Gaia Herbs | plant intelligence

Goat's Rue


Goat’s Rue (Galega officinalis) is a hardy perennial herb in the pea family native to Southern Europe, the Mediterranean and western Asia. It is named Goat’s Rue after the disagreeable odor that is released upon bruising the plant. The name Galega is derived from gala, meaning milk, and ago, meaning to bring on.
It is mucilaginous and has a bitter and astringent taste, and it was used traditionally as a diaphoretic and galactagogue. For hundreds of years, the dried leaves were drunk as a hot infusion to support normal body temperature regulation and appropriate perspiration levels.* The plant was given to cows to support lactation and then began being used by humans to do the same. Goat’s Rue was also used traditionally to support healthy blood sugar levels.*


A galactagogue is any plant that encourages breast milk production. This herb is not well-studied in humans but has a long tradition of use in lactating mothers in Europe. An Italian study found that Goat’s Rue and Milk Thistle supported normal breast milk production in mothers whose babies were born prematurely.

Uses of Goat's Rue


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

galegine, flavonoids, saponins, glycosides, tannins, alkaloids

Parts Used

  • leaves and flowering tops

Important precautions

Additional Resources

Modern Herbal
Mooney MH, Fogarty S, et al. Br J Pharmacol. 2008 Apr;153(8):1669-77. doi: 10.1038/bjp.2008.37. Epub 2008 Feb 25.
Palit P, Furman BL, Gray AI. J Pharm Pharmacol. 1999 Nov;51(11):1313-9. 

Nice, Frank J. Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition. Volume 3, no 3, June 2011. Pg 129-131.

Glueck CJ, Salehi M, Sieve L, Wang P.. J Pediatr. 2006 May;148(5):628-632.

Tabares FP, Bedoya Jaramillo JV, and Ruiz-Cortés ZT. (2014).  Pharmacological Overview of Galactogogues. Vet Med Int. 2014; 2014: 602894.

Castoldi F, Pivetti V, Moiraghi L, Marangione P, Lista G. [Silymarin/galega administration in term and preterm mothers to sustain breast feeding: an observational study] [Article in Italian]. Minerva Pediatr. 2014 Oct;66(5):375-80.

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