Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Arruda, Ruta graveolens, is such a common plant around here, I really thought it was from the Amazon. Recently I discovered that it's originally from Europe and that the use of it can be traced backed to biblical days. It packs a lot of history as a medicine, an herb, protection against the evil eye, bad luck and all the maladies ever encountered by mankind. Jeremy Campbell, anthropologist and researcher, tells me that has has noticed rue among the scents of incense available in the United States. My wife, Áurea, reports that a tea is made of the plant here in Santarém for abortion purposes. Whenever I have more time, I'll do some research to try to discover how it got to Brazil. My guess is that it came with the African slaves, but I don't know for sure. At Bosque Santa Lúcia I only have one arruda plant, the one pictured in the image. I remember very well that I bought it from friends who plant and sell medicinal plants in the Conquista neighborhood of Santarém, just off the road on the way to the airport. I always enjoy the very pronounced, unique smell of arruda. I can't compare it to anything. Maybe just a faint resemblance of dried sagebrush of the western United States.