds, stem The flower, leaf, seed and stem are all used from the plant.
Goat's rue may interact with diabetes medications that control blood sugar, so do not take it at the same time without your physician's knowledge.
Preparation and Dosage
Goat's rue blooms in July and August, so the leaves, stalks and flowers are harvested at that time. The dried herb is then used for infusions and tinctures. An infusion can be made by steeping a teaspoon of dried herb in a cup of boiling water. Let the herb steep for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain the liquid and allow it to cool before drinking. Taking this infusion twice a day is the normal recommendation. For a tincture, a dose of 1 to 2 ml can be taken three times per day.