Hin: Pismaram, Sadab, Satari;
Mal: Aruta, Nagatali;
Tam: Aruvadam, Arvada;
Kan: Sadabu, Nagadali; soppu, Simesdanu;
Tel: Sadapa, Aruda
Importance: Common rue or Garden rue also known as Herb of Grace due to its service in the Roman Catholic Church for sprinkling the holy water among the congregation, is an aromatic perennial herb. The plant is useful in vitiated conditions of kapha and vata, strangury, fever, flatulence, colic, amenorrhoea, epilepsy and hysteria. The oil acts as a stimulant for uterine and nervous systems. The fresh leaves are used for rheumatalgia. The juice obtained from the leaves is given to children for helminthic infections and is good for odontalgia and otalgia (Warrier et al, 1996). The dried leaves, powdered and combined with aromatics, are given as a remedy for dyspepsia and with the fresh leaves a tincture is made which is used as an external remedy in the first stages of paralysis (Nadkarni, 1998).
Distribution: The plant is a native of South Europe and it is found in subtropical countries. It is commonly cultivated in Indian gardens.
Botany: Ruta chalepensis Linn.syn. R. graveolens Linn. var. angustifolia Sensu Hook. f. belongs to the family Rutaceae. It is an aromatic perennial herb growing upto 75cm height. Leaves are compound, shortly petiolate with ultimate segments oblong or obovate-oblong. Flowers are yellow. Fruits are capsules and shortly pedicelled (Warrier et al, 1996).
Agrotechnology: The plant is suited to areas which are about 1000m above mean sea level and with moderate rainfall and sunlight. The plant can be propagated either by seeds or stem cuttings. Seeds are to be sown in seedbeds. Stem cuttings of length 20-25cm are to be planted in polybags for rooting. About 3-4 months old seedlings can be transplanted to pots and harvested when plants attain 6-8 months age. In highlands land is to be ploughed to a fine tilth, mixed with organic manure and seedlings are to be transplanted at a spacing of 45cm between plants. Irrigation is essential during summer months. Regular weeding is to be done. The plant is not attacked by any serious pests and diseases. Harvesting commences from sixth month onwards. The economic part is the whole plant and the oil extracted from it (Prasad et al, 1997).
Properties and activity: Roots contain coumarins-xanthyletin and (-)-byakangelicin. The alkaloids are rutacridone-epoxide, gravacridonol and its monomethyl ether, gravacridonchlorine, furacridone, 1-hydroxy-3-methoxy-N-methylacridone, iso-gravacridonechlorine, dictamine, r-fragarine and skimmianine. Skimmianine is also present in leaves and stem. Leaves and stem also contain graveolinine (1-methyl-2(3’,4’-methylenedioxyphenol)-4-methoxy- quinoline). Aerial parts give coumarins bergapten, xanthotoxin and psoralen. Coumarin- imperatin has also been reported from the plant. Herb contains alkaloids such as kokusagenine, rutamine(methylgraveoline) and graveoline(1-methyl-2(3’,4’- methylenedioxyphenyl)-4-quinoline). Tissue culture of the plant gives furacridone alkaloids-1-hydroxyrutacridone-epoxide, rutagravin and gravacridonol. Gravacridondiol and its glucoside have been obtained from the root tissue culture. The essential oil from leaves, stem and root yielded aliphatic ketones including 2-nonanone (10-35%), undecyl-2-acetate (0.5-15%), 2-nonyl acetate (trace-10%), nonylacetate, nonanol, 2-nonylpropionate, 2- nonylpropionate, 2-undecanol and its esters. The oil from roots gave pregeijerene also.
The plant is spasmolytic which is due to the presence of bergapten, xanthotoxin, the essential oil and a coumarin. It is also antispasmodic, emmenagogue, irritant, abortifacient and anti-bacterial. Leaf is analgesic, antirheumatic, antihysteric and anthelmintic (Husain et al, 1992).