Blood root was a Native American cure all, used to stimulate the bodies ability to heal itself. In my PhD research, I found that these uses were warranted and that blood root needed to be studied for its ability to stimulate well being and general health!
Chapter from My PhD Thesis
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
Chapter from My PhD Thesis
Part Used: Fresh dried root
Chemical Constituents: Significant phytochemicals include alkaloids, berberine, coptisine, oxysanguinarine, protopine, resin, sanguidaridine, sanguidimerine, sanguilutine, sanguinarine, and sanguirubine. (14)
A woodland plant, Sanguinaria canadensis is found throughout the temperate regions of the United States , east of the Mississippi River . The drug was called bloodroot because when cut, the root exudes a blood like substance. The drug was well known to the Native Americans (Illinois-Miami, Penobscot, Mohegan, Chippewa, Seneca, Menomini, Meskwaki, Ojibwe, Potawatami, Mohawk, and Malecite tribes) as a dye plant used in staining human skin and leather. Medicinally, it was used to remedy problematic childbirth, burns, wounds, sore throat, diphtheria, sore ears, stomach troubles, consumption with haemorrhage, and infected cuts. The drug was noticed by Captain John Smith in 1612 who remarked that the local tribes called it Musquapenne. (15)
The early Colonials employed Sanguinaria as an acrid emetic, an application in indolent ulcers, and as an eschartotic to remove cancers and growths. Used for coughs and colds, it was an ingredient in homemade cough syrups and tinctures. In 1803, William Downey wrote a thesis on the drug and submitted it to the University of Pennsylvania for his degree of Doctor of Medicine. Barton, Cutler, Thacher, Schopf, and Bigelow mentioned it as a useful indigenous drug. The drug, due to its emetic properties, was popular amongst the 19 th century medical establishment. It was official in every edition of the US Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1910.
The Eclectics were well acquainted with the drug and the damage it could incur when used in large doses. They rejected large doses and pioneered its use in minute doses, they stipulated it should be used in doses so small as to not disturb normal physiology. (13)
Eclectic Uses (1–13)
Actions-Emetic, expectorant, diaphoretic, acro-narcotic, sedative, alterative, tonic, stimulant, stimulant to the mucous membranes, stimulant to the vegetative system of nerves, improves circulation, increases nutrition and secretion, allays irritation to the respiratory tract, stimulates and sustains the system, excites the hepatic and glandular system, cholagogue, stimulates secretion and improves the appetite, creates healthy energy in sores, stimulant to the spinal and sympathetic ganglia, stimulant to the mucous membrane(bronchi, stomach, and intestinal tract), alterative effect on the blood, stimulates the liver and portal circulation, glandular organs, and intestinal tract, improves pelvic circulation, favours absorption of exudates, improves functional activity of the lungs, stimulates capillaries and overcomes congestion of the lung structure, tonic and stimulant to the reproductive tract.
“Sensations of burning and itching of mucous membranes, especially of fauces, pharynx, Eustachian tubes and ears; less frequently of larynx, trachea and bronchia, occasionally of stomach and rectum, rarely of vagina and urethra. The mucous membrane looks red and irritable. Sometimes the redness will be of the end of the nose.” (3)
Inflammatory and febrile diseases, chronic exanthemata, rheumatism, malaria, passive dropsy, tuberculosis, systemic tuberculosis, diphtheria, syphilis.
Hemoptysis, general circulation is debilitated, cold extremities.
Atonic conditions of the stomach, bowels, with increased mucous secretion, torpor of the liver, chronic hepatitis, congestion of the liver, subacute hepatitis, atonic dyspepsia, gastric and duodenal catarrh, catarrhal jaundice, all diseases of hepatic debility, where the biliary product is suppressed, deficient, or vitiated, dysentery, chronic ulceration’s of the throat, dysentery with imperfect circulation.
Uterine and vaginal disease, amenorrhoea, amenorrhoea in chlorotic or anaemic patients, with chilliness and headache, dysmenorrhoea of debilitated females, amenorrhoea caused by cold, male genital debility, seminal weakness, impotence, seminal incontinence, relaxed sexual organs.
Rheumatic complaints, acute rheumatism, where pains are throbbing, burning, and occur spasmodically.
Chronic diseases of the ears and eyes, hysteria due to moral causes or pain, cephalgia, neuralgic affections of the head, sick headaches.
Bronchitis with increased secretion, cough with dryness of the throat and air passages, feeling of constriction in the chest, difficult and asthmatic breathing with a sensation of pressure, diseases of the respiratory tract, phthisis pulmonalis, asthma, laryngitis, catarrhal affections, whenever an expectorant is needed, typhoid pneumonia, after the acute phase of a respiratory illness has passed, atonic conditions of the respiratory tract, after acute inflammation has subsided, pharyngitis, acute or chronic bronchitis, haemorrhage of the lungs caused by varices, abnormal bronchial secretions, scanty or profuse, burning, smarting, itching conditions of the throat, larynx, nares, ticking or burning of the nasal passage with abundant secretion, catarrhal affections of the nose, hypertrophic rhinitis, nasal catarrh with little or no discharge, irritative or tickling cough, sore throat, acute or chronic, croup, mucous croup, pseudo-membranous croup, humid asthma, whooping cough, nasal polyp, coughs, colds, stubborn coughs resulting from bronchial or tracheal irritation, bronchial cough, spasmodic croup, harsh, dry cough with relaxed tissues of the pharynx, larynx and bronchi, with a sense of constriction and constant irritation and uneasiness or tickling in the throat, severe cold following exposure, hoarse bronchitic cough, stridulous laryngitis, early stage of croup, conditions of the lung or bronchi with imperfect circulation and relaxed mucous membranes with general inactivity of the nervous system and lack of nerve force.
