A.Vogel plant encyclopaedia

Sanguinaria canadensis L.

Canadian bloodroot


The name Sanguinaria derives from the Latin sanguis, which means «blood», and refers to the plant's orange-red juice. The species name canadensis refers to its Canadian origin.

The Indians of North America used the root as a medication against numerous complaints. They used the juice of the plant to paint their skin, as an insect repellent, and to dye objects. American and French dye works also used the plant successfully.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the root made its way into European trade. It was prescribed in powder or tincture form in small   dosages as a sweat-producing agent and as an expectorant in chronic bronchitis. The root of the Sanguinaria is officinal in North America.

Botanical characteristics

The Canadian bloodroot is a perennial with a woody, creeping rootstock containing a reddish juice. Each year, the rootstock produces a single palmate leaf with seven crenate, serrate lobes and a hairless, up to 25 cm tall stalk with a single white flower. The upper surface of the leaf is yellow-green, the lower surface is lighter and has conspicuous orange to violet veins. The flower has 8 to 10   petals and numerous stamens. Two carpels grow together to form a many-seeded capsule 3 to 5 cm long.

The Canadian bloodroot flowers from March to April.


The plant is native to sparse, moist forests of the Atlantic and Gulf coastal regions of North America, from Canada through Florida to northern Mexico.


To prepare the primary tincture, the rootstock is gathered in the autumn and dried. The homeopathic dilutions are prepared by shaking by hand. The tincture is made in accordance with the actual HAB.

Official designation







Sanguinaria acaulis MICHX.


Common names

Red root



Indian paint