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  • Cytisus scoparius L.
  • Papiloniaceae
  • Pea family

Common Names

herbsBroom flowers
herbsBroom tops
herbsButcher's broom
herbsCommon broom
herbsIrish broom
herbsScotch broom

Parts Usually Used

Young flowering twigs, tops, and seeds

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

An attractive, evergreen shrub, it has bright green, almost leafless stems; erect green branches from which oval leaflets grow, with bright yellow pea-like flowers, much favored by butterflies, blooms in April to June. The height ranges from 3-10 feet and can be trimmed back after flowering for a more compact shape. Unlike gorse, with which it is sometimes confused, broom rarely sports any prickles. The fruit is a brownish-black, shaggy pod contains 12-18 seeds. Requires full sun, prefers poor soil with perfect drainage.

Another herb, called Butcher's Broom (Ruscus acluteatus) is extremely popular among European women. They use it to treat discomfort and pain of restless leg syndrome, caused by poor circulation; that heavy leg feeling.

Where Found

A native of Europe, Asia, and Africa, broom has become naturalized in some parts of North America. Found on dry, gravely banks, heaths and hillsides, particularly in the rural areas of the western United States.

Medicinal Properties

Tops: cathartic, diuretic
Seed: cathartic, emetic

Biochemical Information

Alkaloids, hydroxylramine, 42% potash, and ruscogenins, tannin, bitter principle, and traces of an essential oil.

Legends, Myths and Stories

Broom is one of the nine fairy herbs, and a cologne prepared from its flowers is said to inspire affection.

The branches of this shrub produced crude but useful brooms, hence the name.

Scotch broom is used in beer makings and flavorings.


For circulatory disorders, gout, leg cramps, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, phlebitis, thrombosis, and jaundice . Good for kidney and bladder. Relieves inflammation. Excellent for dropsy, toothache, ague, acute constipation, swelling of the spleen.

Used with uva-ursi, cleavers, and dandelion makes an excellent remedy for cleansing the kidneys and bladder, and to increase the flow of urine. Makes a good ointment for lice or vermin. A cardiac depressant to quiet an overactive heart. A lymph tonic.

One of the legumes, it also increases available nitrogen in the soil, benefiting plants growing around it, and is a collector of calcium.

Formulas or Dosages

The tops of young branches should be picked, and an infusion made using 3 tsp. to 3/4 pint of water. Dosage is a tbsp. night and morning.

Decoction: prepared from the root, boil 1 tsp flowering tops or seeds in 1 cup water. Dosage is a tbsp. night and morning. Or take 1 to 2 cups per day, a mouthful at at time.


Large doses can cause vomiting, purging, weakening heart, lowered nerve strength and low blood pressure. Advanced stages of toxicity can cause complete respiratory collapse. It also speeds up the heartbeat. Large doses have been reported to cause fatal poisoning.

Broom contains alkaloids and hydroxytyramine, and should not be used except under proper medical supervision.

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