Cytisus scoparius L Link

Synonym ► Sarothamnus scoparius (L.) Koch.

Family ► Papilionaceae, Fabaceae.

Habitat ► Mild climatic regions of south and central Europe, north Africa and West Asia. C. scoparius is fairly common in and around Oatacmund (Nilgiris) and is found wild as a garden escape. It grows also in Simla and neighbouring places. An allied species, C. monspessulanus Linn., White Broom, also occurs in the Nilgiri hills.

English ► Broom, Scotch Broom, Yellow Broom.

Action ► Green twigs of the plant, collected before flowering, either fresh or after drying, are used as diuretic and cathartic. Emetic in large doses. The seeds are also used similarly. The herb is used chiefly in the form of sulphate in tachycardia and functional palpitation. (The action of the whole plant is stated to be different from that of isolated alkaloids.) The whole herb has been used to treat tumours.

Key application ► For functional heart and circulatory disorders. Aqueous-ethanolic extracts are used internally. Simultaneous administration of MAO-inhibitors contraindicated due to the tyramine content. (German Commission E.) The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia reported antiarrhythmic and diuretic action of the herb.

The herb contains quinolizidine alkaloids; main alkaloids are (-)-spar-teine, lupanine, ammodendrine and various derivatives; biogenic amines, including tryramine, epinine, dopa-mine; isoflavone glycosides including genistein, scoparin; flavonoids; essential oil; caffeic acid and p-coumaric acids; tannins. Seeds contain lectins (phytohaemagglutinins).

The herb contains over 2% tyramine. Tyramine acts as an indirect sympa-thomimetic, vasoconstrictive and hy-potensive.

The herb is contraindicated in high blood pressure, A-V block and pregnancy.

Scoparin's action on renal mucous membrane is similar to that of Buchu and Uva-ursi. (A decoction or infusion of broom is used in dropsical complaints of cardiac origin.)

Sparteine produces a transient rise in arterial pressure followed by a longer period of decreased vascular tension (contradictory observations have been recorded). Some researchers are of the opinion that sparteine is a regulator in chronic vulvar disease. It showed no cumulative action like digitalis. In large doses, it is highly toxic and impairs the activity of respiratory organs.

C. monopessulanus (a related species) contains. 9% alkaloids.

Sparteine is toxic at more than 300 mg dose. (Francis Brinker.)

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