In the modern herbal medicine, bloodroot is primarily used in the form of an expectorant, which encourages coughing as well as cleansing the accumulated mucus in the respiratory tract. In addition, this herb is also prescribed for treating chronic bronchitis and, since this herb possesses antispasmodic actions, it is also used to treat asthma and whooping cough. You may also use bloodroot in the form of a gargle to treat sore throats or as a rinse or lotion for healing viral and fungal skin infections, for instance, warts and athlete's foot. When pulverized into a powdered form, bloodroot may also be taken in the form of a sniff to cure nasal polyps. Extracts obtained from bloodroot have been extensively used as an ingredient in toothpastes with a view to combat infection of the gums, such as gingivitis, as well as to lessen the formation of plaque. In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved the use of bloodroot in toothpastes for the reasons mentioned here. As mentioned before, bloodroot is an effective herb to heal skin disorders through external applications. Salve prepared with bloodroot or a paste of the herb is employed to cure an assortment of skin complaints, warts, inflammations, skin tags and even tumors. In addition, the essential oil yielded by the herb has been found to be very effectual in curing skin lesions and tags. As far as herbal medicine is concerned, the extracts obtained from bloodroot are employed in smallest doses to cure bronchial infections as well as aching throats. For long, people have been using bloodroot extract, bloodroot tea and bloodroot tinctures to treat bleeding lungs, common cold, pneumonia, emphysema (exceptional extension of air spaces in the lungs), whooping cough and sinus congestions. When cut open, the blood or sap of the bloodroot rhizome was earlier employed in the form of a dye. In addition, the Native American tribes also used this sap from the bloodroot rhizome in the form of an herbal medication to treat a number of medical conditions. It may be noted that whenever any part of the bloodroot plant, particularly its rhizome, is broken, it exudes a reddish sap - perhaps giving the herb its common name 'bloodroot'.
Bloodroot is a flowering herbaceous plant that is indigenous to the north-eastern regions of North America and is found growing on a vast expanse extending from Nova Scotia in Canada towards south to Florida in the United States. Generally, bloodroot is grown as a garden plant and its rhizome, which possesses therapeutic properties, is dug up during summer or autumn.
Chemical analysis of the bloodroot has revealed that this herbaceous plant encloses a number of useful compounds, for instance isoquinqline alkaloids, remarkably sanguinarine (about 1 per cent) and several others, counting berberine. It may be noted that sanguinarine is a potent expectorant, which also possesses antiseptic as well as local anesthetic attributes.
For medicinal purposes, bloodroot may be used in different forms, such as decoction and tincture. Decoction: To prepare a decoction with bloodroot, add one teaspoonful of the herb's rhizome to a cup of cold water and boil the solution. When the solution reaches the boiling point, allow the rhizome to infuse for about 10 minutes and then strain the liquid. This bloodroot decoction should be taken internally thrice every day. Tincture: Bloodroot tincture should be taken in dosage of 2 ml to 4 ml thrice every day.
By tradition, people employed bloodroot to promote menstruation and, hence, this herb should never be used during pregnancy as it may encourage menstruation causing harm to the fetus. In addition, bloodroot should also be avoided by nursing mothers as there is insufficient evidence on whether the herb passes on to breast milk and harms the infant.