Syphilitic eruptions, tinea, frozen feet, cutaneous disease, eczema, warts, ringworm, carcinoma, exuberant excrescence’s, ill conditioned ulcers, indolent ulcerous conditions, chronic ulceration’s, fissures and ulceration’s of the anus, epithelioma, lupus, and other growths of a similar nature.
The drug from Selye’s perspective
State of Resistance
The drug was used to raise resistance to acute and chronic infection (i.e. syphilis, tuberculosis, and diphtheria). It was used to raise resistance to autoimmune disease (i.e. kidney failure and rheumatoid arthritis). It was used to raise resistance to inflammatory disease, febrile disease, chronic exanthemata, and respiratory disease. Lastly, it was used to raise resistance following exposure to the cold.
State of Exhaustion
The drug was used when resistance failed and State of Exhaustion set in. Signs of that state, treated with the drug, included debility, dysentery with circulatory abnormalities, hemoptysis, general debilitated circulation, cold extremities, temperature abnormalities, chronic ulceration of the throat, menstrual absence, male sexual collapse, chronic diseases of the eye, skin eruptions, ill conditioned ulcers, indolent ulcers and chronic ulceration.
From Selye’s perspective, the drug was used to augment the GAS, which suggests it increases adaptation energy. Evidence to this effect includes the following. The drug was used to increase resistance to infection and autoimmune disease. It was used to bolster patients in State of Exhaustion and those suffering from exposure. Lastly, it was applied topically to non-healing wounds and ulcers to stimulate healing.
Brekhman’s Adaptogen Criterion
An adaptogen should be innocuous and cause minimal disorders in the physiological functions of an organism.
The drug was considered safe in small doses. (1–13) Large doses were not considered safe. Contemporary literature reports the drug to be toxic and dangerous (16) but does not report on the doses used by the Eclectics.
The action of an adaptogen should be non-specific i.e. it should increase resistance to adverse influences of a wide range of factors of physical, chemical, and biological nature.
Clinically the drug was used to increase resistance to bacterial and viral infection, both chronic and acute. It was also used to increase resistance to autoimmune disease and exposure to the cold. (1–13)
Experimentally, the drug contains compounds which have been shown to increase resistance to bacterial infection (cholera, escherizia, gonorrhoea, leishmania, pneumonia, Shigella, salmonella, Staph, Strep, syphilis, tuberculosis, gram positive and negative bacteria, viral infection (herpes), Chlamydia, cancer, tumours, cirrhosis, bacterial endotoxin poisoning, Giardia, Malaria, Plasmodium, trachoma, tryptosoma, worms, fungal infection (Candida), trichamonas, and free radical damage. (14)
An adaptogen may possess normalising action irrespective of the direction of the foregoing pathological changes.
Clinically the drug was used to correct the catalogue of physiological abnormalities associated with State of Exhaustion , including temperature abnormalities, secretion abnormalities of the mucous membrane, ulceration of the skin or mucous membrane, endocrine/reproductive failure, membrane permeability abnormalities, and circulatory abnormalities. (1–13)
Experimentally, compounds found in the drug have been shown to normalise arthritis, diarrhoea/dysentery, inflammation, ischemia, muscle pain, temperature abnormalities, ulcer formation, digestive insufficiency, liver insufficiency, hypercholesterolemia, hyperglycaemia, immune suppression, leucocytopenia, prostaglandin abnormalities, and vasoconstriction/dilation . (14)
The drug exhibits properties consistent with Brekhman’s definition of an adaptogen. It is innocuous in the prescribed doses; it raises resistance to a wide array of biological threats, and normalises physiological function.
Sanguinaria canadensis was a common remedy when the Eclectic movement began. Domestically, it was used in small amounts in syrups to remedy chronic coughs. The medical establishment used it in large doses as a powerful emetic and cathartic. The Eclectics were opposed to burdening sick people with poisons and discounted this manner of use.
However, they did not dispense with the drug. They saw the drug as powerfully vitalising and experimented with controlling its power by administering it in small doses. They found that when used in small amounts, it could be used to raise resistance to an acute or chronic infection and bolster a patient in State of Exhaustion . The drug was seen as especially helpful if State of Exhaustion was manifesting in the respiratory tract. Interestingly, they also used it when respiratory disease was the pathology at the root of the State of Exhaustion . In controlled doses, Sanguinaria was seen as excellent in raising resistance to disease and preventing or treating State of Exhaustion .
