The longest stems of the scotch broom plant have been used from ancient times to make brooms. However, only from the 19th century onwards has it been used in phytotherapy, after it was discovered that it contained very active substances for the circulatory system.
Scotch Broom Plant Scientific Facts
- Other names: Broom, link, Irish broom.
- French: Genettier.
- Spanish: Retama negra.
- Environment: Roadsides and field borders in siliceous (never calcareous) soils of Central and Southern Europe. Naturalized in America.
- Description: Shrub of the Leguminosae family, growing up to two meters high, with yellow flowers and hairy fruits.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: Young branches and flower buds.
Healing Properties and Warning
The whole plant, especially its branches, contains several alkaloids, the most outstanding is sparteine, which increases the strength of heart contractions and slows the heartbeat rate. They also provoke oxytocic action on the uterus (increase the strength of its contractions). The branches also contain amines that stimulate the autonomic nervous system (tyramine and dopamine) and have vasoconstrictive and hypertensive effects.
The flowers also contain flavonoids (scoparin), which make them diuretic. They are especially recommended in the case of edema due to coronary insufficiency and gout, nephrosis (albuminuria), nephritis, and kidney stones.
The scotch broom plant is used under medical supervision in coronary and circulatory disorders. Heart insufficiency (with similar effects to the foxglove plant), hypotension, arrhythmia, tachycardia. It has also been used as a stimulant in labor.
WARNING! Do not exceed the recommended doses because this plant may provoke a rise in blood pressure. People suffering from hypertension must avoid using it.
How to use Scotch Broom
- Infusion with 20-30g of flowers and/or leaves per liter of water, drinking from two to four cups a day.
- Dry extract: From 0.3 to 0.4g, three times a day.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 225. Print. [scotch broom plant]