Butchers Broom Root

Ruscus aculeatis

Butchers Broom root got its name from the fact that up until the 20th century, it was used as a broom throughout Europe. Both the above ground parts and the roots are harvested in summer for use in herbal medicine.

Common names for this herb include Box holly, sweet broom and jew's myrtle. butchers broom, butcher's broom

This attractive plant is known for its cleansing properties, especially with blood vessels. It contains agents that maintain circulation, especially in the legs. The plant has green leaves which may be varigated, and red berries. Studies have confirmed that the cream reduces the swelling of varicose veins during pregnancy. Using the cream with support stockings resulted in the veins dilating only approximately 50% of the size without the stockings and cream.

It also reduces urinary retention which comes in handy for chronic urinary infections!

In a study by Vanscheidt et.al., two groups were looked at, one with placebo and the other with 36-37.5mg of Butchers Broom root twice a day for 12 weeks. The study looked at changes in leg swelling, symptoms and quality of life. Statistically significant improvement was seen by 12 weeks in the group on the herb.

Butcher's Broom Health Benefits

  • Lymphedema. Extracts used over 3 months reduces swelling in upper arms after breast cancer surgery.
  • Hemorrhoids. Tightens the dilated blood vessels, relieves burning and itching Combine with Witch Hazel for best results.
  • Swollen ankles, hypotension. Increases tone in veins, reduces pooling of blood in legs, allows for better return of blood to heart.
  • Low Blood Pressure. Helps raise diastolic blood pressure.
  • Vericose veins. Helps make veins stronger and less porous. Decreases inflammation and reduces pain.

Considerations In Use

Available in ruscogenin tablets, capsules of powder and as a capsule where it is combined with rosemary oil. When taken orally, it is more effective if taken with Vitamin C. Dosage is 7-11 mgs per day. Large doses can cause vomiting.

Creams are available from compounding pharmacies.

Butchers broom may interfer with anti-hypertensives, and with some medications used to treat BPH. Butcher's broom contains alkyloids and should not be used with MAO inhibitors, such as St.John's wort. If you are unsure of your medications, do not use until discussed with a doctor. It also contains compounds similar to coumadin and therefore, should not be taken if you are on any blood thinners such as coumadin, warfarin, Plavix, Aggrenox or aspirin.

Do not take orally if pregnant, but the creams can be used topically.

Read about more herbs at the Herb Dictionary Online.

Vanscheidt W, et al. Efficacy and safety of a Butchers broom root preparation (Ruscus aculeatus L. extract) compared to placebo in patients suffering from chronic venous insufficiency. Arzneimittelforschung 2002;52:243-50.
Cluzan RV, et al. Treatment of secondary lymphedema of the upper limb with CYCLO 3 FORT. Lymphology 1996 Mar;29(1):29-35.
Cappelli R, Nicora M, DiPerri T. Use of extract of Ruscus aculeatus in venous disease in the lower limbs. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1988;14(4):277-83.

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