Potential Clinical Applications
The drug was used to remedy State of Exhaustion manifesting in the respiratory tract and respiratory disease leading to State of Exhaustion . Experimental data supports these uses. The drug may have a role in raising resistance to respiratory disease.
• Toxicity of low doses Sanguinaria canadensis. The Eclectics reported the drug was safe when used in small amounts. Its toxicity, in low doses, should be examined.
• Sanguinaria canadensis and its effect on the GAS. The drug should be tested out in the animal model to determine its specific effect on the GAS.
• Sanguinaria canadensis and tuberculosis. The drug was used clinically to increase resistance to tuberculosis. Experimentally, compounds found in the drug have been shown to have an anti-tubercular effect. Its role in tuberculosis prophylaxis and raising resistance to tuberculosis infection should be examined.
• Sanguinaria canadensis and gum disease. Clinically, Sanguinaria canadensis was used to improve gum health. Recent research has determined that it contains a compound, which specifically inhibits plaque-causing bacteria while leaving healthy flora unmolested. (17) The drug should be examined for its ability to raise resistance to gum disease.
The drug is abundant in the wild and readily grown.
• King, John. The American Eclectic Dispensatory. Moore , Wilstach, and Keys. Cincinnati . 1854. P. 843.
• Scudder, J. M. Specific Medication and Specific Medicines. Revised. Fifth Edition. Wilstach, Baldwin and Company. Cincinnati . 1874. P. 235.
• Scudder, J. M. The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics. Published by the Author. Cincinnati . 1883. P. 123, 568,622.
• Watkins, Lyman. An Eclectic Compendium of The Practice of Medicine. John M.Scudder’s Sons. Cincinnati . 1895. P. 447.
• Felter, Harvey Wickes and Lloyd, John Uri. Kings’ American Dispensatory. Volume one and Volume two. Ohio Valley Company. Cincinnati . 1898. P. 1708.
• Webster, HT. Dynamical Therapeutics—A work devoted to the Theory and Practice of Specific Medication with special references to the newer remedies. Webster Medical Publishing Company. Oakland . Second Edition. 1898. P. 411, 501, 533, 635.
• Felter, Harvey. Syllabus of Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics. Compiled from notes taken from the lectures of F.J.Locke. Edited with pharmacological additions by H.W.Felter. Second edition, with appendix. Scudder Brothers Company. Cincinnati.1901. P. 33.
• Peterson, F.J. Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics. Published by the Author. Los Olivos , California . 1905. P. 137.
• Lloyd Brothers. Dose book of Specific Medicines. Lloyd Brothers, Cincinnati . 1907. P. 208.
• Lloyd, JU. History of the Vegetable Drugs of the Pharmacopoeia of the United States . Bulletin number 18: pharmacy number 4. 1911. P. 73.
• Fyfe, John William. Pocket Essentials of Modern Materia Medica and Therapeutics. The Scudder Brothers Company. 1903. P. 262.
• Ellingwood, Finley. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Pharmacognosy. Ellingwood’s Therapeutist. Chicago . 1919. P. 242.
• Lloyd, John Uri. Origin and History of all the Pharmacopoeial Vegetable Drugs, Chemicals and Preparations. Volume 1: Vegetable Drugs. The Caxton Press. Cincinnati . 1921. P. 282.
• Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Agricultural Research Service. USDA.
• Erichson-Brown, Charlotte . Medicinal and other uses of North American Plants. Dover Publications. New York . 1979. P. 318–321.
• Foster, Stephen and Duke, James. Eastern and Central Medicinal Plants. Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston . 1990. P. 48.
• Godowski, KC. Antimicrobial action of Sanguinarine. Journal of Clinical Dentistry 1989 Spring; 1(4): 96–101. From PubMed abstracts.
Notes from the Eclectic Physician’s
1854; King J; (Materia Medica) – SANGUINARINA
Properties and Uses- Same as the bloodroot. One grain of this alkaloid may be thoroughly triturated with twenty or thirty grains of sugar of milk, and divided into ten or thirty doses, according to the effect desired. However, it is not much used in practice, the Sanguinarin being preferred.
Preparation – Prepare a tincture from the recent dried root, 3viij. to Alcohol 76 degree Oj. Dose from a fraction of a drop to five drops. Nitrate of Sanguinarina is a valuable preparation, and may be dispensed in syrup, in the proportion of grs. ij. to 3j. Dose, gtts. x. to 3j.
In full doses we employ the Sanguinaria as a stimulant to mucous membranes. This use is valuable in bronchitis with increases secration, and in atonic conditions of stomach and bowels with increased secretion of mucus. In minute doses we employ it in cases of cough with dryness of the throat and air passages, feeling of constriction in the chest, difficult and asthmatic breathing, with sensation of pressure. In the same doses it is a stimulant to the vegetative system of nerves, and under its use there is an improvement in the circulation, in nutrition, and secretion.
As a remedy in diseases of the respiratory tract, I prefer the Nitrate of Sanguinarina to the tincture.
