Ruta / Wijnruit

Wijnruit, wonderlijke plant

De wijnruit, Ruta graveolens L., is de meest bekende plant van het geslacht Ruta. Er zijn wel 60 soorten die vooral thuis zijn op de Canarische Eilanden, in geheel Midden-Europa en rond de Middellandse Zee. De betekenis van de naam Ruta is nogal onzeker. Al in de oudheid heeft men planten met 'ruitvormige' bladeren of bladslippen zo genoemd. Het tweede deel van de naam 'graveolens' is dan veel duidelijker, het betekent zwaar en onaangenaam reukend. Ruta graveolens stinkt, beweren sommigen.Het is een grijsgroene, ongeveer een halve meter hoge, stijve plant met fijn verdeeld blad en geelgroene, vrij grote bloemen. Op de top van de vertakkingen van de bloeiwijze staat een bloem met 5 gele, lange kroonbladen. of een vijf-lobbige vrucht; deze vijftallige bloem is aan weerszijden ver gezeld van een viertallige bloem; het is een hoge uitzonde ring in de wereld der planten dat vijf- en viertallige bloemen tegelijk voorkomen. Door deze signatuur werden dan ook aan wijnruit bijzondere krachten toegeschreven.

Wijnruit bewoont de droge, zonnige rotshellingen van het Middellandse-Zeegebied maar is allerwegen in cultuur en in India kwam het zozeer in de volksgunst, dat in de meeste moestuintjes wel een paar planten gekweekt werden. In Europa hebben de Romeinen hem - met mate - denkelijk wel in de keuken toegepast maar heden ten dage speelt Ruta in de voeding geen rol meer. Wel heeft hij iets van zijn geneeskrachtige reputatie behouden, die hij sinds oeroude tijden als geneeskruid heeft gehad.

Het wereldberoemde medische centrum in de 13e eeuw te Salerno had bijzonder veel aandacht voor de wijnruit en bij de vele spreuken die zij als voorlichting de wereld in zonden, werd ook wijnruit niet vergeten.

Ruta facit castum

dat lumen et ingerit astum :

cocta facit ruta

de pulicibus loca tuta.

Wijnruit bant de wellust uit,

klaart het oog, geeft wijs besluit:

het kooksel drijft de vlo en luis

uit de kleren en uit huis.

Lees verder op


1.1 Scientific name

Ruta graveolens L.

1.2 Family


The rutaceae family consists in more than 1600 different

species of shrubs and small trees that grow mostly in temperate

countries of the Old and New World. They produce a great number

of essences, alkaloids and glucosides. The species of

toxicological importance are Ruta graveolens and Ruta


1.3 Common name(s) of the plant and synonyms (in each country)

Ruda (Latin-America, Spain)

Arruda (Spain)

Erruda (Spain)

Arroda (Spain)

Rue (USA, UK)

Herb of grace (USA, UK)

Country man's treacle (USA, UK)

Herbygrass (USA, UK)

Rue officinale (Fr.)

Rue fetide (Fr.)

Herbe de grace (Fr.)


2.1 Main risks and target organs

Vomiting, diarrhoea, epigastric pain, sialorrhoea, acute


Hepatic and renal impairment. Haemodynamic alterations and

shock in severe cases. Uterine haemorrhage and abortion in

pregnancy. Seizures may be observed. Death can occur either

as a result of severe haemodynamic disturbances or secondary to

hepatorenal insufficiency.

2.2 Summary of clinical effects

After ingestion of the plant or its infusion, the patient may

develop acute epigastric pain, vomiting and salivation. Oedema

and fibrillary movements of the tongue may be observed.

Excitation may precede seizures. Hypotension and bradycardia

may be followed by haemodynamic shock.

In women, hypogastric pain, uterine haemorrhage and abortion

may occur.

Death may occur ear;y after ingestion, or later secondary to

hepatorenal insufficiency. In case of cutaneous contact with

the plant, dermatitis due to photosensitization may be


2.3 Diagnosis

No specific toxicological analysis is usually required, except

for the pharmacognostic identification of the plant specimen.

Laboratory tests required for treatment and follow-up include

urinalysis, blood count, hepatic and renal functional studies,

and any other examination relevant to the clinical evolution.

A plant specimen should be collected (as complete as possible)

for botanical identification. In case of ingestion of an

infusion, the infusion should be kept for assay of the active

principles and their concentration.

2.4 First-aid measures and management principles

In case of ingestion of the plant or infusion, perform gastric

lavage with an orogastric tube if the clinical condition of the

patient allows it, followed by administration of activated

charcoal. There is no antidote. Treatment is symptomatic,

based upon maintenance of vital functions and correction of

hepatic or renal insufficiency. Haemodialysis may be required.

Consultation with other specialists (nephrologist,

gynaecologist) may be required.

2.5 Poisonous parts

All the parts of the plant contain the active principles,

especially the leaves.

2.6 Toxins

They are: rutine (glycoside), furocoumarins, alkaloids

(quinolones), tannin and essential oils. Furocoumarins are

responsible for photosensitization, hepatotoxicity and

nephrotoxicity; methyl-nonyl-ketone (an essential oil) has

effects on the uterus.

PLoS One. 2015 Mar 18;10(3):e0118864. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118864. eCollection 2015.

