Butcher's Broom

Butcher's Broom

Ruscus aculeatus

Medicinally, butcher’s broom is hailed as an alternative medicine for the treatment of hemorrhoids. It also ameliorates the maladies associated with poor blood circulation, such as chronic venous insufficiency, by stimulating blood flow.

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Fragon, Box-Holly, Sweet Broom
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Rhizomes and roots
  • Side Effects: None
Use left and right arrows to navigate between tabs. Plants Informations

About Butcher's Broom

Butcher’s broom is a low evergreen shrub, native to Eurasia. It is a monocotyledon that rarely gets higher than three feet. It is a multi-stemmed plant with a stiff and spiny leaf-like structure. On microscopic and histologic views, they are not true leaves but cladodes that perform the same photosynthetic operations as leaves. However, the true leaves it has are non-photosynthetic papery scales that appear at the bases of the cladodes.

Butcher’s broom is the only species of its genus that grows self-fertile flowers that transform into red spherical fleshy fruits. Historically, the butcher’s broom was harvested and used to make brooms due to its stiff and flat branches for cleaning the butcher’s block, thus the name. 

Medicinally, butcher’s broom is hailed as an alternative medicine for the treatment of hemorrhoids. It also ameliorates the maladies associated with poor blood circulation, such as chronic venous insufficiency, by stimulating blood flow. It also helps support the treatment of diabetic retinopathy (vision impairment due to diabetes), lymphedema (swelling of arms), orthostatic hypotension (dropping of blood pressure upon standing up from a sitting position), fluid retention, constipation, varicose veins, leg cramps, gallstones, and atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries).

 

Growing

Start butcher’s broom in October or the end of March for a garden full of blooms and berries. Although its frost resistance is quite high it is recommended to abstain from planting it during the frost period. 

Butcher’s broom flourishes rapidly in well-drained, moist soil but it can quickly adapt to drought conditions too. It is a low-maintenance plant that can happily survive your neglect. It is recommended to start the butcher’s broom by propagation. Just dig a hole 3 times bigger than the size of the root ball and carefully place the root in the hole. Avoid sogging the soil as it can exploit the root and growth of the plant.

Butcher’s broom starts blooming from May and continues until they are self-fertilized and get transformed into tiny red berries. These berries have seeds that can propagate on their own or by the animals to start a new plant.

Harvesting

Butcher’s broom root is harvested in fall while the young shoots are sought after in spring due to their excellent phytochemical content.

Use sharp gardening scissors for cutting the shoots. As for the root, dig the soil around the plant to loosen it and dig up the whole root. 

Butcher’s Broom root is dried on a commercial basis to make different dosage forms out of it, like capsules, tablets, ointments, suppositories, and tinctures. 

Usage

Butcher’s Broom is a famous medicinal plant that has found its way in various dosage forms.

  • Tincture - Butcher’s broom root is dried according to the given monograph and macerated in alcohol for longer periods to make a concentrated tincture.
  • Tea - A teaspoon of the dried chopped root of the butcher’s broom is soaked in a cup of hot boiling water to make tea.
  • Decoction - Dried chopped root is decocted in water for not more than two, or as given in the monograph to formulate a decoction.
  • Syrup - Dried butcher’s broom root is simmered in a sugar solution to form a syrup.
  • Infused oil - One part dried butcher’s broom is infused in two parts carrier oil for 2 to 3 weeks on a sunny windowsill to yield butcher’s broom infused oil.