herbals bloodroot



Scientific:Sanguinaria canadensis


Stimulant and antimicrobial activity make it useful in treating respiratory conditions; escharotic actions make it useful as a topical agent.

• applied topical to burn off:
- warts
- skin cancer
- cervical dysplasia
- nasal polyps
• fungal infections

bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions associated with congestion and mucous


hemostatic' style='text-decoration: none'>hemostatic


• Isoquinoline alkaloids - generally act as bitters and antimicrobials; known to affect cardiac function via Na/K ATPase. Sanguinarine is corrosive, making it a topical irritant and escharotic.

Like other emetics that contain isoquinoline alkaloids (e.g. Ipecac), increases gastrointestinal and respiratory secretions; at lower doses, functions as an expectorant without causing emesis.


• Tincture (1:5 in 60% EtOH): 0.5-1 ml tid
• Decoction (rhizome): 1 tsp tid
• Topically: apply a slice of fresh root or tincture to lesion for 1 min.


Internal use: Considered toxic and should not be used at high doses.

High doses: Cause nausea and vomiting.

Long-term use: Oral/topical exposure to mucous membranes may cause leukoplakia. Monitor liver function.

Pregnancy & lactation: Studies are lacking but herbs containing isoquinoline alkaloids, bloodroot should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.

Liver toxicity: Sanguinarine may be hepatoxic. Drug-induced hepatitis in those consuming isoquinoline alkaloid-containing herbs (e.g. greater celandine, black cohosh) have been reported. Monitor liver function if using long-term.


None reported.


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Barnes J, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines, 3rd ed. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 2007.

Bone K. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2000.

Bone K. A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs: Herbal Formulations for the Individual Patient. St Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone, 2003.

Brinker F. The Toxicology of Botanical Medicines, 3rd ed. Sandy, Oregon: Eclectic Medical Publications, 2000.

Felter HW, Lloyd JU. King's American Dispensatory. 1898. http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed/eclectic/kings/main.html. Accessed: August 19, 2006.

Hoffman D. Medical Herbalism. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, England: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988.

Williamson EM, ed. Major Herbs of Ayurveda. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2002

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