Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) Overview

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) other names: Blood Root, Bloodwort, Coon Root, Indian Plant, Indian Red Paint, Pauson, Red Indian Paint, Red Puccoon, Red Root, Sang-Dragon, Sang de Dragon, Sanguinaire, Sanguinaire du Canada, Sanguinaria, Sanguinaria canadensis, Snakebite, Sweet Slumber, Tetterwort.

Bloodroot is a flowering herbaceous plant that is indigenous to the north-eastern regions of North America and is found growing on a vast expanse extending from Nova Scotia in Canada towards south to Florida in the United States. Generally, bloodroot is grown as a garden plant and its rhizome, which possesses therapeutic properties, is dug up during summer or autumn.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) flower

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) was initially also known as puccoon. Bloodroot is a wildflower found growing in the eastern regions of North America during early spring. The instantly recognizable orange-red sap exuded by this herbaceous plant was earlier employed by the Native Americans to stain their skin for war dances as well as various ceremonial rituals. The sap was also used to dye fabric. Bloodroot is a member of the poppy family and is related to opium poppy, which yields significant medicines, such as opium, morphine, heroin and codeine.

The rhizome of bloodroot grows the leaves and flowering stem during the early part of March or in April. In the initial stages, the leaves of the herb are covered around the flower bud, but afterward, they begin to open up as the flower, which has resemblance to daisy, begins to develop on top of the leaves. The flowering stems of bloodroot are about 8 inches to 16 inches tall and each bears a solitary flower which is nearly 2 inches across. Each flower of bloodroot may possess as many as six to about 12 white petals which encircle the several golden color stamens.

Early settlers discovered the attributes of bloodroot, an herb native to North America, to be more therapeutic compared to ornamental. Gradually, these settlers came to know from the native Indians, who employed the red sap (juice) of the plant to treat aching throats and cancer and an infusion prepared with the rhizome for curing rheumatism, that bloodroot is a potent herb. It may be noted that the red juice or sap of bloodroot as well as its rhizome in powdered form are very caustic and able to corrode as well as destroy tissues chemically. Hence, bloodroot was prescribed in the form of a remedy for fungal growths, for instance nose polyps and ringworm, destroying tissues as well as surface cancers. Traditional herbal medicine practitioners also prescribe bloodroot in the form of an emetic (a medication that promotes vomiting); as an expectorant to treat bronchitis; in the form of a purgative and also as a tonic for the digestive organs.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) Health Benefits

Bloodroot is a plant. People use the underground stem (rhizome) to make medicine.

Bloodroot is used to cause vomiting, empty the bowels, and reduce tooth pain. Bloodroot is also used to treat croup, hoarseness (laryngitis), sore throat (pharyngitis), poor circulation in the surface blood vessels, nasal polyps, achy joints and muscles (rheumatism), warts, and fever.

In the modern herbal medicine, bloodroot is primarily used in the form of an expectorant, which encourages coughing as well as cleansing the accumulated mucus in the respiratory tract. In addition, this herb is also prescribed for treating chronic bronchitis and, since the plant possesses antispasmodic actions, it is also used to treat asthma and whooping cough. You may also use bloodroot in the form of a gargle to treat sore throats or as a rinse or lotion for healing viral and fungal skin infections, for instance, warts and athlete's foot. When pulverized into a powdered form, bloodroot may also be taken in the form of a sniff to cure nasal polyps.

In dentistry, bloodroot is used on the teeth to reduce the build-up of plaque. Plaque is a film of saliva, mucus, bacteria, and food particles that can promote gum disease.

Extracts obtained from bloodroot have been extensively used as an ingredient in toothpastes with a view to combat infection of the gums, such as gingivitis, as well as to lessen the formation of plaque. In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved the use of bloodroot in toothpastes for the reasons mentioned here.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) image

Some people apply bloodroot directly to the skin around wounds to remove dead tissue and promote healing. During the mid-1800s, bloodroot extracts were applied to the skin as part of the Fell Technique for treatment of breast tumors.

As mentioned before, bloodroot is an effective herb to heal skin disorders through external applications. Salve prepared with bloodroot or a paste of the herb is employed to cure an assortment of skin complaints, warts, inflammations, skin tags and even tumors. In addition, the essential oil yielded by the herb has been found to be very effectual in curing skin lesions and tags.

As far as herbal medicine is concerned, the extracts obtained from bloodroot are employed in smallest doses to cure bronchial infections as well as aching throats. For long, people have been using bloodroot extract, bloodroot tea and bloodroot tinctures to treat bleeding lungs, common cold, pneumonia, emphysema (exceptional extension of air spaces in the lungs), whooping cough and sinus congestions.

When cut open, the blood or sap of the bloodroot rhizome was earlier employed in the form of a dye. In addition, the Native American tribes also used this sap from the bloodroot rhizome in the form of an herbal medication to treat a number of medical conditions. It may be noted that whenever any part of the bloodroot plant, particularly its rhizome, is broken, it exudes a reddish sap - perhaps giving the herb its common name ‘bloodroot'.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) Side effects

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) root

By tradition, people employed bloodroot to promote menstruation and, hence, this herb should never be used during pregnancy as bloodroot may encourage menstruation causing harm to the fetus.

Bloodroot is possibly safe for most people when taken by mouth, short-term. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, and grogginess. Also, skin contact with the fresh plant can cause a rash. Don’t let bloodroot get into your eyes because bloodroot can cause irritation.

Long-term use by mouth in high amounts is possibly unsafe. At high doses bloodroot can cause low blood pressure, shock, coma, and an eye disease called glaucoma. Also, bloodroot is possibly unsafe when used as a toothpaste and mouthwash. bloodroot may increase the risk of developing white patches on the inside of the mouth. 

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Bloodroot is likely unsafe when taken by mouth during pregnancy and possibly unsafe when taken by mouth while breast-feeding. 

Stomach or intestinal problems such as infections, Crohn's disease, or other inflammatory conditions: Bloodroot can irritate the digestive tract. Don’t use bloodroot if you have any of these conditions.

An eye disease called glaucoma: Bloodroot might affect glaucoma treatment. If you have glaucoma, don’t use bloodroot unless a healthcare professional recommends it and monitors your eye health.