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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Dietary Supplements >>  Scotch Broom

Scotch Broom

As the name says, scotch broom is also sometimes referred to broom and is native to Europe. This perennial woody plant was introduced as a garden ornamental to North America and now is widespread in many western countries. Scotch broom plant has sharp angled branches that come from main stem with small bright yellow flowers and trifoliate leaves. Broom can bloom up to 10 feet and spread aggressively and quickly at the cost of other desirable plants, grasses or small shrubs and is often considered a pest.
Scotch broom is used as an herb and its flowers are used traditionally for medical purpose since ages, although little scientific evidence is available regarding its safety and effectiveness.

Health and scotch broom

  1. Traditionally scotch bloom is taken orally for various heart related conditions or blood circulation that include tachycardia (increased heart rate), arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), cardiomyopathy (damage of heart muscle), congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema, peripheral edema, diuretic (increase urination) and low blood pressure.
  2. Sparteine and isosparteine are the two potentially toxic alkaloids present in the herb and the flowers of scotch broom.
  3. Preparations containing flower of this plant have been traditionally used as a diuretic. These effects may be due to the presence of scoparin or scoparoside in the flower.
  4. Alkaloid sparteine in scotch broom is considered to stimulate the uterine contractions at birth and decrease the post-partum (after birth) bleeding.

Side effects of scotch broom

  1. Sparteine can have effects on heart muscle like electrical conductivity of heart muscle, can cause abnormal heart rhythms and also react with some cardiac medications. So it should be administered under supervision for heart patients and on medications for the same. Scotch broom also causes altered blood pressure, so it is not advisable for patients with a history of abnormal blood pressure or taking medications for blood pressure.
  2. Due to the presence of the toxic alkaloids, ingestion or smoking of this herb or flowers in large amounts may not be safe and can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, dizziness, respiratory arrest, weakness, palpitation, diarrhea and gastrointestinal distress.
  3. Scotch broom should also be avoided in the cigarette form and as a coffee substitute.
  4. Scotch broom is not recommended in pregnancy as it can cause uterine contraction and can induce abortion. It is also not recommended during breast feeding due to insufficient scientific evidence.

Scotch broom should be taken only in recommended doses under the guidance of a health care professional to avoid any health related complications. 
Submitted on January 16, 2014