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French Broom2.jpg
Taxonomical nomenclature
Kingdom Plantae
Unranked Angiosperms
Unranked Eudicots
Unranked Rosids
Order Fabales
Family Faboideae
Genus Cytisus
Species C. Scoparius
Common nomenclature
Synonyms Spartium scoparium, Genista scoparius, Sarothamnus scoparius, Broom Tops, Irish Tops, Basam, Bisom, Bizzom, Browme, Brum, Breeam, Green Broom.
Common names Scotch broom, Broom
Active constituents Sparteine, Lupinine, Cytisine

Broom is a deciduous shrub with dark green 5-angled stems and small trifoliate leaves. It is in the Fabaceae family (bean family) and therefore bears the characteristic flower shape. Its flowers are usually bright yellow, they may also have red on the lower petals, are approximately 2 cm long and appear from April to June. These are then replaced by hairy black pods which unfurl on hot days into a set of parallel opposed helices allowing for the seeds to be disbursed.

The use of Broom is official In the British, French, German and United States Pharmacopoeias. In conventional medicine, extracts of the plant are used primarily in the treatment of arrhythmia. It has a long history of use in herbal medicine and its tea is known to be used by shepherds for its relaxing effect.


The active alkaloids in Broom are sparteine (0.03%), lupinine, cytisine and a few minor hydroxy derivatives of these, which are allelopathic quinolizidines. The hydroxy derivatives are very readily soluble in water and although minor, these could play a role in how effective broom tea is. Tyramine is found in the younger shoots. The plant's flavonoids include scoparin, spiraeoside and scoparoside. It contains one known isoflavone, which is genistin.


Sparteine is a class Ia antiarrhythmic agent, meaning it has a blocking effect on the sodium channels in the cardiovascular system. This classification is relatively imprecise, as antiarrhythmic agents have multiple modes of action. Lupinine is considered a poison, however, it is generally well below toxic levels for a healthy adult in the raw plant material[citation needed]. Cytisine is a partial agonist of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors providing an effect comparable to that of nicotine. Sparteine can be felt as a calming and relaxing sensation throughout the body. Scoparin is a diuretic and laxative.

Subjective effects

The effects listed below are based upon the subjective effects index and personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. The listed effects should be taken with a grain of salt and will rarely (if ever) occur all at once, but heavier doses will increase the chances and are more likely to induce a full range of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely on higher doses and may include injury or death.

Physical effects

Cognitive effects


The plant has the highest alkaloid content around May[citation needed], however, it can still be used effectively at other times of the year. It is considered best to pick the young shoots and these can be used fresh or dried for storage. This can be easily done by hanging the material in a well-ventilated place. They should be kept away from any chemical vapors or toxic fumes. Tea can be easily prepared by roughly cutting the plant material into approximately 1 inch long pieces, placed in a tea strainer and covered with freshly boiled water and left to steep for roughly 15 minutes. The dose will depend on the user's physiology and the plant material. The time of year and soil composition are both important factors. Start small and work up to what feels comfortable, 1 heaped teaspoon per 500ml is a good place to start. Too much will result in vomiting and profuse sweating. Broom can also be purchased in a range of forms from specialist herb vendors.


It is very important to not confuse Cytisus scoparius with Spartium junceum (Spanish Broom). Spartium junceum has rounded stems which are light green and have very few leaves. Although this plant shares many of the same alkaloids and some variants, it has much higher content and the plant material is generally considered far too toxic. French Broom (Genista monspessulana) looks almost identical, but it has slightly larger leaves with a silver tone and much shorter stems. It is also more commonly found in Mediterranean climates. Dyer's Broom (Genista tincoria) is another plant from the same family although it has greatly elongated flowers and leaves which are in groups of five. Broom also bears a close resemblance to South African Rooibos/Red Bush (Aspalathus linearis), a popular tea plant.

Toxicity and harm potential

Cytisine can be lethal in doses exceeding 5mg due to respiratory interference. Cytisine is also teratogenic and should never be consumed during pregnancy. It should never be consumed if the health is in any way compromised, unless otherwise advised by an official and trusted healthcare professional. Little information is currently available regarding possible interactions and therefore it should not be consumed along with any other drugs, medicinal or recreational. It has been noted that a lupinin allergy occurs in some people. The people seemed to be more likely to have a lupinin allergy if they also had a peanut allergy. [1]


  1. "Allergies to a Legume Called Lupin: What You Need to Know." (2014) The Food and Drug Administration ---