Alternative Names: Ruscus aculeatus
Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is a short evergreen shrub, native to the Mediterranean region. It is the root (rhizomes) of this plant, also referred to as box holly or knee holly that is used medicinally.
This plant has recorded medicinal use as early as the first century, but has been a focus of studies in venous disease primarily since the 1960s.
Like horse chestnut, its saponins play a major role in the activity of butcher's broom. In this case it is the saponins ruscogenin and neoruscogenin. They apparently function as vasoconstricting agents through the adrenergic receptors. Extracts of butcher's broom have also been shown to inhibit elastase, an enzyme involved in the decreased tone of veins.
Butcher's Broom is popular among European women, who use it to treat the discomfort and pain of restless leg syndrome, caused by poor circulation – "heavy legs".
Dosages range from 100mg of extract per day, all the way to 100mg of the extract (standardized to 9-11% ruscogenin) taken 3 times per day for varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and related conditions (Conditions "Approved" by the German Commission E).