Nov 28, 2012

The Herbal Pharmacy

      BLOODROOT (Sanguinaria canadensis).

      Few Americans recognize its name, but millions start their day with it, for Sanguinaria extract is the active ingredient in Viadent toothpaste and mouthwash. A native American plant, bloodroot is a powerful expectorant that relaxes bronchial muscles. Because it helps clear chronic congestion of the lungs, it is a specific for bronchitis and emphysema; in addition, it supports the treatment of laryngitis, asthma and croup. Bloodroot is an ingredient in some herbal blends designed to treat these illnesses, and the dried rhizome can be purchased separately as a tea or tincture.

     Bloodroot's potential toxicity is its only drawback. Although no cases of poisoning have been reported, even small doses have resulted in headaches, nausea and vomiting. James Duke, Ph.D., the widely respected and recently retired botanical expert at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nibbled a small piece and experienced tunnel vision. David Hoffmann recommends a maximum of 3 cups of tea daily, made as a decoction from 1 teaspoon dried rhizome, or no more than 1/4 teaspoon tincture 3 times a day. As with any herb, Page 62 discontinue use if you experience discomfort. Consult an herbalist or healthcare professional before giving bloodroot preparations to children.

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