Bloodroot can be found in North America and in India. Its rhizomes and root contain an orange-red latex. Native American used it for skin paint. Its principal active ingredient is sanguinarine (an alkaloid). Native to northeastern North America, the plant is a perennial growing to six inches, producing palm-shaped leaves and solitary flower stems, bearing beautiful, white flowers with eight to twelve petals. The leaves first appear wrapped around the flower bud, and are grayish-green and covered with downy fuzz. After flowering, the leaves increase in size and have prominent veins on their undersides. The roots are thick, fleshy, and slightly curved at the ends and contain an orange-red juice. It is mainly cultivated as a garden plant, but it does grow in shady woods. The rhizome is unearthed in summer or autumn.
Bloodroot is usually less than one ml for oral-intake. Long term use or overdosage of Bloodroot may cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, visual changes, paralysis, fainting, and collapse. Take only under professional guidance, and do not exceed prescribed dosage. It induces vomiting in all but very small doses, and excessive doses are toxic. Because it has a very unpleasant and bitter taste, overdose is highly unlikely. Do not take during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or if suffering from glaucoma.
Bloodroot is a North American native perennial herb found growing in shaded, moist, rich woodlands from Quebec south to Florida and west to Kansas. Bloodroot grows to 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 of Bloodroot 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 the roots for later use or tincture fresh.
The most unique usage was by the bachelors of the Ponca tribe in North Carolina, who used it as a love charm. A man would apply the red juice to his palms and then shake hands with the woman he wanted to marry. This ritual would be repeated over the next five or six days or until the object of his affection got the message. The juice from the rhizome is a bright red -- hence its name.
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Bloodroot is for external use only and it is recommended to be avoided during pregnancy. Not to be applied to broken or abraded skin.
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