The healing power of common broom

The common broom is a beautiful plant with yellow flowers that is sold as an ornamental plant. In the wild you regularly see it in the dunes, heathlands and on sandy soils. The broom has very small leaves. Brem contains toxins. As is often the case with poisonous plants, this poison called sparteine can be used in phytotherapy as a natural medicine. It is mainly used for heart disease, blood vessel diseases and rheumatic diseases. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing broom / Source: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • Common broom, good for the heart
  • Broom, a venotonic
  • Medicinal activities under discussion
  • Safety broom


The Latin name of common broom is Cytisus scoparius . In Dutch, this shrub is also called broom for short, in addition to normal broom. Broomwort is also a beautiful name. Cytisus simply means ‘plant’. Scoparius means ‘garbage man’. The plant got this name because it can be made into brooms. In German the plant is called Besenkraut, which literally means broom herb. The Dutch word ‘brem’ used to mean ‘broom’. Compare it with the English word for broom ‘broom’.

Active substances

The herb growing above ground, including the twigs, is used. Sometimes the flowers are used. Common broom contains alkaloids, of which sparteine is the most important. It also contains the alkaloids lupanine, alpha-isosprateine or genisterine and bisparteine. Furthermore, it contains dopamine, tyramine, oxytyramine, flavonoids such as isoflavones, scopaline and astragalin, coumarins, caffeic acid derivatives, essential oil, lectin and resin.

Common broom, good for the heart

Brem is a cardiosedative; a means to calm the heart. It does not work for serious heart disorders, only for mild forms. Brem causes the coronary arteries to dilate, causing an extension of the diastole or resting phase of the heart. Sparteine is the main active substance. It slows down the nerve impulses that lead to an accelerated heart rate. The medicinal effects are used in phytotherapy for the following indications:

  • Mild cardiac arrhythmias,
  • Tachycardia or too fast heart rate,
  • Premature heart contractions,
  • Low bloodpressure
  • Paroxysmal tachycardia or sudden rapid heartbeat.

Broom, a venotonic

Broom is a plant that supports the veins. It is a venotonic, a substance that strengthens the blood vessels. Among other things, it ensures that the blood flows back less quickly. After each pumping beat of the heart, a little blood flows ‘back’, in the wrong direction. The veins are constructed in such a way that they can prevent this by a kind of valve system and the normal broom ensures that this operation takes place more optimally. This makes broom a natural medicine in phytotherapy that is used for:

  • Varicose veins,
  • Related complaints of varicose veins such as swollen legs and ankles,
  • Overfilling of the veins.

Medicinal activities under discussion

Brem stimulates the uterus. It is said to stimulate the uterus and promote contractions. In addition, it has haemostatic properties. However, not every herbal therapist agrees on these effects. Most effects in phytotherapy are supported by scientific findings, but these medicinal effects are only the result of observations by doctors. The same applies to the diuretic effect of broom. Because this medicinal plant promotes urine production, it is a remedy for gout and other rheumatic diseases. Unfortunately, this effect has also been under-researched and is only supported by personal observations of naturopaths and herbalists. Despite this, broom is considered by some doctors

Common broom / Source: MPF, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

used at:

  • Mild menorrhagia or excessive blood loss
  • Metrorrhagia or excessive uterine bleeding,
  • Birth,
  • Arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout,
  • Inadequate urine production.

Safety broom

Therapeutic dose:

  • An infusion of 2.5 grams of herb in 180 ml of water three to four times a day.

Brem is not really poisonous, but you should not take too much of it or you will suffer from side effects. You should therefore only take it on medical prescription and under the care of a doctor. Another danger is that if you look up the plant yourself you can easily confuse the species and use Spanish broom, which contains the toxin cytisine. During pregnancy, broom should not be taken at all because it may stimulate the uterus.