Goat's rue (Galega officinalis) is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the Fabaceae (Pea) family. It is commonly known as Galega, Professor weed that is native to the temperate grassland areas of the Middle East but is now grown in Europe and Asia. Since times immemorial this plant has been valued for its potent medicinal properties and used to treat several health anomalies. Goat’s rue plant has been extensively cultivated as green manure, a bee plant a forage crop, decorative and cattle feed.
Goat’s rue is also known by other popular names such as Common goat's, Milkpea, French Lilac, Italian fitch. Goat’s rue is a good source of galegine, a bioactive plant compound with blood glucose-lowering activity that is beneficial in regulating symptoms of diabetes mellitus.
Goat’s Rue Plant
Goat's rue is largely grown in the temperate regions, mainly in the European countries, that blooms in the summer seasons and is seen along with the grasslands, wetlands, and riverbanks. It grows to a height of 1 to 1.5m and the stem is quite glabrous with compound leaves comprising of 6 to 8 small leaflets with lance-shaped ends. The florals are butterfly shaped that ranges from white, blue, or pink colour. The seed pod is long, upon ripening it burst open, scattering the seeds all around the plant that emits an unpleasant odour on bruising and this may be the reason for the name goat's rue.
Dried flowers and dried aerial parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes. Flowers are collected from July to September, which is dried well and powdered and used to make tinctures, infusions, or powders. Goat's rue supplements are available in the form of capsules and herbal tea.
Goat's rue plant encompasses key chemical compounds including galegine, hydroxygalegine, guanidine, flavones, kaempferol and quercetin that are known to exhibit potent therapeutic actions.
This classical herb has been greatly valued since ancient times for controlling blood sugar spikes. Guanidine and galegine active compound present in goat’s rue helps in reducing blood glucose levels. Metformin, one of the potent antihyperglycemic drugs is made using these derivatives present in goat’s rue. The key bioactive elements in goat’s rue promote the secretion of insulin which aids in regulating blood glucose levels. Aside from this, it also supports carrying glucose into the cells and tissues for energy and lowers the levels of blood glucose. Additionally, the presence of alkaloids in goat’s rue stimulates sustained hypoglycaemic effect in diabetic patient.
Supports Weight loss
This potent medicinal herb is an incredible anti-obesity agent that help in shedding surplus kilos. Several studies have revealed that regular intake of goat’s rue extract along with a strict diet significantly helped in losing body fat. Guanidine, a precursor to metformin is known for this effect that works by suppressing appetite and delays hunger pangs, which may help one to consume fewer calories. Besides these, this medicinal plant averts the storage of fat and increases fat burning.
Being a natural galactagogue, goat rue is credited to possess lactogenic effect that increases breast milk production. The presence of phytoestrogens in goat’s rue plant mimics the action of estrogen that binds to the estrogen receptors and increases prolactin secretion, which is mainly responsible for the secretion of breast milk in lactating women.
Goat’s rue plant is attributed to have potential anti-cancer traits. The leaves of the plant are packed with phytoestrogens. These phytoestrogen function as estrogen that shields against breast cancer and kills cancerous cells and prevents their spreading to other healthy cells. Furthermore, goat’s rue is also effective in averting the growth and multiplication of tumour cells and impeding their formation.
Controls Blood Pressure
This herbal medicine is lowering high blood pressure owing to its anti-hypertensive actions. Regular intake of this extract relaxes the arteries and blood vessels, thereby improving blood flow throughout the body. Thus, this classic formulation helps in the management of uncontrolled blood pressure by easing the stiff blood vessels to normalize blood pressure and relieve symptoms of hypertension.
Goat's rue supplement has shown drug interactions with diabetic, anticoagulants and iron absorption in the system. Also, it is fatal when taken in fresh form, thus it should be used after thorough drying. Oral toxicity of this herb plant can impede liver and lungs functions, thus having a negative effect. Diabetic patients should seek advice from their doctor before taking this supplement. Lactating mothers with normal breast milk secretion should avoid this herb, as goat’s rue may further increase milk production leading to problems like breast engorgement, plugged milk ducts and mastitis.
Goat's rue formulation should be taken under proper physician prescription in recommended doses. Self-medication and overdosage are found to have serious ill effects and may result in muscular weakness and headache.