Galega officinalis
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Family: N.O. Leguminosae Fabaceae (Leguminoseae in part)
Other names: Herba ruta caprariae. Italian Fitch. French Lilac. Pestilenzkraut (German: "Pestilence Plant").

Habitat : Grows wild in Europe, naturalized in Britain. This profuse-flowering, hardy perennial herb is a native of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean - Gerard (one of the most famous historical herbalists) calls it Italian Fitch - and it is widely cultivated in gardens in England.

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It was chosen as an ingredient of Wonderup because: its active ingredients are flavonoids, balancing agents of the natural production of female hormones, which naturally bind with the receptor cells in the mammary glands, thus producing breast development and improving the circulation of the mammary glands.

Other characteristics and properties:
* flavonoids are also the origin of the plant's most known property: it is an effective galactagogue, stimulating both the production and flow of milk (by stimulating prolactin), and has been shown to increase milk output by up to 50% in some cases. It also increases the nutrients in mother's milk

* hypoglycaemic and antidiabetic - reduces blood sugar levels. Its use is thus potentially indicated in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. This must not replace insulin therapy, however, and should occur only under professional supervision.

* diaphoretic - affects liver and detoxification systems due to its ability to increase perspiration, and promote toxin release through the skin. Also used to assist immune system and reactivity due to its ability to break a fever.

* weak diuretic - affects liver and detoxification systems due to its ability to increase the secretion of urine, and excretion of waste through the urine

Culinary uses: In the northern countries they use this herb for making their cheeses instead of Rennet, whence it is called also "CheeseRennet".

History and Curiosities: Goat's Rue, known in the old Herbals as Herba rutae caprariae, is a leguminous plant that in former times was much employed on account of its diaphoretic properties in malignant fevers and the plague, hence one of its German popular names of Pestilenzkraut (Pestilence Plant).

'The leaves, gathered just as the plant is going into flower and dried, with the addition of boiling water, make an infusion which being drunk plentifully, excites sweating and is good in fevers.' (Hill's Universal Herbal, 1832.)
It was also used as a remedy for worms and recommended as a cure for the bites of serpents.

In 1873 Gillet-Damitte, in a communication to the French Academy, stated that this plant when given to cows would increase the secretion of milk from 35 to 50 per cent, since which time, Cerisoli, Millbank and several French physicians have confirmed that Goat's Rue is a powerful galactagogue.
The herb is official in the National Formulary IV attached to the United States Pharmacopoeia.

In Marzell's 'W–rterbuch der Deutschen Pflanzennamen' - Dictionary of German Plant Names (Marzell, H., W–rterbuch der Deutschen Planzennamen, Liefrung 13, Leipzig. 1954) it is quoted as one of the "Holy Hay" plants, along with sanfoin (Onobrychis viciaefolia) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa). Thus, in France it was known in some localities as sanfoin d'Espagne (Spanish Holy Hay), in Gallo-italic dialect as Sanftin salvadegh (Wild Holy Hay) and in Germany as Ewigen Klee (Everlasting Clover). The legendary folk symbolism of forage plants bearing such names is that they were present in the manger at Bethlehem and burst into bloom when the Christ Child was laid on them - thus miraculously signifying, like the Star of Bethlehem, his divinity and his dominion over nature." (John S. Stokes, Jr. - Galega Officinalis: An Adventure in Plant Nauralization - Morris Arboretum Bulletin, Vol 15, 1964)

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