Butcher’s Broom: Uses & Side Effects

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

While you may not be familiar with Butcher’s broom, it has a number of active compounds that could greatly benefit your overall health. It has been used is herbal medicine for many years.

What is Butcher’s Broom?

Butcher’s broom is an evergreen shrub native to Europe and West Africa. It grows 2-3 feet tall with bright red berries and flat shoots that resemble dark green leaves. While it makes a lovely addition to any garden, Butcher’s broom is most commonly cultivated for its roots’ medicinal properties.

Butcher’s Broom Uses

Butcher’s broom is typically used for 3 main purposes: as a diuretic or laxative, to treat symptoms of poor blood circulation, and to reduce swelling.

Butcher's broom fruits in a garden

Butcher’s broom is an evergreen shrub. Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Taking Butcher’s broom as an oral supplement may reduce fluid retention in the body. It may also act as a laxative, helping to clean out the bowels and prevent gastrointestinal backups.  [1]

Improves Circulation

People suffering from swelling in the legs or varicose veins swear by Butcher’s broom. Scientific research backs up these age-old claims and suggests that taking it alone or in combination with vitamin C and/or hesperidin can relieve pain, swelling, cramps, itching, and the feeling of heaviness in the legs. One study shows that it can help with swelling in the arms, particularly after chemotherapy for breast cancer, but more research is needed to confirm this claim. [2]

Reduces Swelling

Many people rely on this plant’s ability to reduce the discomfort and health risks of hemorrhoids. Butcher’s broom has positive effects on veins, and its ability to cause veins to constrict may help those suffering from hemorrhoids or varicose veins. Another novel use is reducing puffy or dark under-eye circles, and it is trusted by grooming professionals to clean pores and reduce inflammation in the delicate skin around the eyes. [3]

How to Use Butcher’s Broom

This useful compound is available in powder form, capsule, liquid extract or topical cream. So, depending on the ailment you are treating, there is likely a dosage that is right for you. Remember, most supplements are not regulated, so always buy this type of natural substance from a trusted source!

Side Effects

While a few people have reported a mild stomach ache after using this herb, there are currently no known side effects or drug interactions from Butcher’s broom. There was also the unusual case of a diabetic patient suffering from toxicity after beginning therapy with this herb. However, you should always consult your doctor before starting any new holistic medicine. It has not been extensively studied in people who are pregnant or nursing and should be avoided entirely if you are. [4]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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