Native Americans in the eastern parts of the United States were the first to use bloodroot as a dye for staining skin and leather. It was used as a form of medicine as well, treating things like asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis, diphtheria, and infections. Other things bloodroot was used to treat include burns, sore throat, sore ears, stomach troubles, ulcers, warts, fevers, and curiously enough, it was used in problematic childbirth.

In 1612, Captain John Smith noticed bloodroot being used in tribes. After this, the early colonials used it as an ingredient in homemade cough syrups and by the 19th Century, bloodroot had become very popular throughout medicine. However, they did find that it could be dangerous in large doses, so it was only used in small amounts so it wouldn’t disrupt any normal body function.  The name sanguinaria was first used  in 1651 by Pierre Morin, who was a French botanist.

Many of the traditional uses of bloodroot have been stopped because of it's toxcitity. However, it is still present in a few commercial products in Canada such as cough syrups, toothpaste, and mouthwash. In Australia, it is also in Lexat, which is a product used to treat digestive disorders. Another newer use for bloodroot is that it is used in feeds for cattle because it works as an antibiotic. Furthermore, there is continued research being done with bloodroot to test if it can be used to cure different things.



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