Ruscus - Ruscus aculeatus L.
Asparagus plants (Asparagaceae)
The prickly butcher's broom is native in the Mediterranean and North Africa up to Asia and is also found on the Atlantic coast of France and England. It grows like an evergreen, a drought-loving shrub in thickets and on dry, rocky slopes. The organs that look like leaves to us widen in leaf like laterals (phylloclades) from 1.5 to 2.5cm long. They photosynthesize with their green colour (chlorophyll). The leaves themselves are inconspicuous scales, which fall off easily and so they do not come into appearance. There are several small white flowers in the middle of the leaf-like lateral shoots (phylloclades). If these then ripen in the middle of the "leaves" into red berries, the branches of the butcher´s broom are very decorative. Therefore, they are used in late autumn for flower arrangements on graves or for Christmas and they stay well into the winter. The phylloclades are leathery hard and taper into a sharp point at the end, where you can easily hurt yourself. In English, the plant is called "butcher's broom" because in Italy the butchers use to clear their chopping blocks with brooms made out of butcher's broom.
The dried underground parts are used, consisting of the rhizomes with attached roots. They are dug up in late summer. The commercial drug comes from the Mediterranean countries.
Butcher's broom rhizome contains steroid saponins, the aglycone extracted from it is sold under the name of "ruscogenins". In addition, it contains phytosterols and triterpenes are included.
For supportive therapy in chronic venous insufficiency with complaints such as pain and heaviness in the legs, night cramps, itching and swelling. Supportive treatment of symptoms of haemorrhoids such as itching, burning sensation (Commission E, ESCOP). The HMPC has classified butcher's broom rhizome as a traditional herbal medicinal product (see "traditional use").
Based on many years of experience, butcher's broom rhizome can be used for relieving discomfort and heaviness in the legs associated with mild venous circulatory disorders and it can be used with haemorrhoids to relieve the itching and burning sensation.
Dried extracts in capsules and tablets.
Prepared drugs: To ensure the effect, butcher's broom rhizome should be taken in the form of the prepared drug with a defined potency (quantified extract), the dosage is stated on the leaflet. A tea of butcher's broom rhizome does not provide the effective dose for the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency.
There are no studies on the safety of its use during pregnancy and breast-feeding. The clinical picture is not relevant to children and adolescents.
Taking butcher's broom rhizome may cause stomach discomfort and nausea.
Wichtl: Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka, pg. 581
Schilcher: Leitfaden Phytotherapie, pg. 169
Van Wyk: Handbuch der Arzneipflanzen, pg. 279
Kommentar zum Europäischen Arzneibuch (butcher's broom rhizome, no. 1847)