Has anyone tried growing Butcher's Broom? I've taken some heel cuttings dipped in hormone rooting powder and am trying them in potting compost covered with a plastic bag on the kitchen window. They are the most wierd plant and are in flower now.
They are said to be used herbally for varicose veins. Has anyone tried this and had any success either alone or in combination?
I've not used Butcher's Broom. I remember getting some ordinary broom from a friend's garden when I was making my ogham set many years ago but haven't used the plant since.
I use horse chestnut - leaves, conkers or bark depending on the season for varicose veins both as an oil and as a tincture (I make my own and use small drop doses).
Re: Butcher's Broom
March 2 2012, 9:52 AM
Weird plant indeed and an absolute pain literally and metaphorically (hence Italian "Topo pugno", it's supposed to deter mice climbing vines) It refuses to grow for me no matter how it is treated though I have seen it growing wild in the Gorge Du Calamus in France on limestone in full sun and also in the shade on acid soil in Oporto, both subject to drought. However, perversely, it grows like a weed in the Welsh Botanic Garden outside Carmarthen. As far as I know it has no close relationship to Scottish Broom (Sarothamnus syn Cytisus) other than the name, Ruscus are Liliaceae whereas Cytisus are Leguminosae and dead easy to grow
March 3 2012, 10:33 PM
Hello Sarah and Antony
I think the mechanism for varicose veins is pressure in the veins (through prolonged standing up), which widens the veins over time, which then means the valves cannot close (the vein is a greater diameter then the valve), which puts greater pressure in the veins, hence, even wider veins. I'm sure genetics has a lot to do with it as well. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle and work demands means we are prone to varicose veins. Aesculus (Horse Chestnut) is claimed to "strengthen" the veins, but I believe it only works to maintain good veins or those that are weakening but not yet varicose. I am curious whether varicose veins could be avoided, or whether the evil day when they deteriorate is put off if people had better muscle tone in their legs, sat down and put their feet up more frequently, or even exercised their legs occasionally when standing, in order to pump the blood back up the leg.
Do you dry your horse chestnuts before making them into a tincture
I come across Butcher's Broom in the wild occasionally, but it is generally shaded in woodland. I can't recall ever seeing it in full or even partial sun. A lady in our village planted a few sprigs in her thick hedge 20 years ago and they are still alive, but still sprigs, so not fast growing!
Re: Butcher's Broom
March 3 2012, 11:27 PM
UK herbalists and me tend to make our tinctures with fresh conkers. Some Americans have started to dry their conkers before tincturing, but they don't have such a long historical used of horsechestnut tincture as we do.
Not sure I agree with your assessment of horse chestnut only working on veins which have not yet lost their elasticity. My understanding of how it works is that it strengthens cell walls at a micro level and so tightens up not just veins, but arteries, heart muscles etc but I may be wrong - it's a while since I read what I read.
Re: Butcher's Broom
March 4 2012, 9:18 AM
Half an hour after posting my previous message, I found the seeds had germinated in damp shade. They normally take about fourteen months so they were on schedule. The problem now will be to keep them going.
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