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Butcher's Broom Herb - Dosage and Useful Properties

Taxonomic Class

Liliaceae

Common Trade Names

Multi-ingredient preparations: Butcher's Broom Extract 4:1, Butcher's

Broom Root, Hemodren Simple, Ruscorectal

Common Forms

Capsules: 75 mg, 110 mg, 150 mg, 400 mg, 470 mg, 475 mg

Also available as liquid extract and tea.

Source

Butcher's broom is extracted from the leaves, rhizomes, and roots of Ruscus aculeatus, a low-lying evergreen of the lily family. It is native to the Mediterranean region but also grows in southern United States.

Chemical Components

The major active components of butcher's broom are the steroidal saponins ruscogenin and neoruscogenin. Coumarins, flavonoids, glycolic acid, sparteine, and tyramine have also been isolated.

Actions

In a study of dog veins, the saponins in butcher's broom produced vasoconstriction by directly activating post junctional alpha 1 and alpha 2 receptors .

Studies with animals have evaluated the effect of R. aculeatus on the diameter of arterioles and venules and the effect of local changes in temperature on venous responsiveness to R. aculeatus . Clinical trials suggest that a Ruscus preparation relieved symptoms of chronic phlebopathy of the legs . The extract of this plant possesses anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Reported Uses

Butcher's broom is claimed to be helpful in treating arthritis, hemorrhoids, leg edema, peripheral vascular disease, and varicose veins. It has also been used as a diuretic and a laxative. Human clinical data to support these claims are limited.

Dosage

For venous phlebopathy in the lower limbs, the dosage of butcher's broom tested in humans was 99 mg P.O. daily (in combination with ascorbic acid and hesperidin).

Adverse Reactions

None reported.

Interactions

  • Anticoagulants: May increase effects of these drugs. Monitor closely.

  • Antihypertensives: May reduce effects of alpha blockers, such as prazosin, doxazosin, terazosin; reduces effectiveness of therapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Avoid administration with butcher's broom.

  • MAO inhibitors: May cause hypertensive crisis from tyramine in butcher's broom. Avoid administration with butcher's broom.

Contraindications And Precautions

Butcher's broom is contraindicated in pregnant or breast -feeding patients; effects are unknown. Use cautiously in patients with hypertension or BPH or those who are receiving alpha antagonist therapy.

Special considerations

  • Inform the patient that more effective agents exist to treat his disease and that long-term effects of butcher's broom are unknown.

  • Caution the patient with circulatory disorders that butcher's broom may interfere with other drugs he is taking.

  • Advise women to avoid using butcher's broom during pregnancy or when breast-feeding.

Points of Interest

Butchers in Europe and the Mediterranean at one time used the leaves and twigs of this plant to scrub chopping blocks clean, hence the name butcher's broom,

Commentary

Butcher's broom possesses vasoconstrictive properties, but clinical data about these effects are limited. One study suggests that butcher's broom is beneficial in patients with chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins. The study involved only 40 patients and R. aculeatus was used in combination with hesperidin and ascorbic acid.

Butcher's broom may be well tolerated, but additional studies are needed to evaluate its efficacy in treating venous disease and other vascular conditions. No clinical data support the use of butcher's broom for treating arthritis or hemorrhoids.

   

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