Butchers broom received its name because at one time the stems of the ruscus aculeatus plant were bundled together and used as brooms at butchers' stalls. It's also known as sweet broom, box holly, pettigree and knee holly.
One of the active constituents of the root of sweet broom is a steroidal saponin called ruscogenin. Clinical studies in living organisms demonstrated that ruscogenin produces an anti-inflammatory effect. Some other constituents present in the root are coumarin, flavonoids, glycolic acid sitosterol, sparteine and tyramine. Vitamins, minerals and trace elements present are calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, riboflavin, selenium and zinc.
One of the uses of butchers broom root is in the treatment for spider veins and varicose veins which are enlarged veins that affect the legs and feet. It may also assist in treating deep vein thrombosis in which blood clot has formed in one or more or the deep veins in the legs. It is also used as a remedy for lymphedema which is a swelling that normally affects one of the arms or legs caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system.
Sweet broom herb taken orally may also treat constipation and alleviate hemorrhoids or piles which are swollen and inflamed veins in the anus and lower rectum. It has also shown to have a mild diuretic effect and it promotes urination and helps fight water retention.
It's effectiveness in treating blood circulatory disorders is due to its ability to enhance blood flow to the brain, legs and hands and tightens blood vessels and capillaries. Its other uses include treating leg cramps and maintaining joint flexibility.
The root of sweet broom is available dried, cut and sifted as well as grounded and in powder form. It is also available in capsules and liquid extract.
To make the root tea, add a teaspoon of the dried root or powder in a cup of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes. Strain it afterwards and add honey to taste. Drinking this herbal tea may help clear phlegm or mucus from your lungs. If your body cannot accept it, the possible side effects are dizziness, nausea and diarrhea.