HERB OF GRACE
You may call it herb of grace o' Sundays "—and indeed here in Sussex that used to be the name for rue: Herb Grace or Herby Grass, Ave Grace, the cleansing herb, the preventive of contogion and expeller of Poison, " the cure of hysteric passion " and the antidote against plague . . . so p+ern was the esteem given to the antiseptic properties of rue that bunches of It used to be hung in the criminal courts to ensure immunity for the Judge from the gaol lever front winch the accused were more than likely
to be suffering. • According to Pliny the rue flourishes best under fig trees. and herbalists who made use 0 It in their medicines would always, .possible, choose plants that had been grown under these trees, onaintaining that " the figge _tree whiles: it drawes nourishment to
se/le draweth also the ranknesse away Irani the Rue." it was much in demand iv medieval medicine: heated in the rind of a pomegranate it would be dropped into aching ears; boiled and pickled it was considered good for the eyesight, particularly if a salve of rue, fennel and honey was used at the same lime; and rue would est be put up the. nostrils to stop nose-bleeding.
mat*, were the beneficial
properties of rue that all kinds of additional ones were ascribed ro it and one old writer goes so far as to say that " the serpent is driven away at the smell thereof when It is burned; insomuch that when the Weeseff is to fight with the serpent shee armeth hersele by eating Rue," as' if the fight were a pre-arranged affair and each creature had time to equip itself suitably!
But Wild Rue, we are warned, " is not to be admitted to meat or medicine," for it will rase blisters " and other accidents," and if it is handled inadvertently • the hands should be washed as Soon as possible.
Rue is not so common in gardens as it used to be; OUP severat-tintes-great grandmothers used it as a border plant with parsley and this gave rise to the old saying, " You are not yet at the parsley, not even at the rue," indicating that someotte who was entertaining some project had not yet begun to put lt into practice.