Bloodroot - Sanguinaria Canadensis

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This Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) monograph is an excerpt from the 1999, first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA.

Bloodroot - Sanguinaria canadensis in the Papaveraceae or Poppy family

Part used: Root.

Taste/smell: Harsh, bitter, acrid.

Tendencies: Drying and cooling in small amounts, warming and stimulating in larger amounts.

Dosage: Decoction: 1/8 teaspoon dry root per cup of water; or 1:1.1 fresh plant liquid extract: 1-2 drops 1 - 4 times per day in a little water. Do not use more than 1-2 drops every 2-4 hours in acute phase, then 1-2 drops per day after the acute phase.

Use: (a) Antispasmodic, (b) Expectorant, (c) Topical antineoplastic, (d) Stimulates digestion and the heart in small doses, (e) Depresses digestion and the heart in larger doses, (f) Diaphoretic, (g) Diuretic, (h) Choleretic, (I) Heart sedative.

Bloodroot chiefly affects the mucous membranes, and is specifically used with burning, itching mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. Small doses of 1-2 drops are useful in periodic headaches during climacteric, especially headaches starting in the occiput and spreading over the right side of the head to the eyes, with bulging blood vessels in the temples. It is most commonly used in sub-acute or chronic respiratory illnesses where there is no active inflammation as seen in bronchitis, laryngitis, nasal catarrh and after pneumonia where debility persists. Studies show the constituent, sanguinarine, helps reduce and limit the deposition of dental plaque.

This herb has been used in many types of "black salves" as an escharotic in treatment of topical cancers.

Contraindications: It is contraindicated during pregnancy due to the emmenagogue effect and uterine stimulating activity of the alkaloids, berberine, protopine and chelerythrine, as reported in animal studies  Over-dosage can cause nausea and vomiting, hepatitis, vertigo, visual disturbances and prostration. Do not use this herb unless under the guidance of a trained health care practitioner. The fresh root is more dangerous than the dry root.  Do not use more than 1-2 drops every 2-4 hours in acute phase, then 1-2 drops per day after the acute phase. Long term use may be contraindicated. Long term users of products with sanguinarine in them have increased incidence of leukoplakia.

If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.

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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.

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