Herb: Broomweed


Latin name: Gutierrezia sarothrae


Synonyms: Gutierrezia diversifolia


Family: Compositae



Medicinal use of Broomweed:

Broomweed was widely employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism. A decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of painful urination, diarrhoea and stomach aches. The roots have been placed in boiling water and the steam inhaled in the treatment of respiratory complaints. The flowers are laxative. A decoction of the fresh flowers has been used in the treatment of diarrhoea. The leaves are cathartic, febrifuge and sedative. An infusion has been used in the treatment of coughs and colds. It has also been used as a bath to treat fevers and sores, including those caused by venereal diseases. A poultice of the moistened leaves has been used to treat bruises, wounds, sprains, nose bleeds and insect stings. A protein in the plant is reported to have anti-cancer activity. A strong, black infusion of the plant has been used as a rub on rheumatic joints.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Flovering:
August to
October


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

Habitat of the herb:

Dry soils of open areas, plains, valleys and foothills. Open or disturbed sites in Texas, often on calcareous soils.

Other uses of Broomweed:

The twigs are tied to sticks and used as brooms. The dried twigs were used as a kindling for starting fires. A yellow dye can be made from the plant tops. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a pleasant and refreshing bath. The chewed leaf juice has an intoxication effect on bees and can kill them.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Prick the plants out into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle, using deep pots to accommodate the tap root. Grow on for the first winter in a greenhouse and plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.

Cultivation of Broomweed:

Dry soils of open areas, plains, valleys and foothills. Open or disturbed sites in Texas, often on calcareous soils.

Known hazards of Gutierrezia sarothrae:

In large quantities this plant can be toxic to grazing animals, possibly due to the presence of saponins.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.