Ruta chalepensis is a species of flowering plant in the citrus family known by the common name fringed rue. It is a perennial herb growing up to 80cms tall. The leaves are compound, each divided into several segments which are subdivided into smaller leaflets. The inflorescence is a cluster of flowers, each with four or five bright yellow petals with rolled, fringed edges. The fruit is a textured capsule which is divided into pointed lobes. The leaves have a very unpleasant smell when crushed.
The plant is used as an herbal remedy for a number of ailments, such as fever and inflammation. Externally, rue is an active irritant. If bruised and applied, the leaves will ease the severe pain of sciatica. The expressed juice, in small quantities, was a noted remedy for nervous nightmare, and the fresh leaves applied to the temples are said to relieve headache. Compresses saturated with a strong decoction of the plant, when applied to the chest, have been used beneficially for chronic bronchitis.
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