Monday, April 11, 2016

I is for Irish Broom...

Dear Littler Me,

Well, I think this is a good sign. I am up to your letter based on the letter "I". This letter was due 4/11 which happens to be today! Could this mean I am actually caught up for a moment? It amazes me just as much now to have this feeling as it did when I was you and would feel that WHEW feeling.  I can't promise it will last, even for days but for right now I will revel in the moment.

As you know in the A to Z Challenge that we joined the topic is herbs so...

is for Irish Broom

Origin & Identification

Irish Broom, otherwise known as broom, systisus scoparious and many other names grows commonly in southern Europe, United States along the east coast and in the pacific north west. Broom is generally bushy and grows as rod like green twigs that reach between 3 and 5 feet, with small leaves. When it flowers, they are yellowish butterfly shaped. In the New Jersey area where you are it will usually bloom around May or June. I know you have seen it often over at the beach. 

Practical Uses of Irish Broom

Broom has been used for a variety of medicinal reasons. One of them in (larger doses) according to is as an "emetic". Yes, educated though I may be, I had to go look that one up.  Essentially it means it was an olden day Ipecac, FUN! (Psych!)  It used to be used in place of hops as the intoxifiying agent in beer. Any of you that read this other than my younger self may want to note that it is POISON (Sytisus scoparius) at certain levels.

It is also important to note that anyone with bee allergies should avoid because this plant is literally BURSTING with pollen so attracts bees galore.

While not useful due to its size as lumber, the fibers are fine enough to be used in making things such as paper and cloth. The young leaves also can be used to make a green dye.

When the plant is no longer flowering, the rods and twigs of this plant (also known as besom) are harvested and dried to be bound to make the hand made household "broom" .

You can find some interesting information about this herb at

Metaphysical Uses for Irish Broom

Broom is a masculine herb associated with the planet Mars and the element Air.  It is known for its metaphysical powers of purification, protection, divination and to be used in work requiring the wind. (ie winds of change). Broom has long been used to remove and keep evil away from a dwelling or area.

The Broom or Besom have long been one of the most important tools to those who follow the old ways. Known for purification and protection, it is one of the tools often used to cleanse an area to create sacred space. Creating a besom is something most natural folk accomplish along with their other frequently used tools. The best time of the year to do this is during the new year or celebration of Samhain (nearest full moon to Halloween to those unknowing of the pagan traditions).


(unless you happen to be sitting on it while on a 747)

During the Samhain holiday after the creation of your besom, leave it outdoors with the bristles up  under the full moon to "catch" the power of the moon.  When brought inside the broom should be hung with bristles down to let out the energy absorbed during the energy from the Samhain charging slowly through out the year.

How I pay the bills

I guess I would be remiss if I failed to mention the theories behind the flying on a broomstick myth. There are many stories about the connection to flying and broomsticks. The most widely accepted is that there was a "flying oil" or herbal mixture applied to the handle of the broom that contained psychotropic extracts. (ie. henbane or broom etc), a primitive LSD if you will that when contact made with the skin between the legs made those taking part in this type of ritual feel like they were flying.

Brooms have long been an important part of many cultures. The Romany, African, Welsh and Irish have a ceremony included in a wedding called "Jumping the Broom" which in went hand in hand with each others pure intention of commitment to protect and love each other. Someone referred to it as "sweeping away" their single life and jumping whole hardheartedly into the commitment of the new married life. My dear younger me, study this meaning because you, yourself will be doing it in 2009! Check out Larry James' site to get some more on Jumping the Broom. Fun stuff!

Jumping the Broom2011
By George Lyle [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Traditional Irish Broom Dance

I hope you have enjoyed a little more information today. I know I have been lax in the information I could provide you with, however my real goal is to give you a little to make you hunger for more! RESEARCH! You wouldn't believe the things you will learn! Signing off for now.

Still not flying on a broomstick,

Bigger Little B


  1. Oh wow! I loved this. You found info I didn't when I was doing my besom post last year. This is so cool!

  2. Thank you Djinnia what a compliment! I'd love to see a link to your post! There was so much more I could have written but I was trying to keep it under 1K. I could easily have gone into a book without blinking. :-)

  3. Found the link Djinnia and posting for my readers!

  4. Great info! I know Scotch broom is an invasive in California, but it's good to know positive things about these types of plants.
    Beth Lapin
    Activities for a Good Life

  5. I agree Beth! Sometimes the things that we least expect can actually have amazing side uses that we never knew. Have you ever tried a decent dandelion wine? Thanks for the link!

  6. Thanks lots of great info! I is for me also as like you I just got caught up too! Great to see you are still in it! :) P.S. I love your blog theme!

  7. Thanks Christine! I am not sure how long I will stay caught up with everything going on here but I've even gotten L & M done so I'm good through Saturday. Lets hope I can keep going if for nothing more than my sanity!