The root of the sanguinaria canadensis‑ U.S. Preparations: The powdered root, syrup, a tincture, an acetous tincture, nitrate of sanguinaria. Dose: The dose of the powder as an emetic, grs. x. to grs. xx.; of the acetous tincture as an emetic, 3ss. to 3j. For the other uses, the tincture may be employed in doses of from the fraction of a drop to gtt. x. For its specific use, I prefer the nitrate of sanguinaria, grs. j. to water 3iv.; dose a teaspoonful.
Therapeutic Action: Sanguinaria is emetic, expectorant, diaphoretic, acro‑narcotic, sedative, alterative, and in small doses tonic and stimulant. Administered in full doses it induces nausea and vomiting, with a sensation of warmth in the stomach, acceleration of the pulse, and slight headache. It acts on the fauces, producing an acrid impression, and in some cases it proves cathartic. The leaves and seed possess similar properties; the seeds, however, are said to exert a marked influence upon the brain and nervous system, occasioning torpor, languor, disordered vision, and dilatation of the pupils. In large doses the emesis is violent; there is a burning sensation in the stomach, faintness, vertigo, dimness of vision, and alarming prostration. This article is one of much importance, owing to the diversity of properties possessed by it, and the varied indications which it fulfills, according to the dose and mode of administration.
In large doses it is an acrid emetic; it is active and thorough in its operation, and not unfrequently produces a violent burning pain in the stomach, thirst, vertigo, prostration, and other symptoms common to the free use of acro‑narcotics. In small doses it is a stimulant tonic, and a stimulating expectorant. When first administered it acts as an excitant, and, if the dose is sufficiently large, its secondary effects are those of sedation. As an emetic it is not often used, except in combination with less acrid agents. If combined with the lobelia and ictodes, it makes a valuable addition to those agents, and may be thus used in all febrile and inflammatory affections in which prompt and thorough emesis is indicated. We have used this combination extensively, for many years, in the treatment of intermittent and bilious fevers, and also in diseases of the respiratory organs; and this long experience has resulted in the conviction that, for the purpose of cleansing the stomach, arousing the liver and glandular system in general, restoring the secretions, and lessening exalted organic action, we have no combination that exceeds it in value. While it is efficient in its action, it is much less debilitating than the ipecacuanha, or tartarized antimony, so frequently used. As an independent emetic, it is mostly resorted to in diseases of the respiratory organs, as in phthisis pulmonalis, asthma, pertussis, laryngitis, catarrhal affections, etc. In all diseases of this kind, when an emetic is indicated, this article may be employed with a prospect of advantage. As a stimulating expectorant, it may be employed in typhoid pneumonia with much advantage; we frequently combine it with the asclepias tuberosa, in this disease. In the various diseases of the respiratory passages and organs, after the acute inflammation has been moderated by the use of emetic, cathartics, diaphoretics and revulsives, this article is of unquestionable importance. If administered early as an expectorant, before the high grade of inflammatory action has been moderated, it often proves too exciting, unless conjoined with less stimulating agents, anodynes, and demulcents. We likewise believe this article to be one of superior efficacy as a pectoral in the treatment of phthisis pulmonalis; it acts as a sedative to the respiratory organs, allays irritation, promotes expectoration, stimulates and sustains the system, and acts as an alterative. It may be used in the form of a powder, or tincture, but the syrup is preferable in this disease. It has proved valuable in hemoptysis, probably by its sedative influence upon the circulation. In croup, asthma and pertussis, many who have become acquainted with its merits, place it at the head of curative agents in the treatment of these diseases.
Specific Indications: Sensations of burning and itching of mucous membranes, especially of fauces, pharynx, eustachian tubes and ears; less frequently of larynx, trachea and bronchia, occasionally of stomach and rectum, rarely of vagina and urethra. The mucous membrane looks red and irritable. Sometimes the redness will be of the end of the nose.
Specific Uses: The uses of ;the remedy will be obtained by the indications as above. I have used it in chronic disease of the ears and eyes, pharyngitis, laryngitis and bronchitis, irritative dyspepsia, uterine and vaginal disease, and in the chronic exanthemata.
1895: Watkins – SANGUINARIA, SP MED
Acute rheumatism, throbbing, burning, spasmodic pain.Irritating and tickling cough, scanty secretion, sputa streaked with blood, burning sensations in throat and nose, thirst, tongue large and red. Ten to twenty drops in four ounces of water; teaspoonful every two hours.
