Butcher's broom - a small evergreen shrub not to understimate

Published at: 08.06.2022 15:48

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Butcher’s broom is a plant that not so many people have heard of, but it actually has many health benefits. It can be met under the Latin name Ruscus aculeatus or as Jew’s myrtle, sweet broom, pettigree, cox holly and knee holly. Do not confuse it with Spartium junceum (Spanish broom) or Cytisus scoparius - broom. The plant is natively from Western Europe, and can be found in Iran, Mediterranean and southern United States.
Famous with its tough branches, the evergreen shrub has been used for herbal medicine for many years. Especially the rootstock and roots of butcher’s broom, as they are rich in a variety of active compounds one of which – flavonoids.
Perhaps this is why people often combine it with vitamin C and hesperidin.

Let’s take a deeper look at the uses of that small, beautiful shrub.

In medicine it is used to reduce inflammation.

We all know that inflammatory processes and high temperature are the body’s natural ways to fight infections and attempts to heal on its own. Have in mind that when the inflammation becomes chronic – this may cause some serious health issues. Luckily, butcher’s broom contains ruscogenin – a compound that is very helpful in suppressing inflammatory processes and even has the potential to positively affect damages caused by it. There are studies examining how ruscogenin can decrease the markers of inflammation and to stop the building of a specific enzyme that stimulates cartilage breakdown in people who suffer from osteoarthritis. Anyway, more research is required before any final conclusions. The saponins neoruscogenin and ruscogenin are just 2 of the several compounds isolated from butcher’s broom.

What else is Butcher’s broom useful for?

The components extracted from the plant are used in natural medicine to support the veins' health by helping the blood to return to the heart. Some studies are showing that ruscus aculeatus decreases the swelling and pressure around the ankles and lower legs in people suffering from chronic venous insufficiency. Other research points out that the combination of hesperidin, vitamin C and butcher’s broom may relieve the symptoms of pain in the legs, cramps, itching and heaviness. Butcher’s broom may be used in a variety of forms as a diuretic, laxative, cytotoxic agent, even for a treatment for circulatory disease. However, the available clinical trials results are limited.
In some cultures people cook and eat the roots the same way as asparagus. So we might say that the plant is even used in the cuisine.

Does it have any side effects?

Although it is possibly safe for most people, especially when taken by mouth for up to 3 months, it still may cause nausea and upset stomach. Also may reduce the effectiveness of some medications and stimulants. If you suffer from a condition that requires special treatment and medicines – first consult your doctor, before deciding to take food supplements.

Remember – always check the recommended daily allowance of food supplements, regardless they are vitamins, minerals or from natural origin!

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