Habitat: (Sanguinaria canadensis) North American native perennial herb growing in shaded, moist, rich woodlands from Quebec south to Florida and west to Kansas. Endangered species in some areas. Cultivation: cultivation is achieved from seed or root cuttings, prefers light, sandy, moist soil, slightly acidic, shady areas. It is 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 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 for later herb use.
Properties: Medicinal, 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. The root is used in alternative medicine as an anesthetic, cathartic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, diuretic, febrifuge, sedative, stimulant and tonic. 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. Research is very promising for the plants 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 which is showing promise in fighting brain tumors and many other cancers. Bloodroot is used in alternative medicine in very small doses, mainly for bronchial problems and severe throat infections. The root is used in many pharmaceuticals, mixed with other compounds to treat heart problems, dental applications (to inhibit plaque), and to treat migraines. Used externally for skin diseases, warts, and tumors. For ringworm apply the fluid extract. Bloodroot is said to repel insects. The red juice expressed from the root makes an excellent die for cloth, yarn, and many other materials. Wood can be permanently stained.
Dye: Mix 4 tbs. fresh juice in 1 gal. cold water, add 1 tbs.
alum as mordant. Will work on most material to achieve a red to
orange hue. Wear gloves when handling bloodroot.