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What is Butcher's Broom?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated Feb 07, 2024
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Also known as knee holly, sweet broom, or Jew’s Myrtle, butcher’s broom is an small evergreen shrub that is considered to have medicinal properties as well as being ornamental. Used in a number of herbal remedies, the stiff leaves, small flowers, and tiny red berries of the shrub are often dried and ground into a powder, making it easy to administer the home remedy as a soothing tea, a poultice, or even by adding the powder to different types of food. A number of claims are made for the efficacy of butcher’s broom, although none of those claims are currently supported by modern medicine.

One of the more common claims made for butcher’s broom is that the herb can help correct system imbalances that inhibit the proper function of the bowels. When brewed as a tea, the herb is said to help correct constipation in a relatively short period of time. At the same time, the herb helps to relieve the discomfort that is common when an individual is retaining water, by allowing the system to quickly and naturally flush out the excess fluid.

Another claim made for butcher’s broom is that the herb can help with circulation problems. For this reason, alternative practitioners will sometimes recommend it as a way to help people who experience tingling in the feet and hands, or who constantly experience coldness in the extremities. For example, an individual suffering with diabetes may find that the feeling in the toes has decreased, but seems to recover somewhat after using butcher’s broom for a period of time.

More recently, butcher’s broom has been heralded as a natural means of dealing with varicose veins. Proponents state that regular use can be so effective that there is no need for surgery to correct the problem. There are also claims that the herb can help with the discomfort that some people experience with varicose veins, minimizing the pain to the point that it is no longer necessary to take any kind of pain medication in order to gain relief.

Other claims are also made for the effectiveness of butcher’s broom. Since the shrub contains rutins and other flavonoids that have demonstrated the ability to increase blood flow to the brain, there are those that say the herb can help with cases of mild depression, anxiety, and even the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Others claim that butcher’s broom is an effect treatment for hemorrhoids, bruises, and even insect bites. While there is a large body of anecdotal evidence supporting the use of the herb with a number of ailments, no research currently exists to support the idea of sweet broom as an effective treatment for any ailment.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Dec 03, 2014

Has anyone here used this supplement for hemorrhoids? I read about it in a magazine and looked up customer reviews. Some say it worked, others say it did nothing. I'm not sure if it's worth trying or not. Did it work for you?

By donasmrs — On Dec 03, 2014

@stoneMason-- Where in the US do you live? I thought that buther's broom is native to some parts of Europe only. If it grows in the US, I would love to.

I actually use the capsule supplements. Sometimes my local pharmacy carries them, other times, I get them online. They do work. I use them for better circulation. I've always had cold hands and feet but everything got worse after I developed diabetes. Butcher's broom seems to help. I feel less cold than before. My feet don't turn all white anymore.

I've not had any side effects. I just follow the dose directions on the bottle. As long as you don't take more than the recommended amount, I think you'll be fine.

By stoneMason — On Dec 03, 2014

We have butcher's broom in our front yard. They are great as an ornament. The red flowers are beautiful and make a festive look i winter. I've always admired this shrub for this reason but I had no idea that it has health benefits as well.

I'm usually careful about using plants as remedies. I'm unsure of how to handle them, which parts to use and how much to take. Since herbs aren't studied or approved by the FDA, I always worry about side effects and risks. Aside from butcher's broom, I've got several other shrubs and plants with medicinal properties but I'm not brave enough to make my own remedies with them.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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