Galega officinalis / Goats Rue Herb

NIMH Herb Mark

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.

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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”.

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