Broom (Jin Que Hua)
Botanical Name: Western – Cytisus scoparius. Eastern – Flos Caraganae Sinicae.
Decoctions of broom are used to treat kidney and bladder infections. Not to be confused with either Spanish broom (Spartium junceum), a different plant that can be poisonous or butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus), which helps tighten blood vessels and capillaries, broom (Cytisus scoparius) can be used to regulate heart rate and stimulate urination. In fact, its most common use is to reduce excess fluids from the body in cases of congestive heart failure. In Germany, broom is considered gentler and less toxic than the drug quinidine used for treating heart arrhythmias.
Below is an overview of Broom (Jin Que Hua), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Broom (Jin Que Hua).
Western Name: Broom
Also Known As: Scotch Broom, Irish Tops, Basam, Bisom, Browne, Green Broom, Hogweed
Organs/Systems: Heart, Kidney, Bladder, Uterus
Key Western Actions: Diuretic, Cathartic, Heart Tonic.
Medicinal Uses: Bladder infections, kidney disorders, heart irregularities, especially low blood pressure, edema, heart arrhythmias, heavy menstrual bleeding, stimulate uterine contractions at birth, reduce heavy post-partum bleeding, sore muscles.
Pin Yin: Jin Que Hua (Flos Caraganae Sinicae)
Also Known As: Chinese Peashrub Flower
Meridians: Lung, Heart, Spleen, Kidney
Key TCM Actions: Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen/Moves Blood/Resolves Swelling, Clears Heat/Clears Wind Heat/Resolves Toxicity.
Medicinal Uses: Traumatic injury, acute mastitis, cough due to consumptive fever, morbid leucorrhea due to Qi deficiency, varicose veins, arrhythmias.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Young Flower Buds (Dried and Fresh), Fresh Tops, Seeds
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Slightly Warm or Cold
Caution: Not recommended for pregnant women as it is commonly used to stimulate contractions for childbirth.
History/Folklore: It is the only native medicinal plant in England that is used as an official drug from the pod-bearing Leguminosae family of plants. It is recorded in early herbal documents dating back as early as 1485. It was an ancient Anglo-Saxon that then became a Welsh herb used in the Middle Ages and continues to be used up to the present day. The blossoms were used to treat gout.
The 17th century herbalist, Culpepper used the plant to treat dropsy, jaundice, sciatica, and hip and joint pain.
The sparteine alkaloid found in broom has similar properties to nicotine, slowing the heart rate by suppressing certain nerve impulses. Sparteine has also been shown to temporarily raise arterial pressure followed by a longer period of decreased vascular tension. These effects have suggested it is useful as a heart tonic good for regulating chronic valvular disease with the added benefit of none of the cumulative action such as occurs with Digitalis.
Other alkaloids in broom raise blood pressure and stimulate uterine contractions. This function makes the herb useful for preventing blood loss after childbirth. Its ability to constrict small arteries also make it useful for treating heavy menstrual bleeding, reducing varicose veins, and stimulating childbirth.
The isoflavones in broom are estrogenic.
The dried powdered tops used in infusion and decoction as a diuretic. Water and alcohol can be used to extract the plant’s medicinal properties.
The powdered seeds were used in tinctures to treat liver complaints. The seeds were also used as a substitute of coffee.
The plant’s name, Sarothamnus, derives from the Greek words meaning “to sweep” and referring to the plants stems and brush-like branches as commonly being used as material for making brooms.
The plant has been used in English heraldry as a symbol of brightness, tenacity and strength. The plant’s medieval name, Planta genista, gave the family of King Henry II of England, their name: Plantagenets.
The Scottish clan of Forbes use broom as their badge and wore it to promote heroism in their chieftains.
An old traditions says that when Mary and Joseph were fleeing into Egypt, the plant was cursed by the Virgin because of the crackling sounds the ripe pods made when they touched them, threatening to reveal their location to nearby soldiers who were hunting them.
The roots grow deeply into the ground and can resist drought. The plant prefers dry, sandy soil.
The twigs and branches are used for making brooms, basket-work and as thatching for cottages or for making fences or screens. The fibers have been used to make paper.
The leaves and pods are mildly toxic to farm animals if eaten in large amounts.
Tannin, Quinolizidine alkaloids (including Sparteine and Lupanine), Isoflavones, Flavonoids, Volatile oils, Caffeic acids, Pigments.
The plants long, slender, erect branches that grow in large, close fascicles made it a natural source for making brooms, hence its English name.
Broom Not Spanish or Butcher Broom
Spanish broom (Spartium junceum) is a different plant and can be poisonous. Butcher’s broom is also a different plant used to constrict blood vessels (Ruscus aculeatus). Be sure you are using true broom (Cytisus scoparius).
The flowers contain no honey, but are still a great attraction for bees due to their high pollen content.
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