Sanguinaria canadensis

The homeopathic remedy sanguinaria is prepared using the rhizome of the herb bloodroot, which is also known as bloodwort, red puccoon root, and occasionally pauson, and is used to treat a number of health conditions, especially respiratory problems. This is a perennially growing herb-like shrub that produces delicate white flowers during the period between March and May. In America, bloodroot is also known as tetterwort. However, in Britain this term denotes greater celandine.

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The bloodroot herb is actually a varying plant species that grows up to a height of 20 cm to 50 cm, usually having one big basal leaf that is multi-lobed and resembles a covering. This basal leaf is around 12 cm is diameter. Bloodroot or bloodwort produces flowers during the period between March and May.

Each flower comprises around 8 to 12 fragile white petals and its reproductive parts have a yellowish hue. While in bloom, the flowers appear over the clasping or embracing leaves. The bloodroot plants usually differ from one another in terms of the leaves as well as the form of the flowers. At one time, the plants were divided into dissimilar sub-species owing to such inconsistent shapes.

However, presently majority of the taxonomic treatments combines the different forms of bloodroot plants into a solitary species that is extremely variable.

The orange hued rhizome of bloodroot or bloodwort plant stores a sap, which is a potent alkaloid called sanguinarin. The rhizome normally grows slightly below the surface of the soil and more often at the soil surface. When the rhizome is left undisturbed for several years, it grows into a fat and chunky corm that gradually branches out forming vast colonies.

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The bloodroot plant begins to bloom prior to the unfolding of the foliage during the early part of spring. Following the blooming period, the leaves of the plant grow to their maximum size and the plant becomes dormant during the period between mid to late summer.

As aforementioned, the bloodroot plant prefers a moist soil condition rather than arid woodlands and thickets. Often they are found growing naturally on the flood plains as well as adjacent to shores or streams on the slopes. However, the bloodroot plant is seldom found growing in cleared fields, meadows or on dunes and they are also hardly ever found growing in distributed locations.

The flowers of this plant are pollinated by flies and small bees. The seeds of the plant are elongated green pods that grow up to 40 mm and 60 mm in length and they mature much before the foliage become dormant during summer. The seeds are green when raw, but change to black or orange-red hue when ripened. In early spring, the plant is an important fodder for the deer.

It has been found that people who respond best to the homeopathic remedy sanguinaria are those who are not only confused, but always dreaded. At the same time, they always feel feeble and are stupid in nature.

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Notwithstanding the heavy, lethargic and sleepy feeling they experience, such people are unable to have a sound sleep at night and wake up even at the slightest sound. At times, they also experience an uneasy, often painful, feeling of piercing warmth that usually spreads all through their body.

The characteristic symptoms which this homeopathic medication is most effective in treating, includes exasperation of the mucus membranes, especially those related to the respiratory tract. In effect, the homeopathic remedy sanguinaria may also be prescribed for curing hay fever that comes together with intense sensitivity to grass, flowers and fragrance.

The other health conditions, for which homeopathic practitioners prescribe sanguinaria, include asthma accompanied with catarrh and a raw, burning sensation in the mucus membranes, and inflammation of the larynx.

The indigenous tribes of North America used the bloodroot herb to promote beneficial vomiting. In addition, they used the orange colored sap of the plant's roots to paint their body as well as to dye their clothes.

Parts used

The rhizome of the herb bloodroot forms the basis of the homeopathic remedy sanguinaria. The rhizome of this herb is dug out during fall, dehydrated, chopped into fine pieces and macerated or pulverized in alcohol. The resultant solution is strained and subsequently diluted to desired potency to obtain sanguinaria, which does not retain even the slightest trace of the original substance it is prepared from.

The bloodroot herb encloses a potent alkaloid called sanguinarin, which has the potential to result in nausea and vomiting and scorching pains in the stomach. When taken in large or excessive dosage, the herb can prove to be fatal. The burning feature of this plant is of most significance when it forms the major element in the homeopathic remedy sanguinaria.

