Alternative names: Broom, Common Broom
Scotch broom is a bitter herb that depresses the respiration and regulates heart action.
It acts upon the electrical conductivity of the heart, slowing and regulating the transmission of the nerve impulses.
The medical use of Scotch broom dates back to the 15th Century.
The parts of the plant that are used are the young flowering twigs, tops, and seeds.
Scotch broom exhibits diuretic (tops), cathartic (tops and seeds), emetic (seeds), antiarrhythmic, antirheumatic, cardiotonic, and vasoconstricting properties. Constituents of interest include alkaloids, hydroxylamine, potash, ruscogenins, tannin, bitter principle, and traces of an essential oil.
It is used internally in the treatment of heart complaints.
Scotch broom is used for circulatory disorders, gout, leg cramps, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, phlebitis, thrombosis, and jaundice. It quiets an overactive heart and relieves inflammation, toothache, ague, acute constipation, and swelling of the spleen. It has been used against lice.
Being strongly diuretic, it stimulates urine production and counters fluid retention (edema).
It has been used to reduce blood loss after childbirth because it causes the uterine muscles to contract.
Combined with uva-ursi, cleavers, and dandelion it cleanses the kidneys and bladder, and increases urine flow. It is a lymph tonic.
Large doses can cause stomach upset (vomiting, diarrhea), a weakened heart, and low blood pressure. Severe toxicity can cause complete respiratory collapse, tachycardia and even fatal poisoning.
Should not be used by pregnant women or patients with high blood pressure.
Scots Broom has a well-known effect of raising blood pressure because of a mild peripheral vasoconstricting action combined with a gentle cardiotonic effect. Thus it is strongly contra-indicated for hypERtension.
One possible herbal prescription using up to 2.5ml of tincture tid is: 2 parts each of hawthorn and scots broom; 1 part each of gentian, rosemary and ginger.