Bushy perennial growing to about 3 ft (1 m) in height. Goat’s rue has compound leaves with lance-shaped leaflets and delicate pink pea-type flowers on terminal spikes, and produces red-brown seed pods in autumn.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to Asia and continental Europe, and naturalized in Britain, goat’s rue grows in damp and low-lying areas. It is harvested in summer.
Goat’s rue contains alkaloids (including galegine), lectins, flavonoids, and tannins. Galegine strongly reduces blood-sugar levels.
History & Folklore
Formerly used as a treatment for the plague, goat’s rue has been widely cultivated as a cattle feed.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Today, goat’s rue is chiefly used as an anti-diabetic herb, having the ability to reduce blood-sugar levels. It is not a substitute for conventional drugs, but can be valuable in the early stages of type 2 diabetes and is best used as an infusion. The herb has the effect of increasing breast-milk production. It is also a useful diuretic.
Use as part of the treatment of diabetes only under professional supervision.