Friday, October 12, 2012

Garuda 芸香

Garudah is a Ruta angustifolia Pers, a shrub from the Rutaceae family. 

Ruta 芸香 is a strongly scented evergreen shrub.  There are some 40 species of rues, native to the Mediterranean, Macronesia and southwest Asia.  Extracts from rue had been used to treat eyestrain, sore eyes, and as insect repellent.  It is also used internally as an antispasmodic, as a treatment for menstrual problems, as an abortifacient, and as a sedative.

There are about 8 to 40 species in the genus.  Among them are : R. angustifolia, R. chalepensis, R. corsica, R. graveolens, R. montana.

The rue used by local Malay, known as gerudah  is probably  Ruta angustifolia (L.) Pers, the Egyptian rue  埃及芸香.  It’s common name may varied : garudah, aruda, sadal etc.  In Indonesia, it is known as inggu ( Sunda ), gogong minggu ( Jawa ), aruda.  In Vietnam it is luru.  

It can also be Ruta graveolens, the common rue,  also known as herb-of-grace.  Some considered R. graveolens Pers as a synonym for R.angustifolia auct.   Some even treated R. angustifolia as a variety of R. graveolens, or R. chalepensis.

Nevertheless, both R. graveolens and R. angustifolia are native to the Mediterranean region.  Both leaves, which are harvested for medical purpose, are bipinnate or tripinnate with blue-green colour and strong distasteful odor.  Flowers are however delightfully yellow.  It is incredibly bitter, almost unpalatable.   They has been used for medicinal and culinary purposes since ancient times.  It is propagated by seeds and cuttings.

Gerudah contains limonene, cineole, methyl-nonylketon, memodin, and rutin.  The seeds contain kokusaginine and skimmianine.
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