Butcher's broom: medicinal properties, method of use and benefits

Butcher's broom: medicinal properties, method of use and benefits


Ruscus aculeatus





The butcher's broom, whose scientific name is Ruscus aculeatus, belongs to the family of Ruscaceae (clado Rusceae) and is a plant native to the Mediterranean basin but we find it from central Europe, north Africa and south west Asia up to an altitude of 1200 m.

It is an evergreen plant, characterized by numerous thorns and forms very intricate bushes.

The Ruscus aculeatus is provided with a rhizome creeping from which both the adventitious roots woody that i stems (shoots) which assume an erect and rigid posture, even 1m tall, of a very dark green color.

From this stem secondary stems are formed which take the name of cladodes arranged alternately, flattened (in practice they are what we normally confuse with the leaves). These cladodes are very important in the physiology of the plant as they are responsible for carrying out chlorophyll photosynthesis because the real leaves they are not visible in the aerial part of the plant as they are small scales that envelop the underground part of the stem and are reddish-white on the underside.

The butcher's broom is a dioecious plant that is to say that there are plants that bear only female flowers and plants that bear only male flowers.

THE female flowers they are solitary, without petiole and are inserted in the center of the lower page of the cladodes at the armpit of a small green or white leaf and carry 6 tepals divided into groups of three (three shorter internal ones and 3 longer external ones). They usually appear from February to June and autumn.

THE male flowers they are provided with a petiole and formed by six stamens joined two by two.

The fruit of the butcher's berry is a bright red berry and contains 1-2 seeds.


THE active principles of the butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus) are: essential oils such as camphor, linalyl acetate, bornyl acetate, linalool, anethole and resins. They also contain various mineral salts such as calcium and potassium nitrate; phytosterols such as ruscogenin, neuroscogenin, ruscin and others; different flavonoids; sugars; fatty acids and organic acids.

Her property they are mainly related to phytosterols which give the butcher's broom diuretic properties with the elimination of chlorides, sedative and anti-inflammatory of the urinary tract, has beneficial effects against kidney stones, cystitis, gout, arthritis and non-articular rheumatism.

The butcher's broom is also useful in the therapy of varicose veins with a vasoconstrictor action exerted above all at the level of the capillaries (it is in fact the most powerful natural vasoconstrictor known). It has an anti-inflammatory action that acts by decreasing capillary fragility, increasing the tone of the venous wall thus promoting blood circulation which results in a decrease in the heaviness and swelling of the legs.

It also has a beneficial effect on hemorrhoids and phlebitis.

The butcher's broom from the old pharmacopoeia is considered a diaphoretic;composition of the five roots"together with fennel, asparagus, parsley and celery.


The rhizome of the butcher's broom is used and must be harvested in autumn or early spring, before the shoots appear. It should be cleaned from the earth and then cut and dried in the sun or in the stove and stored in paper bags.

Butcher's broom shoots can also be used as they contain the same active ingredients.


The dried rhizome or shoots can be used internally as a drinking tincture for urinary tract infections; as a decoction against hemorrhoids, varicose veins, phlebitis and as a diuretic.

For external use it is used for swollen legs and for hemorrhoids by washing, bathing, foot baths or compresses with gauze soaked in decoction.

The dry extract is used for intimate hygiene and as anti-cellulite and for all treatments against sensitive and inflamed skin. It is also excellent as an aftershave. Butcher's broom-based creams can also be used in case of rosacea and permanent redness.


The ancient Romans used the butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus) as a talisman because they believed that planting it around the house would ward off evil.

The properties of the butcher's broom have been known since ancient times. Pliny spoke of it saying that the decoction of roots with wine was used for kidney infections. Dioscorides also gave the same indications only that he advised to macerate leaves and berries in wine against kidney inflammation.

In the Middle Ages the "Potion of the five roots" was used, still used together with parsley, fennel, celery and asparagus as a diuretic.


As in many regions it is considered a symbol of good luck, especially during the Christmas period, its indiscriminate collection has meant that it has become a protected species in many Italian regions. Therefore, before collecting it, make sure you can do it.


You see: Holly - The language of flowers and plants.

Butcher's broom: properties, benefits and contraindications

The butcher's broom or Rusco (scientific name Ruscus aculeatus ) is a plant that already from the name suggests how it has based its survival skills on the sharp thorns that adorn its leaves.

It is widely used in various domestic and herbal fields. Its most popular function is ornamental, being one of the plants-symbol of Christmas holidays, together with holly and fir. The sprouts, picked in spring, are used in the kitchen like asparagus or hop sprout. And then rich in flavonoids and has stood out anti-inflammatory, diuretic and vasoprotective properties.

The butcher's broom is appreciated in the therapy of venous insufficiency, as it favors the return of blood from the periphery to the heart, this effect is also useful in the presence of edema, hence its use in draining products, against tired, heavy and swollen legs.

Butcher's broom is often recommended to relieve the typical symptoms of haemorrhoidal disease, such as itching and burning, and in the presence of anal fissures and proctitis.

Freeze-dried extracts of butcher's broom or its rhizome (improperly called "ruscus root" and suitable for the preparation of decoctions) are readily available on the market. The dry extract is generally marketed in the form of caps or drops and is also widely used in the preparation of gels and ointments dedicated to the treatment of the ailments and conditions listed so far. For this purpose it is commonly added to other ingredients with which it shares the same phytotherapeutic properties (Centella asiatica, Horse Chestnut, Red Vine, Blueberry, Acerola, Ginko Biloba) and vitamins (C, E).

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