Goat’s rue is one of many herbal remedies with the ability to reduce blood sugar levels. It is thus potentially indicated in diabetes mellitus. It cannot replace insulin therapy, however, and should be used only under professional supervision.
Goat’s rue is also an effective galactagogue. It stimulates both the production and flow of breast milk and has been shown to increase milk output by up to 50% in some cases. It may also spur the development of the mammary glands.
Italian Fitch; Herba ruta caprariae; Geissraute, Geissklee, Pestilenzkraut (German); Galéga officinal (French); French lilac.
Goat’s Rue, known in the old Herbals as Herba rutae caprariae, is a leguminous plant that in former times was much employed on account of its diaphoretic properties in malignant fevers and the plague, hence one of its popular German names of Pestilenzkraut. Its scientific name comes from the Greek word gala, meaning milk.
Amines (galegine, 4-hydroxygalegine, peganine); flavonoids; saponins
Hypoglycemic, diuretic, galactagogue.
Diabetes mellitus, poor lactation.
Goat’s rue is chiefly used as an antidiabetic herb, having the ability to reduce blood sugar levels. It is not a substitute for conventional treatments but can be valuable in the early stages of late-onset diabetes, and is best used as an infusion. In therapeutic dosage, a response is gradual over a period of time. If the patient is on insulin therapy, the insulin must be continued. The dosage may be adjusted according to the usual criteria (glucose concentration in blood and urine).
Goat’s rue has shown to have hypoglycemic activity by enhancing glucose utilization. It was researched in the early 1920’s as a possible therapy which led to the development of antidiabetic biguanide drugs. These drugs had numerous side effects which the whole plant did not produce. A study in 1961 found that galega actually regenerated pancreatic cells. .
Goat’s Rue has the effect of increasing breast-milk production. It may also stimulate the development of the mammary glands. Has been used with some success in stimulating milk production in women that have not been pregnant but adopted a child.
- Dietary goat’s rue reduced serum glucose and body weight in both normal and genetically obese mice when compared with controls. Serum insulin was significantly reduced only in obese animals. Weight loss was associated with a persistent reduction in food intake by obese animals and an initial reduction in normal animals. However, weight loss in normal animals was then maintained, even with increased food intake above the control level.
- Early clinical research demonstrated hypoglycemic activity for goat’s rue. Unlike the biguanide drugs, the herb did not have unpleasant side effects.
- In an early controlled trial, nursing mothers receiving a preparation containing goat’s rue extract and mineral salts (dose undefined) produced a more significant increase in colostrum volume (125%) between the third and fifth days after delivery than did women not receiving the preparation (75% increase). The amount of milk, but not the percentage of milk solids, had increased by the fifth day in the treated group.
Dosage (Divided Daily)
• Dried Powder: 3,000 – 6,000mg
• Tincture: 3 – 6 mL (1:1)
Interactions with other drugs
- Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: herbal formulations for the individual patient. St. Louis, MI: Churchill Livingstone.
- British Herbal Medicine Association. Scientific Committee. (1983). British herbal pharmacopoeia (Consolidated ed.). West Yorkshire: British Herbal Medicine Association.
- Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.
- Herbalpedia (2013)
- Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: the science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, Vt.: Healing Arts Press.
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