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J Burn Care Res. 2007 Sep-Oct;28(5):767-9.

Herb of grace: an unusual cause of phytophotodermatitis mimicking burn injury.

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  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, The West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom.


We report the case of a 2-year-old child who suffered an acute phytophotodermatitis with systemic upset after contact with the herb Ruta Graveolens (common rue, Herb of Grace). We review the literature detailing the mechanism of the phytophotodermatitis and the mainstream and alternative medicinal uses of the herb. Clinicians treating burns should consider phytophotodermatitis in their differential diagnosis of any partial-thickness burn injury. Furthermore, the hazards of growing this widespread herb in gardens where children play should be well publicized.

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