Image for Scotch broom (Linn.) herb and flower, sparteine
Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius Linn.) herb and flower, sparteine

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Bannal, basam, Besenginaterkraut, besom, bissom, bizzom, bream, broom, broom tops, broomtops, browme, brum, butcher's-broom, common broom, Cystisi scoparii flos, Cystisus scoparius, Cytsus scoprfus, English broom, European broom, Fabaceae (family), flavonals, flavone, genet a balais, Genista, Genista andreana, Genista scoparius (Lam.), Ginsterkraut, greem broom, herba spartii scoparii, herbe de genet a balais, herbe de genistae scopariae, herbe de hogweed, hogweed, Irish broom, Irish broom tops, Irish tops, lectins, Leguminosae (family), Papilionaceae (family), sarothamni herb, Sarothamnus scoparius (Koch), Sarothamnus vulgaris, sparteine, scoparii cacumina, scopari herba, scoparius, scotch broom top, scotchbroom, sparteine, Spartium scoparium Linn., sumidad de retma de escobas.
  • Note: Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) is not to be confused with Spanish broom (Spartium junceum), which has been associated with severe toxicity, or Butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius), also referred to as broom, is a perennial woody plant native to Europe. The species was introduced as a garden ornamental to North America and now is common across western Canada and California. Scotch broom plants grow up to 10 feet tall, with sharply angled branches off the main stem, trifoliate leaves, and bright yellow small flowers. Scotch broom spreads quickly and aggressively at the expense of other plants and trees, and is often considered an invasive plant or pest.
  • There is very little available scientific evidence about the efficacy or safety of scotch broom, and most conclusions come from knowledge of its constituents, or from traditional use. There is particular concern about the potential toxicity of scotch broom, due to the presence of small amounts of the toxic alkaloids sparteine and isosparteine, which are found in both the flowers and herb (above-ground parts). Sparteine has cardiovascular depressing effects similar to the drug quinidine (a class 1a antiarrhythmic agent). It has known effects on the electrical conductivity of heart muscle and can potentially cause dangerous heart rhythms or interact with cardiac drugs. Sparteine is also known to cause uterine contractions, and should be avoided during pregnancy. Life-threatening adverse effects have been associated with sparteine, and therefore, scotch broom should be used only under strict medical supervision.

Dosing/Toxicology

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Precautions/Contraindications

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Mechanism of Action

  • Content available for subscribers only.

History

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Table

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Discussion

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Products Studied

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Author Information

  • Content available for subscribers only.

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  • Content available for subscribers only.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.