Papaveraceae – The Poppy Family
Herbaceous, perennial flowering plant native to
Eastern North America.
Typically growing up to 1 - 2 feet tall
A single multi-lobed leaf approximately 5 - 10
inches across grows on a single stem.
The plant grows from a branched rhizome that is
orange-red in color, giving the plant its name of bloodroot.
Over the years, the rhizome becomes so prolific that it
forms large colonies of plants.
March to May
8 - 12 petaled flowers typically appear before
the leaf has had a chance to unfurl.
A seed pod approximately 1½ - 2 inches long
grows from the pollinated flower, and ripens before the leaf
goes dormant around mid summer.
A true forest plant that is rarely found in disturbed soils,
bloodroot grows in rich moist or dry woods and thickets. It can
also be found growing along streams or in flood plains.
Wild Food Uses:
The following text is
meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or
treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other
qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of
any illness or injury.
Sanguinaria canadensis contains toxic
opiate-like Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids. With the primary toxin
being Sanguinarine. Sanguinarine has been shown to kill animal
cells by blocking transmembrane proteins.
Bloodroot is nothing to play with. The
following was taken from Wikipedia; "In 2005, "folk healer" Dan
Raber (of Georgia, United States) was arrested and charged with
causing severe bodily harm and practicing medicine without a
license for dispensing bloodroot paste to nine women with various
ailments including breast cancer, causing severe disfiguring
destruction of their skin and underlying tissue (as well as
failing to successfully excise their tumors). Lois March, M.D. of
Cordele, Georgia, was also charged as an accomplice and had her
medical license permanently revoked for her role in assisting
Raber's unlicensed treatment by prescribing massive amounts of
opiate pain medication to his customers in order to allow them to
continue their bloodroot treatment despite the severe burning pain
and disfigurement it caused."
Now with the above cautions, bloodroot has
historically been used in very small doses to treat bronchial
problems and infections. bloodroot paste has also been used to
treat skin cancers, as well as to remove warts and tumors. A fluid
extract has also been used as an effective treatment for ringworm.
Ongoing research into Sanguinarine is
yielding some very promising results. Another important
constituent of Bloodroot, Berberine, is showing promise in
fighting brain tumors and many other cancers. We need to look past
the initial idea that a plant is toxic, and identify which
properties may offer medicinal value, and find a way to use them
in an effective manner.