Biological Name: Ruscus aculeatus
Other Names: Butcher’s broom
Parts Used: rhizome
Steroidal molecules called ruscogenin and neoruscogenin are responsible for the medicinal actions of butcher’s broom. Similar to diosgenin, found in wild yam, ruscogenins decrease vascular permeability-which accounts for the anti-inflammatory activity of this herb. Butcher’s broom also causes small veins to constrict.
Recent pharmacological findings indicate vasoconstrictive and anti-inflammatory properties of Butcher’s Broom.
The saponins it contains constricts the veins and decreases the permeability of capillaries. It is used in the treatment of varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Butcher’s broom is so named because the mature branches were bundled and used as brooms by butchers. The young shoots were sometimes eaten as food. Ancient physicians used the roots as a diuretic in the treatment of urinary problems. Mediterranean healers had used the rhizome for the treatment of a variety of circulatory and inflammatory disorders. Roman scholar Pliny reports the use of Butcher’s broom for the treatment of varicose veins in 60 A.D. Ancient Greek have used this to cure swelling.
Butchers broom is used for:
Chronic venous insufficiency
Butcher’s broom has vasoconstrictive and anti-inflammatory properties with no toxicity problems when administered correctly. It is also used in the treatment of varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of Butcher’s broom in treating chronic phlebopathy of the lower limbs and those suffering from varicose veins. In these trials, an extract of butcher’s broom was used.
Butcher’s broom is a spiny, small-leafed evergreen bush native to the Mediterranean region and northwest Europe. It is a member of the lily family and is similar to asparagus in many ways. The roots and young stems of butcher’s broom are used medicinally.
Ointments and suppositories including butcher’s broom are typically used for hemorrhoids. These are often applied or inserted at night before going to bed. Encapsulated butcher’s broom extracts, often combined with vitamin C or flavonoids, can be used for systemic venous insufficiency in the amount of 1,000 mg three times per day.
Alternatively, standardized extracts providing 50-100 mg of ruscogenins per day can be taken.
If raw herb is used, use 2 teaspoons of powdered root per 1.5 pints of boiling water, boiled in a covered container for about 0.5 hour, at a slow boil. Allow the liquid to cool slowly in the closed container. Drink cold, 2 to 3 tablespoons 6 times daily.
There are no significant side effects or problems if butcher’s broom is used in the amounts listed here.