Galega officinalis, commonly known as galega, goat’s-rue, French lilac, Italian fitch, or professor-weed, is an herbaceous plant in the Faboideae subfamily.
It is native to the Middle East, but it has been naturalized in Europe, western Asia, and western Pakistan. The plant has been extensively cultivated as a forage crop, an ornamental, a bee plant and as green manure.
The name is believed to derive from the Greek terms for milk (gala) and goat (aigos), because medieval Europeans noticed that it increased milk production in livestock when eaten. However, the plant has proved too toxic for widespread agricultural use, with the potential to induce a buildup of excess fluid in the lungs, pleural cavities, or trachea, low blood pressure, paralysis and death, hence the name “Goat’s rue”.
Medicinal Action and Uses
Digestive – In combination with other herbs, goat’s rue is used to stimulate the adrenal gland and pancreas; to protect the liver; for digestion problems.
Diuretic – Used to treat bladder problems.
Galactagogue – Promotes the flow of a mother’s milk.
Hypoclycemic – The traditional use of Goats rue to treat diabetes has been a staple since the middle ages. Goats rue contains an alkaloid, galegine that was found in clinical trials to decrease blood sugar and insulin resistance. This lead to the development of metformin, which is currently used in the treatment of diabetes.
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