[Sca-cooks] Question about rue....

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
Tue Nov 25 11:24:09 PST 2008

> I can only report that the article said that sage was a "known
> abortifacient". I don't know the necessary dose.

Despite the article's assurance, I believe that nobody else has a
research-documented known clinical dose for sage as an abortifacent
either. Herbal medicine is still a very contentious topic to start with,
and the research done is spotty. Without digging out my PDR for herbal
medicine, which is packed, I can't tell you. But as far as I recall from
previous research, there IS a demonstrated, research-supported level of
toxicity for rue, which as far as I recall is lower than that of sage.

(Generally, anything that has ever been used to as a treatment to
'regulate' menstruation, whether successful or not, is often referred to
as 'a known abortifacient' *rolls eyes*. Since our ancient, medieval, and
renaissance forebears used damn near everything at one point or another in
their pursuit of the perfect menstrual cycle, this does make research
unnecessarily confusing.)

> Also, i think it likely that SCA cooks are not planning to use oil of rue
> in their dishes, only a small amount of rue herb. As far as i can tell, a
> pregnant woman would have to ingest oil of rue, which is highly
> concentrated, or a very large dose of rue leaves or tea brewed from
> leaves, a far greater quantity than would be used in one or two dishes. I
> know people involved in Roman re-creation, not in the SCA, who use rue in
> their Apician dishes. In fact, one sent me some dried rue so i could taste
> it (i live in an urban apartment with no deck or balcony to grow bushy
> plants). They report no problems *so far*.

I don't have a problem with experimentally cooking for myself with rue
(when I'm not pregnant). But given the storied unwillingness to read menus
or pay attention to ingredients (let alone know what ingredients are) I
think there's a reason to be more cautious with rue than items whose
Generally Recognized as Safe status doesn't include the indication "not to
exceed 2 ppm."  (See: http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/syllabus/gras.htm)

-- Jenne Heise / Jadwiga Zajaczkowa
jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

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