1898: Felter and Lloyd – SANGUINARIA (U.S.P.) – SANGUINARIA
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage – I. Sanguinaria. The physiological action of sanguinaria is pronounced. The powder, when inhaled, is exceedingly irritating to the Schneiderian membrane, provoking violent sneezing, and free and somewhat prolonged secretion of mucus. To the taste, broodroot is harsh, bitter, acrid, and persistent, and when swallowed, leaves an acridity and sense of constriction in the fauces and pharynx, and induces a feeling of warmth in the stomach. In small doses, it stimulates the digestive organs, an dincreases the action of the heart and arteries, acting as a stimulant and tonic; in larger doses it acts as a sedative to the heart, reducing the pulse, causing nausea, and, consequently, diaphoresis, increased expectoration, and gentle diuresis, at the same time stimulating the liver to increased action. If the dose be large, it provokes nausea, with violent emesis, vertigo, disordered vision, and great prostration. It also increases the broncho-pulmonary, cutaneous, and menstrual secretions. It is a systemic emetic, very depressing, causing increased salivary and hepatic secretions, and hypercatharsis may result. When an emetic dose has been taken, the heart’s action is at first accelerated and then depressed. Poisonous doses produce violent gastralgia of a burning and racking character, which extends throughout the gastro-intestinal canal. The muscles relax, the skin becomes cold and clammy, the pupils dilate, there is great thirst and anxiety, and the heart’ action becomes slower and irregular. Spinal reflexes are reduced and paralysis of the spinal nerve centers follow. Lethal doses produce death by paralysis of medullary, respiratory, and cardiac centers, death being sometimes preceded by convulsions.
Sanguinaria fulfils a variety of therapeutic uses according to the size of the dose employed. Though an emetic, it is seldom employed alone, but in combination with lobelia, as in the acetous emetic tincture, it forms one of our most efficient systemic agents of this class, and may be employed in inflammatory and febrile states, where it is thought necessary to thoroughly cleanse the stomach, and to excite the hepatic and general glandular system to activity. Upon the liver it acts as a gentle but reliable cholagogue, and may be employed in torpor of that viscus, or in congestive states and subacute as well as chronic hepatitis. Its action on the stomach is kindly. It promotes secretion and improves the appetite. It is a good remedy for atonic dyspepsia, administering drop doses of specific sanguinaria every 2 or 3 hours. By its stimulant action on the mucous surface, it proves valuable in the treatment of gastric and duodenal catarrh, and in catarrhal jaundice. It is applicable in all cases of hepatic debility, especially where the biliary product is suppressed, deficient or vitiated, and the general circulation is feeble, with cold extremities and sick headaches. Its value is often increased when combined with either podophyllin or specific iris. Bloodroot has proven serviceable in rheumatism, dysentery, and scrofula, with imperfect circulation.
Bloodroot is useful in many troubles of the genital system. Amenorrhoea, especially in anemic and chlorotic patients, with chilliness and headache, is benefited by it, as well as dysmenorrhoea in debilitated females. Hysteria, when due to moral causes, or pain, has likewise yielded to sanguinaria. Hemorrhage of the lungs, depending on vicarious menstruation, has been controlled by bloodroot. In the male, it is a remedy for genital debility and seminal weakness, impotence, with seminal incontinence and relaxed sexual organs.
Sanguinaria is “a neglected drug in respiratory disorders. Its action upon the pulmonary organs is somewhat similar to that of lobelia. It is important as a stimulating expectorant, to be used after active inflammation has been subdued. It may be employed in atonic conditions. It restores the bronchial secretions when scanty, and checks them when profuse. It is indicated in burning, smarting, itching conditions of the throat, larynx, and nares; tickling or burning in the nasal passage with abundant secretion, and in irritative, tickling cough; or when from atony the secretions are checked, it restore sthem, and removes the dry, harsh cough. It is useful in both acute and chronic bronchitis, laryngitis, sore throat, and acute or chronic nasal catarrh. It acts as a sedative to the irritable mucous surfaces, promotes expectoration, and stimulates their functions. It has proved very valuable as a cough remedy in phthisis pulmonalis. It is further a valuable alterative. It has been successfully employed in various forms of croup, particularly mucous croup. It is serviceable in humid asthma and whooping cough. Pharyngitis, with red and irritable mucous membranes, and burning, smarting, or tickling, is cured by it. As an expectorant, it may be combined with other agents, as lobelia, etc. It enters into the composition of the ‘acetous emetic tincture,’ and, in powder form, is contained in the ‘compound powder of lobelia and capsicum.’ It is too harsh to use as an emetic, still good results have come from its use in pseudo-membraneous croup, first giving small doses until profound nausea is produced, then carrying it to emesis. In pneomonia, after the inflammatory stage has passed, it may be given in 1 or 2 drop doses, frequently repeated, or it may be combined with wild cherry, lycopus, or eucalyptus. the vinegar of sanguinaria is a very efficient pectoral agent. The nitrate of sanguinarine is, with many, a favorite remedy to fulfil the indications for bloodroot. It may be administered in water, syrup, or in trituration with milk-sugar. The specific indications are a sense of burning in the fauces, pharynx, larynx, or nasal tissues, with redness of surface, and thin, acrid burning, smarting discharge; post-sternal constriction, or at the supra-sternal notch, with difficult breathing. A decoction of bloodroot is of service in scarlatinal sore throat” (Felter, Ec. Med. Jour.).
