Broom Baccharis (Baccharis sarothroides) - TheBackCountry

Baccharis sarothroides is native to the Sonoran Desert of northwestern Mexico (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, Sonora) and the Southwestern United States (southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas), it is common in gravelly dry soils and disturbed areas.

Known by the common names broom baccharis, desertbroom,  greasewood, rosin-bush and groundsel in English and "escoba amarga" or "romerillo" in Spanish. This is a spreading, woody shrub usually sticky with glandular secretions along the primarily leafless green stems. The small, thick leaves are a few centimeters long and are absent much of the year, giving the shrub a spindly, twiggy appearance. It flowers abundantly with tiny green blooms on separate male and female plants.

Ethnobotany

The Seri refer to broom baccharis has cascol caaco, and make a decoction by cooking the twigs. This tea is used to treat colds, sinus headache, and general sore achey ailments. The same tea is also used as a rub for sore muscles.

Studies done on plant extracts show that broom baccharis is rich in leutolin, a flavonoid that has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cholesterol lowering capabilities. Desert broom also has quercetin, a proven antioxidant, and apigenin a chemical which binds to the same brain receptor sites that Valium does. However many members of the Sunflower family also contain compounds that cause negative side effects, thus caution is advised until this plant is more extensively tested.

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