Thursday, January 5, 2012

Grandma's Butcher's Broom

Butcher's Broom berry
by Lorri Stoltz, edited by Molly Stoltz

My mom wanted to share an herb that my grandmother happened to love, and so I'm going to pass this post on to Lorri. Here's mom!

Grandma Stoltz believed in Butcher's Broom, which helped her to tame her varicose veins. It happens to run in the family (both sides!) and I'm sure many women have struggled with them as well. So, this post is dedicated to Grandma Stoltz, an avid gardener and folk herbalist of sorts.

Butcher's Broom

Butcher's Broom is a rather obscure herb. It is an evergreen bush in the lily family.  It has leaf-like branches with a spine and until the 20th century the dried plant could be used as a broom -thus the name Butchers Broom!  It appears to fit in nicely with Christmas decor as well. It has pretty red berries that contrast the green leaves.

This dual purpose herb and household item has a variety of properties. Researchers in France have determined that butcher's broom contains compounds closely resembling steroids which may account for its anti-inflammatory action. It’s properties help support circulation and can actually make veins stronger.  In a nutshell it reduces swelling, alleviates inflammation and increases circulation making it popular with varicose vein sufferers. It also helps edema of the legs, asthma, jaundice, and other ailments.

illustration of Butcher's Broom

Traces of coumarins can also be found in butcher's broom . Coumarins are used today as anticoagulants in drugs that" thin the blood. Butcher's broom also contains ruscogenin, neo-ruscogenin and flavonoids. 

IMPORTANT: Butchers broom should be used with caution for anyone who takes blood pressure medication.  It also should not be used by pregnant women. Butchers broom is also a mild diuretic, and may cause increased urinary output.

Hemorrhoid suffers also appreciate it’s ability to tighten dilated blood vessels thus it’s effective in the relief of those nasty anal pests. For soothing relief combine a butchers broom tincture with witch hazel, refrigerate till cool and apply with cotton balls to inflamed area.  

Here's a tea blend from Rosemary Gladstar!

Healthy Vein Tea

3 parts Hawthorn berries

3 parts Butchers Broom

2 parts Prickly Ash Bark

1 part Ginger

1/2 lemon peel

Mix these ingredients together.

Use 2 teaspoons in 1 cup of water. Prepare as a decoction for 15 minutes. Then remove from heat and add 1/2 t. yarrow and let steep an additional 15 minutes. Strain. Drink 3 times daily.

And, if you don't need any of these remedies, you can still make a broom!

References:  Prescription for Herbal Healing - Phyllis Balch, CNC


  1. Butcher's broom is known for its healing properties, especially its benefits to the circulatory system. In the Medieval times, it used to be considered high-value food. The young shoots were cooked like asparagus. It's best to combine Butcher's broom with other herbs such as garlic, gingko, or hawthortn. These are circulatory herbs too!

    Katelin Mccaig

  2. Thanks for the information, I appreciate it!