Sanguinaria is of value in syphilitic skin eruptions, and, as an ointment, has been employed, locally, in tinea. The powder, made into a cataplasm with slippery elm, has been used in domestic practice as a local dressing for frozen feet. An infusion, made in vinegar, has been found valuable in several cutaneous diseass, as eczema, ringworm, and warts. At one time the root was extensively employed in the treatment of carcinomata, and was also applied to exuberant excrescences for its escharotic action, and to ill-conditioned ulcers, to create a healthy energy in the sores. Bloodroot with bayberry was formerly popular as an errhine in catarrhal affections of the nose, cephalalgia, neuralgic affections of the head, and to destroy nasal polypi. Prof. W. Byrd Scudder (Ec. Med. Jour., 1892, p.86) reports a case of hypertrophic rhinitis, caused by irritating dust in a seed-house, promptly relieved by 1/10 grain doses of sanguinarine nitrate. The patient complained of a “dryness of the naso-pharynx and throat, attended with sharp lancinating pain, and a sensation as if one side of the throat rubbed against the othr.” We have employed the nitrate of sanguinarine when the only symptom was an irritating cough, with tickling low in the larynx, with marked benefit. The preparations of sanguinaria in use are the powder, fluid extract, tincture, specific sanguinaria, vinegar of sanguinaria, syrup of sanguinaria, sanguinarine, and sanguinarine nitrate. The latter should be given in milk-sugar, or in syrup, on account of its acridity. Dose of the powder, as an emetic, from 10 to 20 grains; of the tincture, from 20 to 60 drops; as a stimulant or expectorant, from 3 to 5 grains; of sanguinarine nitrate, 1/30 to 1/10 grain; specific sanguinaria, from 1 to 10 drops. For chronic respiratory troubles the syrup may be combined with wild cherry and liquorice.
II. Sanguinarine Nitrate – The action of this agent is practically that ascribed to sanguinaria (which see), though for respiratory affections it is to be preferred to that drug. the nasal methods of administration are the syrup (1/2 to 2 grains to 4 fluid ounces of watr and syrup), the dose of which is a teaspoonful every 1 to 3 hours; and the 2 x trituration, the dose of which ranges from 1 to 10 grains.
I. Sanguinaria – For its specific indications, Prof. J. M. Scudder gives a “sensation of burning and itching of mucous membrane, especially of fauces, pharynx, Eustachian tubes and ears; less frequently of larynx, trachea, and bronchia, occasionally of stomach and rectum, and rarely of vagina and urethra. The mucous membrane looks red and irritable. Sometimes the redness will be of the end of the nose.” Added to this he gives “nervousness, redness of nose, with acrid discharge, burning and constriction in fauces of pharynx, with irritative cough and difficult respiration.” Prof. Locke gives also feeble circulation, with coldness of extremities.
II. Sanguinarine Nitrate – Tickling or irritation of the throat, with cough, burning or irritative sensation in the fauces, pharynx, larynx, or nasal tissues, with red surface and thin, acrid, burning, or smarting discharges; dryness of the nasopharynx and throat, with sharp, lancinating pain, and a feeling as if the walls of the throat were rubbing against each other; post-sternal construction, or sense of uneasiness at the supra-sternal notch, with difficulty in breathing; sense of uneasiness and burning in the stomach, with nervousness.
1898; Webster; (Muscles) –
Sanguinaria CanadensisThis remedy is recommended in acute rheumatism, where the pains are throbbing, burning, and occur spasmodically. It may answer for the relief of certain cases, but cannot be as positive as some other remedies mentioned in this work, or its merits in this direction would be more widely known. However, these qualities of the drug may be borne in mind for emergencies.
Form for Administration- The specific medicine.
Dose- From the fraction of a drop to five drops, repeated three or four times a day.
It likewise acts beneficially in diseases of the stomach with increase in mucous. Upon the vegetative system of nerves and upon the circulation its action is direct, hence it is sueful in pulmonary and bronchial affections, croup, rheumatism, diseases of the liver, scrofula, ameorhea and passive dropsy. vinegar tincture of sanguinaria, prunus virginianasimplex.This forms a valuable stimulant tonic and alterative….sanguinaria in small doses, is a good alterative. In chronic skin diseases and dropsical affections it is valuable, for by its stimulant action it promotes absorption, betters innervation and places the stomach in good condition. It is of value as a local application to ulcerated conditions of hte orifices of the body. With zince chloride it is used in a paste for cancers., In diluted form it is stimulant;in concentrated form it is escharotic. Its use is indicated by a sense of burning and constriction in the fauces, with free secretion. It will be gound a caluable agent, given either alone or in alternation with other remedies, in many condtiones accompanied with feeble circulation and cold extremeties. With these indications, together with chilliness, it is a good remedy for sick headache. Give one drop of specific sanguinaria every half or one hour.
1905: Petersen – SANGUINARIA CANADENSIS
Syn – Sanguinaria; Blood RootP. E. RhizomeN. O. – PapaveraceaeN. H. – United States and Canada
Properties: Stimulant, tonic, emmenagogue, emetic
Physiological action: In large doses it will produce irritation and inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract resulting in thirst, nausea, dilated pupils, coldness of extremities, deminished pulse, cold sweats and prostration. The anxious expression in the face that is present in severe affections of the gastro-intestinal tract is not lacking here. In toxic doses it will paralyze the vasomotor centers by overstimulation.
