Sanguinaria. Sanguinaria canadensis.

Botanical name: 


Sanguinarine, chelerythrine, 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 more or lea 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 to the bronchial membranes. It stimulates the capillaries and overcomes congestion of the lung structure, after a severe 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 in full doses, is an emmenagogue, restoring the menses when suppressed from cold. It is not to be given if menstrual deficiency is due to anemia, 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.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.