How To Send The Evil Spirits Away: Common Rue

One of the most common herbs used in Witchcraft is the rue. In some cases, it was believed that whoever had this plant in their possession, could keep witches away. However, ironically enough, it was the witches who used it as the common rue to keep evil spirits away. So let’s explore how they did that.

Rue plant

Ruta Graveolens (of strong scent), commonly known as common rue, is called Apiganos (Απήγανος) and Varyosmos (Βαρύοσμος) in Greek. It is a small herb with many yellow flowers. There are female and male plants. The leaves of a male plant are wider. It originates in the Mediterranean. It can grow in mountainous places as well as in the fields. It needs lots of sunlight and dry soil in order to survive and flourish. Its blooms last for three months, starting at the end of May.

In Greek folklore and mythology

Apiganos was used in some parts of Greece to keep the Kallikantzaroi away. They were naughty goblins that traditionally plague households during the twelve days of the Christmas holidays from the 24th of December until the 6th of January. A handful of rue herb or rue leaves and branches of the plant burning in the hearth, where was commonplace for these creatures to be found, was enough to send them running. In a future article, we are going to explore the Kallikantzaroi folklore in depth.

In book X of Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus used a herb to protect himself and his men from Circe’s enchantments. It is suspected that this was a reference to rue.

Magical properties

Rue would be collected during the summer by witches, who used every part of the plant for their spells, apart from the root. Dry leafs crushed into a powder and mixed with other herbs like bay were used to make a poultice to ease genital swelling.

Witches believed that a warm poultice made with goat milk, flax seeds, marshmallow roots and plenty of rue leaves could ease breast swelling on breastfeeding mothers. The smell of a rue, freshly ground pepper and clove mixture could stop the fighting between married couples

They, also, used rue essential oil as an antidote to hemlock, a very common poison back in the day. Rue was also used as an antidote to poisonous snake bites and insect bites.


The rue plant was used in exorcisms or to get rid of the evil eye. A rue beverage was believed to cure madness, schizophrenia, irrationality, hysteria, epilepsy, etc. These conditions were believed to happen when a person was possessed by an evil spirit. The afflicted was given a rue beverage and then the witch laid them on a bed and applied rue essential oil on their whole body. They cut a clump of hair from the afflicted and then they lit candles around the bed, as many as the witches who took part in the ritual. They then made a circle of salt around the bed and would read excerpts from their grimoire to force the evil spirit to leave the body.

How to use the rue plant?

Rue was considered a powerful plant in medicinal and spiritual practices. Hippocrates was referring to it as well. In folklore stories, it’s been indicated that the rue plant can be more effective if a sprout of it was been stolen from a neighbor’s garden. This way the good energy of that person could be transferred to the new owner. It was, also, important that the person who plants it, is going to be the person who uses it otherwise it won’t be effective, as their energy stays with that plant and it doesn’t work for anyone else.

There are some steps on planting a rue sprout to help it be more effective and give all its benefits:
  • Never plant it when feeling anger, depression or anxiety
  • For women, it’s best to plant it when they are on their period
  • If someone doesn’t believe in its powers it is not going to be effective
  • It needs lots of sunlight, little water and dry soil
  • It is important to take care of it, but do not overdo it.
  • The female plant is best to be planted on the right side of the garden and the male on the left
  • Cats detest the smell of it. If you want to keep stray cats away from your garden, you can plant rue among your other plants.

If you notice that your rue plant starts to shrivel, don’t try to save it. This is a sign that is working. It withers as it absorbs the negative energy around you. It creates a field of protection around the person who plants it and allows only good luck to touch you.

Essential Oil

The rue essential oil can be made of both the leaves and branches of the plant. The benefits are plenty. It prevents fungus and bacteria infection. As we said before, it works as a poison’s antidote. It lowers pain and it has neurotoxic properties that calm the nerves. It can also help with digestion. Rue essential oil can be used as a base in perfumery and cosmetic manufacturing.


  • Children, breastfeeding moms and pregnant women should not use it.
  • Excessive use can cause irritation to the skin
  • Avoid sunlight exposure when applied on the skin


"I am Yiota, a dreamweaver on the path to becoming a Jungian analyst. Within the realms of dreams, fantasies, and the profound symbolism of Jung, I carve a space to unveil my unwavering passion for ancient folklore traditions, the mystical artistry of witchcraft, and the ethereal realms of metaphysics. In the enchanting crossroads where Jungian archetypes intertwine with the tapestry of mythology, alchemy, and the mystique of witchcraft, there you shall discover me. Navigate the currents of your dreams as you journey forward, and may the enchantment of your deepest desires materialize like a spell woven by a benevolent witch."

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1 Response

  1. October 20, 2021

    […] soul. To speak with the spirits of the aether they used additional tools like herbs and stones to keep away the forceful energies they couldn’t control and just consult the peaceful […]

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