Scotch Broom

What other names is Scotch Broom known by?

Bannal, Basam, Besenginaterkraut, Besom, Bizzom, Breeam, Broom Tops, Browme, Brum, Butcher's-Broom, Cytise à Balai, Cytisi Scoparii Flos, Cytisi Scoparii Herba, Cytisus scoparius, Escoba Negra, Genêt à Balai, Genet à Balais, Genettier, Genista andreana, Ginsterkraut, Grand Genêt, Herbe de Hogweed, Hogweed, Irish Broom Tops, Juniesse, Retama Negra, Sarothamnus scoparius, Sarothamnus vulgaris, Scoparium, Scoparius, Scotch Broom Herb, Scotch Broom Flower, Spartium scoparium.

What is Scotch Broom?

Scotch broom is a plant. The flower and the parts that grow above the ground are used as medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, Scotch broom is used for heart problems including fluid retention (edema), poor circulation, low blood pressure, fast heartbeat, and irregular heartbeat.

Some people use Scotch broom for bleeding gums, a bleeding disorder called hemophilia, gout, achy muscles and joints (rheumatism), sciatic nerve pain, gall stones, kidney stones, spleen disorders, yellowing of the skin (jaundice), lung conditions, and snake bites. It is also used for cleansing the intestine and to cause vomiting.

Women use Scotch broom for heavy menstrual periods and for bleeding after childbirth.

Scotch broom is applied to the skin for sore muscles, pockets of infection (abscesses), and swelling. It is also used in hair rinses to lighten and brighten hair.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Fluid retention.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Swelling.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Menstrual disorders.
  • Heavy bleeding after giving birth.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • Gout.
  • Arthritis-like pain.
  • Nerve disorders.
  • Gall stones.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Spleen disorders.
  • Heart disorders.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Scotch broom for these uses.

How does Scotch Broom work?

Scotch broom contains chemicals that might cause an increase in body water loss through the urine. It also contains chemicals that affect heart rhythm.

Are there safety concerns?

Scotch broom is LIKELY UNSAFE to take by mouth. It can cause heart and circulation problems. It might also cause side effects such as nausea and diarrhea.

Poisoning can occur with doses greater than 30 grams of Scotch broom. Symptoms of poisoning include dizziness, headache, heartbeat changes, leg weakness, sweating, sleepiness, and widening of the pupils.

There isn't enough information to know if Scotch broom is safe when applied to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Scotch broom is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. It might cause a miscarriage. It is also considered LIKELY UNSAFE to take by mouth during breast-feeding..

Heart disease: Scotch broom might affect the heartbeat. Don't use it.

High blood pressure: Scotch broom might make the blood vessels narrower. This could raise blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, Scotch broom could make it worse.

Kidney problems: Some chemicals in Scotch broom might make kidney disease worse.

Are there any interactions with medications?

Haloperidol (Haldol)
Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

The body breaks down Scotch broom to get rid of it. Haloperidol (Haldol) seems to decrease the breakdown of Scotch broom. Taking Scotch broom along with haloperidol (Haldol) might increase the risk of serious side effects of Scotch broom. Do not take Scotch broom if you are taking haloperidol (Haldol).

Medications for depression (MAOIs)
Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

Scotch broom contains a chemical called tyramine. Large amounts of tyramine can cause high blood pressure. But the body naturally breaks down tyramine to get rid of it. This usually prevents the tyramine from causing high blood pressure. Some medications used for depression called MAOIs stop the body from breaking down tyramine. This can cause there to be too much tyramine and lead to dangerously high blood pressure.

Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

The body breaks down Scotch broom to get rid of it. Quinidine seems to decrease the breakdown of Scotch broom. Taking Scotch broom along with quinidine might increase the risk of serious side effects of Scotch broom. Do not take Scotch broom if you are taking quinidine.

Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Scotch broom might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking Scotch broom might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Dosing considerations for Scotch Broom.

The appropriate dose of Scotch broom depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for Scotch broom. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011