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:
- skin cancer
- cervical dysplasia
- nasal polyps
• fungal infections
• bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions associated with congestion and mucous
• 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.
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