In homeopathy, sanguinaria is most commonly prescribed for treating respiratory ailments, including bronchitis, asthma, inflammation of the pharynx as well as nasal or laryngeal polyps (a projecting enlargement from a mucous surface).

The preliminary symptoms of this condition may comprise of dehydration, rawness and burning sensation in the mucus membranes and subsequently in phlegm. In addition homeopathic physicians also prescribe sanguinaria to treat other health conditions, including indigestion, hay fever accompanied by a burning sensations and aridness in the nose and throat, and coughs that are generally arid and intermittent, for instance, after flu or whooping cough.

A burning sensation in the chest that spreads to the right shoulder making it difficult for the patients to lift their arms is one of the major symptoms associated will all the ailments mentioned above.

In addition, the homeopathic remedy sanguinaria is also prescribed for people suffering from rheumatic pains in the right shoulder, throbbing headaches and migraines that become fixed over the right eye, and also hot flashes during menopause.

Sanguinaria is especially useful for certain types of headaches, wherein the pain is on the right side and begins in the back part of the head or skull (occiput) and extends towards the upper part and settles over the right eye. Patients suffering from this type of headache have a sensation as though their head would explode.

This type of headache is spasmodic in nature, returning at menopause and generally occurs on every seventh day. This type of headache begins in the morning, intensifies during the day and persists till the evening. People enduring this type of headache feel better when they are asleep or when they are lying quietly in a dark room.

Some people enduring this type of headache may also have a flushing face, while the cheeks turn red. As mentioned before, it is a periodic headache that reoccurs on every seventh day. Turning to the homeopathic remedy sanguinaria helps to treat the actual health condition as well as provide relief from the associated symptoms.

It may be noted that in homeopathy, sanguinaria is the primary medication for treating nasal blockade. It is effective when the nose is plugged with mucus and congested in catarrhal condition of the nose. Patients suffering from this health condition have copious, dense, yellowish discharges from their nose.

Some of these patients may also suffer from cough simultaneously owing to getting a cold, from a draft of cold air as well as change in the weather conditions. Intermittent coughs accompanied by choking and vomiting are the other symptoms of this health condition.

The homeopathic medication sanguinaria is also effective in treating chest problems, especially when the right side of the chest is sore and produces a burning sensation. In this condition, the patients may suffer from chocking as well as vomiting. They may also experience coughs which originate from gastric problems and every time the patient coughs, it ends with a belching or burping.

The cough deteriorates during the night and the patients feel better when they sit up in the bed and after belching. In addition, sanguinaria is also known to be an effective medication in the perseverance stage of pneumonia, especially when the right lung is affected. In such cases, the patients experience a tickling sensation behind the sternum or the breastbone. The patients are able to feel every cough at the place where the trachea is branched.

Before we wrap up the uses of sanguinaria, we may highlight the primary uses of this homeopathic remedy once again. In homeopathy, sanguinaria is also indicated for treating rheumatism of the right arm, shoulder and deltoid (a large, triangular muscle covering the joint of the shoulder). Such type of rheumatism (problems of the back or the extremities) is generally a result of exposure to cold or cold air.

People suffering from this condition experience a drawing and tearing tenderness making it difficult for the patients to lift their arms. As a result of this, they always have to keep their arm hanging by their side.


The herb bloodroot, which forms the basis of the homeopathic remedy sanguinaria, is indigenous to the eastern regions of North America and is found growing in the wild through the expanse ranging from Nova Scotia in Canada to the south to Florida in the United States.

Bloodroot happens to be the solitary species in the genus Sanguinaria and is incorporated in the family Papaveraceae. Bloodroot has a close resemblance of Eomecon found in the eastern regions of Asia.


From H'Dr Shafiq S Virani - Mar-17-2011
I found its mother tincture helpful in treating sinusitis, especially in headache. Dosage: 10 drops of tincture mix in some water (use thrice a day).
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