Traditional uses, chemistry and pharmacology of Ruscus genus (“Murd esfarm” in traditional Persian medicine); a review


1 Student Research Committee, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran

2 Faculty of Pharmacy, Ayatollah Amoli Branch of Islamic Azad University, Amol, Iran.

3 Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran. Department of Pharmacognosy and Biotechnology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran.


Background and objectives: Ruscus genus from Asparagaceae (popularly called Butcher`s broom) are perennial rhizomatous evergreen herbs and grows in Europe and south western Asia. They are generally used as anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, diuretic, mildly laxative, and vasoconstrictive agents in many countries. Ruscus hyrcanus Woronov is widely distributed in north of Iran. It is known as “Murd esfarm” in Persian traditional medicine (TPM). Based on TPM, Iranian physicions applied “Murd esfarm” for various disorders such as epilepsy, diarrhea, expulsion of intestinal worms and for increasing milk secretion. This study aimed to identify “Murd esfarm” a drug used in TPM and develop its therapeutic aspects and introduce a novel species for treatment of chronic vein disease. Methods: This study was conducted using the electronic databases (e.g., Pubmed, Web of science) and important Iranian traditional medicine books such as the Canon of medicine, Makhzan-ol advie, Tuhfat al-Mu’minin. Results: Extracts of these plants were effective in increasing venous tone because of their anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, which is attributed to saponin glycosides. Ruscogenin and neoruscogenin are compounds that constrict and strengthen veins and promote circulation from the lower extremities in both species. Conclusion: R. hyrcanus is a unique species of Ruscus in Iran.Due to the similarity of the Butcher`s broom with the plant mentioned in TPM books, this species can be used for the treatment of many diseases related to vascular insufficiency, including varicose veins and hemorrhoids.