Indication: In relaxed condtion of the larynx, pharynx and bronchi, with a sense of constriction, burning, uneasiness, tickling or dryness of throat. Nasal catarrh with little or no discharge. Harsh, dry cough with relaxed tissue.
Use: In small doses it is a stimulant to the spinal and sympathetic ganglia. Has a stimulating effect on the mucous surfaces of the bronchi, and to a less degree on the stomach and intestinal tract. We think of it when there is either a deficiency or excess of secretion from atony of the mucous membrances of the parts. It stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, improving nutrition and secretion. Has also an alterative effect on the blood, stimulates the liver and portal circulation, glandular organs and intestinal tract. It increases pelvic circulation, especially in females. As an emmenagogue it is of value where there is fullness of circulation. It favors absorbtion of exudates and improves the functional activity of the lungs. One of our best remedies in stubborn coughs the result of bronchail or tracheal irritiation, bronchial coughs, membranous and spasmodic croup, coughs and colds. In pneumonia if combined with lobelia it is a useful remedy. Sanguinaria is of value in diphtheria both locally and internally, but in this disease the nitrate of sanguinaria in the 5th or 6th trituration is one of our best remedies and should be given internally in 1 to 3 grain doses every 1/2 to 2 hours. The 2nd trituration 5 to x grains in 2 ounces of syrup and vinegar is a very good form to give sanguinaria nitrate, 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful doses every 1/2 to 3 hours. In most conditions the nitrate of sanguinaris is to be preferred.
Tickling sensation in the throat, or irritation of the throat with cough, bronchitis with increased secretion;atonic conditions of the stomach and bowels, with increased secretion of mucous, sense of uneasiness and burning in the stomach,with nervousness, laryngitis, with cough and tickling dryness of the throat, respiratory diseases when inspiration is difficult and the throat and air passages dry, hot, and swollen, sense of constriction in the throat, with difficulty in deglution.Sanguniaria is one of our most efficient remedial agents in diseases of the throat and air passages. As a cough medicine it has but few equals, and when specifically indicated will alone cure many unpleasant coughs. It also constitutes an important part of many cough mixtures which have been found useful in coughs presenting no makred specific indications.
Sanguinaria canadensis in small doses is a stimulant and tonic. In large doses it is a sedative, expectorant, diuretic, and diaphoretic. In very large doses it acts as a harsh emetic and narcotic. Excessive doses have caused death.
Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, is found throughout the temperate regions of the United States east of the Mississippi River. It was used by the Indians as a dye for coloring their garments and for staining their faces and bodies, in which direction it fulfilled the double object of a coloring material as well as to keep away insects, it being disagreeable to them. The Indians also used it as an acrid emetic and, mixed with other herbs, in the form of an ointment as an application to indolent ulcers, its action being somewhat escharotic. The early settlers employed it in these directions, while its efficacy in coughs and eolds established it as a constituent of home-made compounds such as syrups and tinctures. The professional use as well as great reputation of this drug and its alkaloidal constituents (388a) are due to the Eclectic school of medicine, although its qualities had been well established previous to the systematic efforts made by physicians of this school. Sanguinaria was mentioned by Barton (43), Cutler (178), Thacher (631), Schopf (582), Bigelow (69), and other early investigators, whose recorded statements demonstrate the method of its introduction to have been as herein described. In connection with lard, arsenic, and hydrated ferric oxide it constitutes a once popular cancer remedy. It is a constituent of the early Eclectic Compound Tar Plaster (ss Phytolacca).
1919: Ellingwood – SANGUINARIA,
Synonym – Bloodroot.
Constituents -Sanguinarine, ehelerythrine, protopine, citric and malic acids.
Dose: Its best medicinal influence is obtained from small doses; from ten to twenty drops in a four ounce mixture, a teaspoonful every hour or two.
Physiological Action – In excessive doses bloodroot is a gastric irritant, and a depressant; it produces burning and racking pains in the digestive canal from the mouth to the stomach; insatiable thirst, dilated pupils, nausea, an anxious countenance, coldness of the extremities, cold sweats and more or less diminution of the pulse, with irregularity.
Specific Symptomatology – The influence of sanguinaria is restricted to rather narrow lines. In harsh, dry cough with relaxed tissues of the pharynx, larynx and bronchi, with a sense of constriction and constant irritation and uneasiness or tickling in the throat, this agent is useful.
Therapy – It is a tonic and stimulant tot he bronchial membranes. It stimulates the capillaries and overcomes congestion of the lung structure, after a sever cold in the chest from exposure. An improvised syrup made from adding a dram of the tincture of sanguinaria and two drams of vinegar to two ounces of simple syrup will relieve the chest sensations quickly if taken in teaspoonful doses every half hour or hour.
It is not as useful a remedy in diseases of children as ipecac or lobelia, as the harshness of its action in full doses is not well borne. If combined with either of these agents, and given in small doses for exactly the same purposes for which they are suggested, it will furnish the tonic and stimulant influence of the combination. There will be less nausea from the ipecac and less general relaxation from lobelia. Given with the syrup of ipecac in hoarse bronchial coughs, or stridulous laryngitis, or in the early stage of croup, it will enhance the expectorant influence of ipecac, and prevent, in part, the cold skin and depressing influence of that agent. It equalizes the circulation of the entire system, inducing warmth in the skin and in the extremities.
