Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
Broom is a small shrub that is native to western and central Europe. It grows well almost everywhere and has been transplanted in many parts of the world. It adapts so well that in some areas it is considered a noxious weed. Also known as Scotch-broom, it blooms with golden yellow flowers in spring and summer. You should pay special attention to the cautions for this herb and if you prepare your own preparations take special care due to its possible toxic nature if doses are not correct.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Broom has been traditionally taken to treat quite a few heart-related conditions such as abnormal heart rhythms, tachycardia (fast heart rate), leg swelling, fluid in the lungs, congestive heart failure and low blood pressure. The flower has been taken as a diuretic, to help cardiomyopathy (damage to the heart muscle) and poor circulation. An alkaloid contained in the herbal remedy affects the electrical conductivity of the heart.
Broom has also been used to induce labor at the end of pregnancy and to reduce postpartum bleeding. It has also been used for bladder disorders, to cleanse the blood, bronchitis, cancer, diphtheria, gallstones, gout, hemophilia (probably due to its ability to clot blood), hypotension, hypertension, inflammation, intoxication, jaundice, kidney problems, liver problems, excessive bleeding during menstruation, nausea and sciatica.
Externally Broom has been traditionally used for bleeding gums, to induce vomiting, to induce euphoria, to kill lice, to relax, to relieve muscle aches, snake bite and toothache.
Other Uses Broom has been used to flavor beer and food.
Flower heads The tops of the flowers are used medicinally.
Pregnant women should not take this herb because it can cause contractions. Likewise, if you are a cardiac patient taking medications to regulate your heart, do not take it without the supervision of an experienced care provider as it may interact with your medications. Some people are allergic to broom so do not take any broom preparations if you have a known allergy. Some people have toxic reactions to this if it is taken in large amounts.
This same problem has been seen in livestock grazing on broom. Signs of toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, confusion, headache and digestive distress. Blood pressure changes may occur and circulatory collapse is a danger to some people. Topical application may cause irritation.
Preparation and Dosage
Studies need to be done to determine exact dosages that are safe to take, but traditional dosages are as follows:
For the flower, a juice can be pressed out of the fresh, bruised tops. Add 1/3 volume of alcohol and let it sit for seven days. Strain the liquid and take daily as needed. For an infusion, add 1 ounce of dried herb to 2 cups of boiling water. Take one cup once or twice a day as needed. As an extract, take a 1:1 preparation in 25% ethanol can be taken in doses of 1 to 2 ml as needed. A tincture should be taken in a dose of 0.5 to 2 ml per day.