"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts. There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue for you; and here's some for me: we may call it herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died: they say he made a good end..." Ophelia in Hamlet
Common Rue is a small shrub native to Europe. It is a strong, bitter, herb and has been used for culinary and medicinal uses for hundreds of years. In Medieval times it was thought to ward off the plague, witches and lice and was used to treat snakebites. Later it was said to improve eyesight and creativity; it is said that many famous Renaissance artists ate it to improve their skills.Too much rue can poison a person but in the 1600s it was used as an antidote for poison. It was also used to cure arthritis. If you are cut, and touch it, blisters will form. It used to be used sparely in Middle Eastern foods and is currently used in Ethiopian dishes. It currently seen in European gardens as it creates neat hedgerows and is cropped easily.