In membranous croup its use is an excellent auxiliary to the treatment, but it is not to be depended upon alone. It may be given in small doses, not sufficient to produce emesis, until the membrane is separated, then the dose may be increased until the membrane is removed.It is a good remedy in atonic conditions of the lungs or bronchi with imperfect circulation and relaxed mucous membranes, with general inactivity of the nervous system and lack of nerve force. It should not be prescribed during active inflammation, but will be of service when the more acute symptoms have abated.
It will assist in overcoming hepatization of lung structure and restoring normal tone and normal functional action. The powdered drug in small doses in a capsule, may be combined with hydrastis or quinine with excellent effect when those agents are indicated as restoratives.It is said to act upon the stomach, liver and portal circulation, as a stimulant, and to the glandular organs and structures of the intestinal canal, and to exercise an alterative influence within the blood.The tincture of full doses, is an emmanagogue, restoring the menses when suppressed from cold. It is not to be given if menstrual deficiency is due to anaemia, although it is tonic and stimulant in its influence upon the reproductive organs.The powdered sanguinaria is applicable to suppurative conditions. it is useful in otitis media and in ozoena.
The nitrate of sanguinaria is a soluble salt, as useful and less irritating than any other form of sanguinaria. It is valuable as a local application to indolent ulcerative conditions. it should be used in small quantity in ointments, or in solution as a lotion. It is serviceable in chronic nasal catarrh, in chronic ulcerations, of the throat, and in fissures and ulcerations of the anus. It will act in this concentrated form as an escharotic and is of much service as an application to epithelioma, lupus and to other growths of a similar nature.
1921: LloydSANGUINARIA (Bloodroot)
Official in every edition of the Pharmacopeia, from 1820 to 1910.Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, is found throughout the temperate regions of the United States, east of the Mississippi River. It was used by the Indians as a dye for their garments, and for staining their faces and bodies, in which direction it served the double object of a coloring material, and to keep away insects, it being to them disagreeable. The Indians also used it as an acrid emetic, and, mixed with other herbs, in the form of an ointment, as an application to indolent ulcers, its action being somewhat escharotic. The early settlers employed sanguinaria in these directions, while its efficacy in coughs and colds established it as a constituent of home-made compounds such as syrups and tinctures. To the Eclectic school of medicine is to be credited the professional use of this drug and its alkaloidal constituents, although its sensible qualities and domestic uses had been well established previous to the systematic efforts made by physicians of this section in medicine. Sanguinaria was mentioned by Barton (43), Cutler (178), Thacher (631), Schopf (582), Bigelow (69), and other early investigators, whose recorded statements demonstrate the method of its introduction, as above described. In 1803, William Downey took this drug for the subject of the Thesis submitted by him to the University of Pennsylvania for his degree of Doctor of Medicine, dedicating his “Experimental Inquiry” to the celebrated investigator of American botanical products, Professor Benjamin Smith Barton, M. D., of the University of Pennsylvania. This publication was illustrated by an excellent frontispiece drawing of the plant, including flower, rhizome and immature fruit, no more characteristic being now in print. Dr. Downey made an analysis of the root according to methods then prevalent, deciding that “The principle of activity resides chiefly in the gum.” His investigations were made before the discovery of alkaloids, and although he produced the nitrate of sanguinarine, he failed to purify it, merely stating that when nitric acid was added to the decoction of the root, “a precipitate instantly took place.” Possibly there is no earlier description of the formation of an alkaloidal salt, surely not of an American drug.
Dr. Downey’s physiological experiments, performed on himself and friends, while not in accord with modern methods, are yet of great interest, especially as relating to the action of the drug when applied externally. Let us quote:”A portion of the powdered root was sprinkled over the ulcers, and then covered with a little common cerate, in which some of the powder was also incorporated. The discharge, by this treatment, was much amended; the callous edges were rendered much softer, and the ulcers in general acquired a healthy appearance. It may be proper to observe, that these changes were effected by only a few applications of the powder.”
As an internal agent, Downey sums up the problem as follows:”Wehave seen that it is a powerful stimulant, and that when taken in certain doses, it excites vomiting. And that in small doses it acts as a general stimulating tonic, as is shown by its increasing the appetite, and its action on the arterial system.”. It has ben placed in the class of emetics by Professor Barton, (see his Collections for an Essay Towards a Materia Medica of the United States), which is certainly its proper arrangement. Its most prominent effect being to induce vomiting even in moderate doses.”In connection with lard, arsenic and hydrated ferric oxide, sanguinaria constituted a once-popular “cancer” remedy. It was also a constituent of a very early Eclectic remedy, yet popular, “Compound Tar Plaster” (see Podophyllum). It is one of the most prolofic bearers of alkaloidal content known to vegetation. Its red juice owes its color to a peculiar alkaloidal structure that, when pure, turns white by alkaline reaction, though the alkaloid itself is practically colorless.
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