Ruscus Hypophyllum (Ruskas)
The name “hypophyllum” means “small or smallish”. It refers to the fact that ruscos are not very big. They are actually smaller than most other types of ferns, but they have a distinctive shape and coloration.
Their leaves are usually red with white tips and their stems are slender. They grow up to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide at maturity.
Their common names include: Red Rattle Vine, White Rattle Vine, Blue Rattle Vine, Yellow Rattle Vine and Green Rattle Vine.
English Name Latin Name Common Uses: Nectar Source for Sugar Plants; Sweetness Producing Fruits and Flowers; Nourishing Nutrients; Food for Insects and Birds; Beneficial to Animals’ Health; Natural Antiseptic, Antifungal Agent. Description:
Ruskas are members of the genus Ruscus which includes many different species of vines and shrubs. They are often called “ferns” because they resemble those plants. However, they do not produce flowers like true ferns do.
Instead, they produce nectar, which is a sweet substance produced by glands located near the base of each leaflet. The nectar contains sugars that animals feed upon when eaten or drunk as a beverage. When insects eat the nectar, they become “sluggish” and less likely to sting, so ruscus are beneficial to have around if you want to avoid being stung. Ruscus are also home to many types of insects that help in the gardens and are not harmful to humans and animals. Common types of flowers include: white, pink, red, purple or yellow colors. The size of the flowers can range between small and large. The leaves are usually green, but can be a variety of colors such as red, purple and blue. Ruscus are not frost tolerant and will die if the temperature falls below 30 degrees F (short periods of temperatures in the 20’s can cause some leaf fall but no damage to the root system, though repeated exposure will weaken and damage them). They prefer nutrient-rich, well-drained soil with a pH between 5.6 and 6.5. For best growth, they prefer partial to full sun. They are easily damaged by heavy frost. They do not adapt well to transplanting, so it is best to purchase Ruscus as a plant if you desire instant beauty and a shorter growing period. They are deciduous plants, so they will lose their leaves in the winter and regrow them in the spring. The most notable feature of Ruscus is the nectar for which they are well known. Nectaries are located at the base of each leaflet and produce a sweet, golden liquid that both humans and animals alike can enjoy. They can be eaten straight from the plant or can be fermented to create an alcoholic beverage. They are also known to have several health benefits for both humans and animals, which is why they have been called “medicinal plants” by many people. You can use Ruscus in a variety of ways around the home, from making tea, brewing into ale, or even creating dyes from their flowers. Ruscus are also a popular ornamental plant due to their beauty and interesting nature. Medicinal Use: The leaves of all ruscus plants contain high levels of potassium and phosphate, both of which are important in the healthy functioning of the human body. The roots can be used to help cure bleeding gums, earaches, and to soothe pain during tooth extraction. The flowers are known for creating a warming sensation when applied directly to the skin and can be mixed with other herbs to treat arthritis. The fruit and flowers can also be used to help treat diarrhea in both humans and dogs. The tea brewed from the leaves has been known to help women with menstrual pains and issues related to their menstrual cycle in general. The tea has also been known to help with bladder and urinary tract infections. The tea can even be used as an eye wash to help soothe sore or tired eyes. Decoctions of the roots have been known to help dissolve warts, while the seeds can be ingested to help increase fertility in women. The nectar from ruscus plants can be used to create a soothing ointment that can be applied directly to skin to help heal wounds, burns, and other skin irritations. Not only does it promote faster healing, but it also helps prevent the wound or burn from becoming infected. The nectar can also be used to create dyes for clothing, especially if mixed with other plant dyes. The roots can be used to help clean and protect leather products. Medicinal Use: Ruscus is perhaps best known for its ability to help improve liver and gallbladder function in humans and animals alike. As a result, many herbalists will recommend ruscus to help people who have issues with their cholesterol or triglyceride levels in their blood as well as people who suffer from constipation or other issues related to poor bile or pancreatic function. The tea can be used to help relieve the pain caused by kidney stones as well as to help cleanse and protect the urinary tract from potential infections. Herbalists will often recommend ruscus to people who have high blood pressure or suffer from headaches due to stress. The tea can also help people who have trouble sleeping due to tension or anxiety.
Ruscus supplements are also popular among athletes and other people who suffer from muscle pain after exercise. This is due to the plant’s ability to help improve liver and gallbladder function as well as protect these organs from potential damage after exercising.
What Conditions Does Ruscus Help? (See the Conditions section) How Does It Work? (See the How It Works section) What Is The Dosage? (See the Dosage section) Are There Any Potential Side Effects Or Health Risks?
(See the Potential Health Risks and Side Effects sections)
How Can I Get Ruscus?
If you are interested in using ruscus, the easiest way to get it is by visiting a local herbalist or naturopath. However, it is also possible to purchase ruscus supplements from most health and nutrition stores. These supplements can come in the form of tablets, capsules, pills, or even tinctures. They are often sold in boxes containing anywhere from 25 to 100 or more ruscus supplements. There are also liquid tinctures and extracts which can be taken orally or may require adding them to other foods or beverages. If you decide to use this plant as a topical ointment or poultice, be very careful when you apply it to avoid skin irritation or allergic reaction.
For information regarding other plants, check out the following pages: • Willow (Willow) • Black Willow (Black Willow) • Blue Flag (Blue Flag) • Oak (Oak)
Sources & references used in this article:
Ex situ conservation of Ruscus aculeatus L. – ruscogenin biosynthesis, genome-size stability and propagation traits of tissue-cultured clones by T Ivanova, D Dimitrova, C Gussev… – Biotechnology & …, 2015 – Taylor & Francis
Biotechnological and phytochemical research on Ruscus aculeatus L. by B Georgeta, T Mircea, D Constantin… – … Plants of South-East …, 2006 – cabdirect.org
Gardening books and plant lists of Moorish Spain by JH Harvey – Garden History, 1975 – JSTOR
Edible and tended wild plants, traditional ecological knowledge and agroecology by NJ Turner, ŁJ Łuczaj, P Migliorini… – … Reviews in Plant …, 2011 – Taylor & Francis
Biological Flora of the British Isles: Ruscus aculeatus by PA Thomas, TA Mukassabi – Journal of ecology, 2014 – Wiley Online Library