Butcher's broom (also called Jew's Myrtle, Knee Holly, Kneeholm, Pettigree, Sweet Broom) is a small-leafed bush cultivated in the Mediterranean and Europe. It is part of the lilly family, and is quite similar to your everday asparagus plant. Both the root and stem of the plant are used in herbal preparations.
Butchers broom has been used to improve circulation, relieve constipation, and to relieve water retention discomfort. It is reported that butcher's broom can tighten the circulatory system's veins and strengthen the capillary walls. It is rich in flavonoids such as rutin and enhances blood flow to the brain, legs, and hands.
Butchers broom has been reported to be effective in treating a variety of conditions including:
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Varicose veins
The primary contituents of butcher's broom include steroidal saponins which are believed to be responsible for the herbs medicinal effects.
European herbal doctors have used butcher's broom for centuries to alleviate constipation and excess water retention. Butcher's broom may ease the swelling and pain of arthritis and rheumatism, and works particularly well for people who are on their feet most of the day, such as doctors, salespersons, and teachers.
This herb may also lessen cramps, swelling, and other symptoms associated with chronic venous insufficiency, a condition that occurs when valves in the veins that carry blood back to the heart are weak or damaged. This insufficiency allows blood to collect in the veins, which may cause varicose veins, spider veins, sores, and even blood clots in the legs. Though not as common in the United States, a butcher's broom derivative is used in European hospitals to prevent blood clots post surgery.
Butcher's broom has been used as a mild diuretic and laxative, though other drugs are now considered more effective. Scientists are investigating butcher's broom for the treatment of orthostatic hypotension (a drop in blood pressure after standing). Advanced age, certain drugs, and medical conditions such as diabetes and Parkinson's disease are often associated with orthostatic hypotension.
There are a number of user submitted butchers broom product reviews and ratings available at NutritionalTree.com.
Ointments and suppositories including butcher's broom are typically used for hemorrhoids. 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 daily. Additionally, standardized extracts providing 50 - 100 mg of ruscogenins per day can be taken.Reported Side Effects
No significant side effects have been found for butcher's broom. However, nausea and queasiness may result in rare cases. Butcher's broom is not recommended for those with high blood pressure. Supporting LiteratureBouskela E, Cyrino FZ, Marcelon G. Inhibitory effect of the Ruscus extract and of the flavonoid hesperidine methylchalcone on increased microvascular permeability induced by various agents in the hamster cheek pouch. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 1993;22:220-230.
Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Arcanum, 1988, 117-118.