treats Labor induction, Diuretic, and Cardiovascular conditions
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Scotch broom herb has been taken by mouth traditionally for a variety of conditions related to the heart or blood circulation. These include abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), fast heart rate (tachycardia), swelling in the legs (peripheral edema), water in the lungs (pulmonary edema, congestive heart failure), and low blood pressure (hypotension).
Scotch broom flower has been taken by mouth traditionally for tachycardia and to reduce leg swelling by increasing urination (diuretic), as well as for damage to the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy) and for poor circulation.
There is a scientific basis for some of these uses, due to the presence in scotch broom herb and flower of small amounts of the alkaloid sparteine. Sparteine may affect the electrical conductivity of heart muscle (similar to type 1A antiarrhythmic drugs such as quinidine). However, there is limited evidence in humans and it is not clear if sparteine found in the plant form has clinically meaningful effects. These potential properties of scotch broom may be dangerous in individuals with heart disease or taking cardiac medications. People with cardiovascular disorders should be evaluated and supervised by a licensed healthcare professional.
Diuretic (increased urine flow):
Scotch broom preparations, particularly those made from the flower, have been used traditionally as diuretics (to increase urination). Diuretic effects have been attributed by some to the constituent scoparin or scoparoside. There is insufficient scientific evidence at this time to form clear conclusions about safety or efficacy in humans.
Labor induction (oxytocic):
Scotch broom herb has been used historically to stimulate uterine contractions at birth and to reduce post- partum hemorrhage (bleeding after birth). There is a scientific basis of this use, due to the presence in scotch broom of small amounts of the alkaloid sparteine, which was studied and used through the 1970s as an oxytocic drug (to induce labor). This use was discontinued due to serious toxicities associated with sparteine. Currently, other drugs such as oxytocin (Pitocin®) are used for this purpose. The safety and efficacy of scotch broom preparations in labor are not well studied or established. Women who may require labor induction should be evaluated and supervised by a physician.