Ruta graveolens L. induces death of glioblastoma cells and neural progenitors, but not of neurons, via ERK 1/2 and AKT activation. Gentile MT1, Ciniglia C1, Reccia MG1, Volpicelli F2, Gatti M3, Thellung S3, Florio T3, Melone MA4, Colucci-D'Amato L5.

Glioblastoma multiforme is a highly aggressive brain tumor whose prognosis is very poor. Due to early invasion of brain parenchyma, its complete surgical removal is nearly impossible, and even after aggressive combined treatment (association of surgery and chemo- and radio-therapy) five-year survival is only about 10%. Natural products are sources of novel compounds endowed with therapeutic properties in many human diseases, including cancer. Here, we report that the water extract of Ruta graveolens L., commonly known as rue, induces death in different glioblastoma cell lines (U87MG, C6 and U138) widely used to test novel drugs in preclinical studies. Ruta graveolens' effect was mediated by ERK1/2 and AKT activation, and the inhibition of these pathways, via PD98058 and wortmannin, reverted its antiproliferative activity. Rue extract also affects survival of neural precursor cells (A1) obtained from embryonic mouse CNS. As in the case of glioma cells, rue stimulates the activation of ERK1/2 and AKT in A1 cells, whereas their blockade by pharmacological inhibitors prevents cell death. Interestingly, upon induction of differentiation and cell cycle exit, A1 cells become resistant to rue's noxious effects but not to those of temozolomide and cisplatin, two alkylating agents widely used in glioblastoma therapy. Finally, rutin, a major component of the Ruta graveolens water extract, failed to cause cell death, suggesting that rutin by itself is not responsible for the observed effects. In conclusion, we report that rue extracts induce glioma cell death, discriminating between proliferating/undifferentiated and non-proliferating/differentiated neurons. Thus, it can be a promising tool to isolate novel drugs and also to discover targets for therapeutic intervention.

Effect of Ruta graveolens and Cannabis sativa alcoholic extract on spermatogenesis in the adult wistar male rats

M. R. Sailani and H. Moeini*

The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of alcohol extracts of Ruta graveolens and Cannabis sativa that were used traditionally in medieval Persian medicine as male contraceptive drugs, on spermatogenesis in the adult male rats.

Materials and Methods:

Ethanol extracts of these plants were obtained by the maceration method. The male rats were injected intraperitionaly with C. sativa and R. graveolens 5% ethanol extracts at dose of 20 mg/day for 20 consecutive days, respectively. Twenty-four hours after the last treatment, testicular function was assessed by epididymal sperm count.


The statistical results showed that the ethanol extracts of these plants reduced the number of sperms significantly (P=0.00) in the treatment groups in comparison to the control group. The results also showed that the group, treated by extract of R. graveolens reduced spermatogenesis more than the group treated by extracts of C. sativa.


The present study demonstrated the spermatogenesis reducing properties of the ethanol extracts of R. graveolens and C. sativa in the adult male wistar rats but more studies are necessary to reveal the mechanism of action that is involved in spermatogenesis.

J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Feb 12;51(4):890-6.Natural fungicides from Ruta graveolens L. leaves, including a new quinolone alkaloid. Oliva A1, Meepagala KM, Wedge DE, Harries D, Hale AL, Aliotta G, Duke SO.

Bioassay-directed isolation of antifungal compounds from an ethyl acetate extract of Ruta graveolens leaves yielded two furanocoumarins, one quinoline alkaloid, and four quinolone alkaloids, including a novel compound, 1-methyl-2-[6'-(3' ',4' '-methylenedioxyphenyl)hexyl]-4-quinolone. The (1)H and (13)C NMR assignments of the new compound are reported. Antifungal activities of the isolated compounds, together with 7-hydroxycoumarin, 4-hydroxycoumarin, and 7-methoxycoumarin, which are known to occur in Rutaceae species, were evaluated by bioautography and microbioassay. Four of the alkaloids had moderate activity against Colletotrichum species, including a benomyl-resistant C. acutatum. These compounds and the furanocoumarins 5- and 8-methoxypsoralen had moderate activity against Fusarium oxysporum. The novel quinolone alkaloid was highly active against Botrytis cinerea. Phomopsis species were much more sensitive to most of the compounds, with P. viticola being highly sensitive to all of the compounds.

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2006 Jul-Sep;7(3):439-43. Anti-tumour activity of Ruta graveolens extract.

Preethi KC1, Kuttan G, Kuttan R.

An extract of Ruta graveolens was found to be cytotoxic to Dalton's lymphoma ascites (DLA), Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC) and L929 cells in culture (IC100=16 mg/ml) and also to increase the lifespan of tumour bearing animals. The extract further decreased solid tumours developing from DLA and EAC cells when given simultaneously with elongation of the lifespan of tumour-bearing animals. A homeopathic preparation of Ruta graveolens (200 c) was equally effective. Neither was effective for reducing already developed tumours. The Ruta graveolens extract was found to scavenge hydroxyl radicals and inhibit lipid peroxidation at low concentrations. However, at higher concentrations the extract acted as a prooxidant as inhibition of lipid peroxidation and scavenging of hydroxyl radical was minimal. These data indicates that the prooxidant activity of Ruta graveolens may be responsible for the cytocidal action of the extract and its ability to produce tumour reduction.