Puccoon, an aboriginal name applied to several plants with a yellow or reddish juice, but quite unlike in other properties. In the south, the bloodroot (sanguinaria Canadensis) is called puccoon. (See Bloodroot.) In some parts of the west the name is applied to two species of lithospermum, of the borage family, both yielding a red dye; L. hirtum being the hairy, and L. canescens the hoary puccoon. The name is perhaps more generally used to designate hy-drastis Canadensis than either of the foregoing, which is called, besides yellow puccoon, goldenseal, yellow-root, orange-root, Indian paint, etc. The genus hydrastis (Gr. , water, and , to act) belongs to the crowfoot family, or ra-nunculaceoe. It has a thick, knotted, yellow rootstock, from which rise a single radical leaf and a low, simple, hairy stem, bearing two leaves near the summit, and terminated by a single apetalous greenish white flower; the three petal-like sepals fall away when the flower opens, leaving the numerous stamens, and the cluster of 12 or more pistils, which in fruit become berry-like, and, being bright crimson, the cluster has the appearance of a raspberry. There is but one species, which is found from New York westward and southward, and is nowhere very common. It was used by the aborigines as a stimulant application to ulcers, and also as a dye; it is among the many reputed cancer cures. It is a tonic, and is regarded by some as having especial action on the liver and kidneys. In the western states it is used as an antiperiodic, as a substitute for quinine; the dose in powder is 30 to 60 grains.
The so-called hydrastin of the eclectics, precipitated from a concentrated infusion by muriatic acid, is used in doses of three to five grains; it consists mostly of berberine.