Galega officinalis

A perennial plant grown in southern Europe and western Asia. Also cultivated in Europe and the US. It has a thick, spreading root system which produces a bushy growth of many hollow stems. On these stems grow alternate leaves, each with 6 to 8 pairs of leaflets which fold together. Flowers appear in spikes from June to September and are lilac to white in colour. The plant bears seeds in long pods.

Goat's rue has diaphoretic, diuretic and galactagogue properties. In the past it has been used for fever and cases of worms, and was believed to cure poisonous bites from animals. It is hardly used today, but an extract of the dried plant is occasionally taken to stimulate the flow of milk in nursing mothers. The seeds are claimed to lower blood sugar levels, and may be used for diabetes. It is not generally believed that this plant will produce adverse effects in humans, but sheep have been poisoned by the fresh plant.

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