Ruscus Aculeatus Butcher Broom uses in natural skin care products
Butchers broom, or Ruscus aculeatus, is an evergreen like shrub with a long history of use in Europe for promoting circulatory system health.
Among other benefits, butcher’s broom helps tighten blood vessels and capillaries, which has generated interest for use against varicose veins. It’s also been shown to relieve fluid retention and other symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency.
According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, when taken internally or applied topically, it has been used to treat varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and lymph edema (swelling in the legs). One of the major constituents of the extract (which most often comes from the root, though other parts of the plant may also be used) is called “ruscogenin,” and has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in the lab. Clinical studies have also evaluated the extract’s use in controlling lymph edema and chronic venous insufficiency.
This shrub grows to about three feet high. It’s thought to have been nicknamed “knee holly” because when mature, it can reach the height of a human’s knee. The leaves are evergreen and prickly, with tough, green stems that grow on the upper part of many short branches. Small, greenish-white flowers grow from the center of the leaves and blossom in spring. The shrub likes to grow in woodlands and hedgerows, and is tolerant of deep shade. It’s hardy, however, and will thrive in almost any soil type. You’ll also find it on coastal cliffs. The matured branches used to be bound together into bundles and sold to butchers for sweeping their blocks—hence, the name.
Butchers broom may also help with conditions like constipation, leg cramps, circulatory disorders, and general inflammation. It’s also a mild diuretic, and can encourage the flushing of water from the body.
Benefits to the Skin
The main benefit to the skin—constricting blood vessels—makes butcher’s broom a wonder in eye creams. Dark circles are often caused by the reddish-blue blood vessels under the eyes, which become more obvious with age, and also when you’re tired or suffering from allergies. The combination anti-inflammatory and blood-vessel-constricting properties of butcher’s broom attack both sides of the issue, helping to calm and conceal any unwanted darkness under the eyes.
Here are some more of the benefits you can expect:
Reduces swelling: In addition to calming the skin under and over the eyes, butchers broom can also relieve itching, swelling, and pain anywhere on the skin.
Vasoconstrictor: Constricts blood vessels, helping to fade dark circles. Also great for varicose veins. Rosacea sufferers can also benefit from this extract as it helps reduce the visible capillaries and redness.
Gentle: This is a great product for those with sensitive skin. When used topically, it is not linked with any type of irritation.
Anti-inflammatory: Like most plant extracts, butchers broom helps calm inflammation, making it helpful in skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. So powerful are the anti-inflammatory properties that the extract has been used in topical ointments to treat the pain and swelling of arthritis and rheumatism.
Anti-itch: Butchers broom is recommended for hemorrhoids not only because it calms swelling, but because it can also ease itching and burning. It can also be used as a supportive therapy for other types of skin irritations.
Astringent: An astringent shrinks body tissues—in the skin, that usually means pores. Contracting the skin around the eyes can also help them look more awake. The pore-reducing quality of butcher’s broom helps skin appear smoother overall, and is also beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin.
How Does Butchers Broom Work?
According to American University in Washington, DC, butcher’s broom activates receptors that stimulate the release of nor adrenaline to increase vascular tone and constrict blood vessels. The constriction helps to get the blood moving and reduce pooling. Butcher’s broom contains flavonoids that also support normal circulation and strengthen blood vessels.
Butchers Broom, Varicose Veins, and Hemorrhoids
Varicose veins and hemorrhoids are common and associated with a loss of blood vessel integrity. Thus, supplementing with herbs, such as horse chestnut and butcher’s broom, that support the vascular system may help. Butcher’s broom is believed to improve both conditions by promoting healthy micro-circulation, capillary flow, and strengthening connective tissue. It’s even been approved by the German Commission E (Germany’s version of the FDA) as a remedy for hemorrhoids and a 1999 clinical trial supported butcher broom’s reputation as a hemorrhoid remedy.