The rhizome of Sanguinaria canadensis, collected in autumn.

Characters. - About two inches (5 centimetres) long, and two-fifths of an inch (10 millimetres) thick, horizontal, cylindrical, somewhat branched, faintly annulate, wrinkled, reddish-brown; fracture short, somewhat waxy, whitish, with numerous small red resin-cells, or of a nearly uniform brownish-red colour; bark thin; odour slight; taste persistently bitter and acrid.

Composition. - It contains an alkaloid - sanguinarine.

Officinal Preparations

U.S.P.

Dose.

Acetum Sanguinariae ...............................................................

15-30 min.

Extractum Sanguinariae Fluidum ............................................

1-5 min.

Tinctura Sanguinariae...............................................................

1-3 fl. dr.

Action. - Sanguinarine appears to irritate the intestinal canal, producing vomiting and diarrhoea. Small doses after absorption stimulate the medullary centres for respiration and circulation, and motor centres in the brain and spinal cord. They thus cause increased respiration, rapid pulse, and increased blood-pressure. Larger doses produce convulsions which are clonic in mammals and tetanic in frogs. In the latter they still persist after section of the cord. Large doses paralyse all these centres, and cause death by paralysis of respiration.

Uses. - Except as a stimulant expectorant in chronic bronchitis it is rarely employed.