Detox Salve( RUE )

This creation of this salve was inspired by the year I studied the traditional medicine of New Mexico. In the American Southwest rue, lemon, and oregano are common medicinal herbs found in all kitchen gardens or spice cabinets. Most Hispanic families have an assigned elder that everyone goes to when there is illness, accident, or a traumatic event. In this system of healing well-being has a physical, emotional, spiritual, and community component. Community is not just limited to humans but also includes any sentient beings, ancestors and the land. When ethics, values, agreements, rules, and practices are not followed-rupture within the worldview occurs. Things become disconnected, lost and unbalanced. This causes disease to manifest so that we pay attention and make positive changes. Herbal medicine is part of a protocol of repair and renewal.

Rue is well know for clearing negative energies and trauma. In Hispanic cultures it is a common ingredient in spiritual cleansings. This plant is often used in treatments when there is “soul loss” or PTSD. It can be used externally as a spray, liniment, wash, or bath. It can be used internally as flower essence. I personally feel that it is too strong to be consumed in a tea or tincture. Rue is a powerful plant spirit that should be used with caution or experience in some cases. Many herbalist do not work with rue as people can be very sensitive to the plant’s qualities. Uses may be considered few and very specialized.

This is one of those “mother”plants in an herbalist’s garden. It may not grow for you. When it does it will be the largest, lushest, and oldest herb in your yard. Treat it with respect. Unexpectedly it may die or not come back after that last frost. After having a relationship with this one plant for many years, Rue decides her contract is done. She moves on. You have to start over and find another one to cultivate.

I like this salve for moving out of toxins and stagnation. When a serious accident or injury occurs it can be applied it to unbroken skin where there are bruises, swelling or pain. Massage it in lightly for torn tissues, ligaments and tendons or deeper for sore muscles.

For a salve, I start by making an infused oil. Fill a pint canning jar with equal parts of fresh rue and oregano. The qualities of both plants are very different and stronger when they are just picked from the garden. Rue, lemon, and oregano have very powerful essential oils that can deteriorate quickly if not preserved or stored properly. Next I add about 2 TBSP of fresh lemon peel. Then I fill the jar to the top with organic, pure Californian , olive oil. I let it set no more that 2 weeks before straining and bottling. Store in an amber bottle in a cool, dark, place. You can use any standard salve recipe with this oil or save it for other uses.

Latin name: Ruta graveoens

Spanish name: ruta/ruda

Botanical Family: Rutaceae (citrus/orange)

Parts used: aerial parts (leaves and flowers)

Energetics: bitter, pungent, warm, dry

Element: fire

Spiritual and Emotional Uses: For purification and protection. To support balance and boundaries when there is a toxic relationship. “Soul retrieval”. When ones emotional state includes self destructive behaviors.

Contraindications: allergic reaction/rash/skin and photo sensitivity to the freshly picked plant due to its volatile oils. Do not take during pregnancy or nursing. Not appropriate for thosetaking blood thinning medications or with liver disease. Internal overdose can cause vomiting/poisoning.

Rue is a small, aromatic, evergreen, perennial shrub with branched, glabrous “stems”. It will overwinter in cold climates but may fade in color, go dormant and loose leaves. It grows about 24 inches in height. Its blue green leaves are compound/pinnate, alternate, with spatulate leaflets. This plant has paniculate clusters of tiny yellow flowers with five petals. Rue prefers full sun and dry soil.

Historically rue has been used as a poultice, oil or salve to treat-neuralgia, poor circulation, rheumatism, tight muscles, earache, headache, eyestrain, sprains, sciatica, chilblains, sunburn, insect bites, nosebleed, spider and varicose veins. Internally it has been used to treat colic, bronchitis, colds, flu, fever, stomach disorders, indigestion, gas, gout, tinnitus, dizziness, menstrual cramps, blood stagnation in the uterus and other organs, nervous spasms, heart palpitations, hot flashes, seizures, Bell’s Palsy, paralysis, inflammation, and parasites.

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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