This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
COMMON NAME. Red Puccoon.
MEDICINAL PART. The root.
Description. -- Bloodroot is a smooth, herbaceous, perennial plant, with a fibrous root, which when cut or bruised emits an orange-colored juice. From each bud of the root stalk there springs a single leaf about six inches high, and which is cordate and reniform. The flower is white, stamens short, and anthers yellow. The fruit is a two-valved capsule.
History. -- Bloodroot grows throughout the United States, in shaded woods and thickets, and rich soils generally, and flowers from March to June. Although the whole plant is medicinal, the root is the part chiefly used. The fresh root is fleshy, round, and from one to four inches in length, and as thick as the fingers. It presents a beautiful appearance when cut and placed under a microscope, seeming like an aggregation of minute precious stones. The dried root is dark brown outside, bright yellow inside; has a faint virose odor, and a bitter and acrid taste. It may be readily reduced to powder. Its active properties are taken up by boiling water or by alcohol. Age and moisture impair the qualities of the root, and it is of the utmost consequence to get that which has been properly gathered, and not kept too long. It yields several principles, among which are sanguinaria, puccine, chelidonic acid, a yellowish fixed oil, lignin, and gum.
Properties and Uses. -- The actions of Bloodroot vary according to administration. In small doses it stimulates the digestive organs, acting as a stimulant and tonic. In large doses it is an arterial sedative. It is useful in bronchitis, laryngitis, whooping-cough, and other affections of the respiratory organs. It excites the energies of a torpid liver, and has proved beneficial in scrofula, amenorrhoea, and dysentery. Applied to fungous growths, ulcers, fleshy excresences, cancerous affections, the powder acts as an escharotic, and the infusion is often applied with benefit to skin diseases.
Dose.--Of the powder as an emetic, ten to twenty grains; as a stimulant and expectorant, three to five grains; as an alterative, half a grain to two grains. Tincture, twenty to sixty drops.