Also known as Ruscus aculeatus, Box Holly, Jew's Myrtle, Kneeholm, Knee Holly, Pettigree, Sweet Broom, Rusci aculeati, Rusci aculeati rhizoma.
Introduction Butcher's Broom is a low, shrubby, evergreen plant of the lily family. It is native to the Mediterranean, Southern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. At one time its stems were used to protect curing meats from rodents and to make brooms for butcher's stalls. Historically, western herbalists used it to improve circulation, relieve constipation, and help with water retention. It has been used in Eastern medicine to treat urinary and reproductive disorders. Culpepper reported in the 17th century that a decoction of the root (taken orally) and a poultice of the berries (applied topically) helped in knitting fractured bones.
Constituents Ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, chromium, chrysophanic acid, magnesium, manganese, niacin, riboflavin, ruscogenin, rutin, selenium, tin, zinc.
Parts Used The washed and dried root, chopped.
Typical Preparations Tea or extract. To make a tea from chopped root, place 1 teaspoon of the herb in a cup of boiling water and allow to steep in a closed teapot for 10 minutes. The teapot should not be heated. Strain before drinking.
Summary A mild diuretic, butchers broom was approved by the authoritative German Commission E as a supportive therapy for chronic venous insufficiency, a condition causing pain, swelling, and fatigue in the calves. Chronic venous insufficiency is related to varicose veins. Pliny the Elder in 60 C.E. noted that it was a treatment for the swelling of veins. In modern Europe, components in butchers broom have been isolated and used in formulas for the treatment of varicose veins and hemorrhoids. The German Commission also recommended butchers broom for treatment of hemorrhoids. At least one clinical trial found that butchers broom may relieve lymph edema (arm swelling) following treatment for breast cancer.
Precautions Maximum safe doses for young children, pregnant or nursing women, and persons with liver or kidney disease have not been established. Rare cases of gastric disorders and nausea have occurred.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This information courtesy of MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS, with full, written permission for reuse. For further traditional information concerning Butcher's Broom, please visit this excellent resource from Botanical.com. Used with full, written permission.