Because of its generally perceived protective nature, rue was also used in a number of healing rituals. The genus name Ruta comes from the Greek word reuo, which means to set free, a nod to its ability to set one free from disease. True to form, rue has many healing abilities. Rue was also commonly placed on the forehead to cure headaches. Rue can be added to incense, spells, and poppets during healing rituals to increase the potency of the magic.
Some people use rue for breathing problems including pain and coughing due to swelling around the lungs (pleurisy). Rue is used for other painful conditions including headache, arthritis, cramps, and muscle spasms; and for nervous system problems including nervousness, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Bell's palsy.