A few reports exist, none of them in Britain, of toxicity to mammals
, though the plant is often fed to cows and goats in order to increase their milk yield
Leaves - cooked
. Used like spinach
. Some caution is advised due to reports of possible toxicity.
The herb is used as a substitute for rennet in curdling plant milks etc
A fast-growing plant, it makes a good green manure crop, enriching the soil with organic matter and also fixing atmospheric nitrogen
The plant is used cosmetically in hand and foot bathes
Goat's rue was once important in the treatment of plague, fevers and infectious diseases
. It is still used in modern herbalism, though mainly for its effect in promoting milk-flow in lactating mothers (it has been shown to increase the flow of milk in cows and goats by 35 - 50%
) and for its positive effect on the digestive system
. The plant contains galegine, an alkaloid that strongly reduces blood sugar levels which make it useful in the treatment of diabetes
The leaves and flowering tops are diaphoretic, diuretic, galactogogue and hypoglycaemic
. It has also been used in the treatment of fevers
. It is taken internally to treat insufficient lactation, late-onset diabetes, pancreatitis and digestive problems, especially chronic constipation caused by a lack of digestive enzymes
. The plant is harvested as it is just coming into flower and is dried for later use
. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity.
Seed - pre-soak for 12 hours in warm water and then sow the seed in spring or autumn in a cold frame
. Spring-sown seed can be slow to germinate, a period of cold stratification may improve the germination time. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
If you have sufficient seed, then it is possible to sow outdoors in situ in mid to late spring.
Division in spring or autumn
. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Galega officinalis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Succeeds in most soils but repays generous treatment
. Prefers full sun and a deep moist soil
but it also succeeds in light shade
. Grows well even in poor soils
. Plants are very tolerant of neglect and can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn
A long-lived plant, it can be invasive in good growing conditions.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Galega officinalis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Galega officinalis.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? Cooper. M. and Johnson. A. Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man. HMSO ISBN 0112425291 (1984-00-00)
? 2.02.12.22.126.96.36.199 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
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? 6.06.16.26.188.8.131.52 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
? 7.07.17.27.37.47.5 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
? 8.08.1 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
? 9.09.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
? 10.010.1 Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
? 11.011.1 Sanders. T. W. Popular Hardy Perennials. Collingridge (1926-00-00)
? 12.012.112.212.312.412.5 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? 13.013.113.2 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
? 14.014.1 Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
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