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Bloodroot

Sanguinaria canadensis
bloodroot herb flower picture picture

Bloodroot Herb Use and Medicinal Properties

Bloodroot is used in herbal medicine in very small doses, mainly for bronchial problems and severe throat infections. It should only be used by very experienced herbalists. The root is used in many pharmaceuticals, mixed with other compounds to treat heart problems, dental applications (to inhibit plaque), and to treat migraines.

Bloodroot paste is used externally for skin diseases, warts, and tumors. For ringworm apply the fluid extract. Bloodroot is said to repel insects. The root is used in as an anesthetic, cathartic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, diuretic, febrifuge, sedative, stimulant and tonic.

Other Names:  Coon root, Indian paint, Red Puccoon,  Red root, Tetterwort

Research is very promising for Bloodroot constituents. One is sanguinarine; it is showing results as an anesthetic, antibacterial, anti-cholinesterase, anti-edemic, anti-gingivitic, anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic, antioxidant, anti-periodontic, anti-plaque, antiseptic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, fungicide, gastrocontractant, hypertensive, pesticide, respiratory stimulant and more. Another important constituent is Berberine (also found in Goldenseal, Oregon Grape and Honeysuckle) which is showing promise in fighting brain tumors and many other cancers.

bloodroot herb flower emerging from leaf

CAUTION Use internally with caution, it contains toxic opium-like alkaloids and can cause mucous membrane irritation, an over dose can be fatal, do not use when pregnant or lactating. Bloodroot is not edible.

Click here to visit a site where people who have used Bloodroot
for skin growths share their experiences.

Bloodroot Habitat and Description

Bloodroot is a North American native perennial herb found growing in shaded, moist, rich woodlands from Quebec south to Florida and west to Kansas. Bloodroot grows to about 6 to 7 inches tall.  The pale green, palmate, lobed, basal leaf is wrapped around the flower as it emerges and opens as the flowers blooms. The stem of Bloodroot is round, often orange or red when mature, it is topped by a single white flower with 8 to 12 petals and bright yellow center. The root is a thick, tender, tuber which contains a red juice that stains the skin readily. Gather root when flowers are in bloom. Dry the roots for later use or tincture fresh. Bloodroot is endangered and should be cultivated. Do not harvest from the wild.

How to Grow Bloodroot

Cultivate Bloodroot from seed or root cuttings, prefers light, sandy, moist soil, slightly acidic, shady areas. Bloodroot takes easily to cultivation in shady areas. Plants can be found from ethical cultivators. Again, do not take Bloodroot plants from the woods.

Buy Bloodroot plants from Easyliving Wildflowers

Herbal Recipes

Dye: Mix 4 tbs. fresh Bloodroot juice in 1 gal. cold water, add 1 tbs. alum as mordant. This preparation will work on most material to achieve a red to orange hue. Wear gloves when handling bloodroot.

History and Folklore

Bloodroot was used as a medicinal herb extensively by the Indian Medicine Men and Women in some North American tribes. It was also a ritual skin paint, or war paint, and used as dye by others. The red juice expressed from the root makes an excellent die for cloth, yarn, and many other materials and can be used as a wood stain.

Bloodroot Herb Picture Page

Article by Deb Jackson & Karen Bergeron Copyright 2000- 2017

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Disclaimer - The herbal information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. It is not the intention of the editor to advise on health care. Please see a medical professional about any health concerns you have. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this web site is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.