Butcher's Broom herb supplement health benefit, side effects
October 12 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Butcher's broom is a small evergreen shrub native to western Europe. The tough, leaf-like branches have been used to assemble makeshift brooms, hence the common name. Butcher's broom root was traditionally regarded in Western herbal medicine to treat urinary obstruction or gravel, edema, ascites (the accumulation of fluid in the peritoneal cavity, causing abdominal swelling), and for removal of phlegm. It was used both orally and locally for the treatment of hemorrhoids.

Chemical Composition, what's in it
Ruscogenins, anthocyanins, and saponins are some of the substances found in the herb.

Source Naturals Butcher's Broom, 500 mg, 250 Tablets

Butcher's Broom is an
herb which is the source of ruscogenin and related saponins. It has been widely used since the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, and has been the subject of scientific re-search in Europe over the past 20 years.

Suggested Use: 1 Butcher's Broom tablet daily with a meal or recommended by your health care professional.

Supplement Facts:
Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus) 500 mg

 

Research, active ingredients
Ruscus species (Ruscus aculeatus, Ruscus hypoglossum and Ruscus colchicus) have saponins and anthocyanins.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2005.
Red berries of Ruscus aculeatus, a wild shrub typical of Mediterranean Europe and Africa, were investigated for the first time in order to determine the profile of anthocyanins. The major anthocyanins were pelargonidin 3-O-rutinoside (64%), pelargonidin 3-O-glucoside (16%), and pelargonidin 3-O-trans-p-coumarylglucoside. The attractive color of R. aculeatus berries and the great abundance of the plant in the south of Italy make these berries a new and promising source of natural colorants.

Chronic venous insufficiency
Efficacy and safety of a Butcher's broom preparation (Ruscus aculeatus extract) compared to placebo in patients suffering from chronic venous insufficiency.
Arzneimittelforschung. 2002.
Extracts from Butchers broom rhizome (Ruscus aculeatus) have been widely used in the oral treatment of lower leg edema in patients with chronic venous insufficiency. The aim of the present study was to confirm the efficacy and safety of a ruscus extract (Fagorutin Ruscus Kapseln) according to the latest scientific standards. 166 women suffering from chronic venous insufficiency (Widmer grade I and II, CEAP (Clinical signs, Etiological classification, Anatomic distribution, Pathophysiology) 3-4) were included. The data of 148 patients (30-89 years) with a mean disease duration of 14 years in the ruscus extract group and 15 years in the placebo group were eligible for the intent-to-treat-analysis. The primary parameter was the area under baseline of the leg volume changes over 12 weeks (AUB0-12). Secondary parameters were the changes in circumference of the lower leg and the ankle, changes in subjective symptoms and quality of life, the overall efficacy and tolerability and safety parameters. The study was carried out according to the guidelines for testing drugs for chronic venous insufficiency. There were significant differences between the treatment groups ruscus and placebo for the AUB0-12, for the change of leg volume after 8 and 12 weeks of treatment (-16.5 ml and -20.5 ml), for changes in ankle and leg circumferences after 8 and 12 weeks of treatment, and for the changes in subjective symptoms, heavy tired legs and sensation of tension (week 12). For the changes in the symptoms heavy lower legs, sensation of tension, and tingling sensation a significant positive correlation with the changes in leg volume was shown. Overall assessment of efficacy was significantly better for ruscus extract compared to placebo. Overall tolerability for both treatments was assessed as good and very good. Of all 48 adverse events occurring in both treatment groups, 22 were reported in the ruscus group, one of them was considered to be related to the study medication (unlikely). Considering the study duration of three months it is concluded, that ruscus extract, in the recommended daily dosage according to the German monograph, is a safe and effective treatment for patients suffering from chronic venous insufficiency.

Blood pressure
Ruscus aculeatus as a potential treatment for orthostatic hypotension, with a case report.
J Altern Complement Med. 2000. American University, Washington, DC, USA.
Chronic orthostatic hypotension (OH) is frequently a severely debilitating disease that affects large groups of the population with autonomic insufficiency--the elderly; patients with diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome; and anyone on drugs that affect the autonomic nervous system. Butcher's broom, a phytotherapeutic agent that is well known in Europe, has vasoconstrictive and venotonic properties which make it ideally suited to treat the pooling of blood in the limbs, lack of venous tone, and lack of neurally mediated vasoconstriction that frequently characterize OH. Although it has never been suggested as a treatment for OH, it already has a long, proven record of use in Europe for treating a variety of circulatory disorders. To provide evidence for what appears to be an effective, safe, inexpensive botanical therapy for OH and encourage further studies on the efficacy of Ruscus for OH patients. Review of OH and therapies currently available for OH and evaluation of the properties of Butcher's broom, its mechanism of action, and its suitability as a therapeutic agent for treatment of OH. A review of the many pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic agents for treating OH reveals that all of the drug therapies are disappointing and marginally useful. Although nonpharmacologic management is preferred, in the many cases in which OH becomes debilitating, pharmacologic intervention becomes a last resort. But drug therapy may not always be necessary, because Butcher's broom, a phytotherapeutic agent containing ruscogenins and flavonoids, may prove useful for the treatment of OH if denervation is not so advanced that it has compromised receptor activity at the venous wall. Butcher's broom is an alpha-adrenergic agonist that causes venous constriction by directly activating postjunctional alpha1- and alpha2-receptors, in turn stimulating the release of noradrenaline at the level of the vascular wall. It also possesses venotonic properties: it reduces venous capacity and pooling of blood in the legs and exerts protective effects on capillaries, the vascular endothelium, and smooth muscle. Its flavonoid content strengthens blood vessels, reduces capillary fragility, and helps maintain healthy circulation. Unlike most of the drug therapies used to treat OH, Butcher's broom does not cause supine hypertension. It also appears to do something no other therapy can offer--alleviate the worsening effects of OH in environmentally hot conditions. Finally, it is an extremely safe, inexpensive, over-the-counter botanical medicine. With proven phlebotherapeutic properties, including vasoconstrictive action and venotonic properties, Butcher's broom shows great promise for ameliorating the symptoms of OH and improving the quality of life for large groups in the population. It clearly deserves to be the object of wider research and study as a treatment for OH.

Adverse reactions, risk, caution, danger
J Emerg Med. 2013. An unusual case of Butcher's Broom precipitating diabetic ketoacidosis. Herbal medicines are readily available and commonly perceived to be relatively harmless. Butcher's Broom is used in various medicinal preparations and contains substances having α-adrenergic-stimulating properties. :Our aim was to report a case of toxicity associated with Butcher's Broom in a diabetic patient. A 39-year-old woman developed diabetic ketoacidosis 5 days after beginning therapy with Butcher's Broom for mild ankle swelling. Her diabetic ketoacidosis was complicated by hyperkalemia and acidosis with a pH of 7.02. After management with intravenous fluid, insulin, and calcium gluconate, her condition stabilized and she was discharged several days later.