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Goat’s Rue

    Scientific Names

    Goat's Rue
    • Galega officinalis L.
    • Pea family

    Common Names

    ivyGoat’s Rue
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    Parts Usually Used

    The plant
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Goat’s rue is a perennial plant; the thick, spreading root system sends up a bushy growth consisting of many hollow, striated stems bearing alternate, odd-pinnate leaves with 6-8 pairs of ovate, entire leaflets which tend to fold together. The lilac to white flowers appear in spikes from June to September. Seeds are borne in long, erect pods.

    Another herb goes by the name of goat’s rue (Tephrosia virginiana). It is also of the pea family. It is a silky-hairy perennial, 1-2 feet high, leaves pinnate; 17-29 leaflets. Flowers are bi-colored (yellow base, pink wings); blooms May to August. The seedpod is hairy. May cause contact dermatitis. Contains the insecticide rotenone. Seeds are toxic.
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    Where Found

    Grows wild in southern Europe and western Asia and is cultivated in Europe and the United States.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Diaphoretic, diuretic, galactagogue
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    An Old World plant.
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    Not commonly used today. In the past it was used for fevers, worms and was believed to cure bites from poisonous animals. An extract of the dried plant is sometimes used to stimulate the flow of milk in nursing mothers. The seeds lower blood sugar and stimulates insulin; may be useful for diabetes.
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    Sheep have been poisoned by the fresh plant.

    Use only under medical supervision.
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    Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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