English name: Butcher’s broom
Latin name: Ruscus aculeatus
Family: Asparagus - Asparagaceae
Origin: Mediterranean basin
This evergreen shrub grows naturally in forests and shrub thickets. Its structure appears to feature leaves which are in fact shoots (cladodes), in the centre of which bloom small, yellow-white flowers. It blooms in late March and early April. The fruits are red berries with one to two seeds, each up to 15 mm. in diameter.
It serves as a medicinal plant; the rhizome, collected in autumn, contains spirostane-type steroidal saponins. This increases vein tension, is anti-inflammatory, seals capillaries, and helps regulate blood pressure. The rhizome extract has treated other problems, such as haemorrhoids, leg and ankle swelling, nocturnal calf cramps and genital bleeding.