Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis): an annotated bibliography

Author(s): Predny, Mary L.; Chamberlain, James L.

  • Date: 2005
  • Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-86. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 55 p.
  • Station ID: GTR-SRS-086


Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is a spring-blooming herbaceous perennial found mainly in rich woods throughout the Appalachian Mountain regions and across the Eastern United States. The common name bloodroot and scientific name Sanguinaria denote the blood-red sap found throughout the plant, particularly in the roots. This sap contains the alkaloids that make this plant so valuable. Native Americans used bloodroot as a dye, love charm, and medicine. European colonists adopted Native American medicinal uses to suit their own needs. Bloodroot was described in pharmacopoeias as early as the 1800s, with detailed descriptions of the plant, constituents, therapeutics, and case studies. The popular use of herbal remedies declined in the 1920s with the development of the pharmaceutical industry, though there has been a renewed interest in herbal medicine as research confirms the efficacy of some traditional uses. Bloodroot is still wildcrafted in the United States for domestic and international uses. This report describes the characteristics and growth habits of bloodroot, summarizes the various uses of the herb, reviews the global market and trade, examines the conservation status of the plant, and identifies needs for future research.

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