Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

One of the early flowers to show up in Gallup every year is Bloodroot, also known as Indian paint and Snakebite.  I cannot find how the name “Snakebite” originated as there doesn’t seem to be any reference to it’s use as antivenom for snake bites.  An interest fact I discovered is that the plant has a unique relationship with ants.  Ants carry the seeds back into their colonies and store it for food.  As some of the seeds are not consumed they germinate and help propagate the plant.  The interconnectedness of plants, insects and humans is amazing and we all should learn to respect it more.  
Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2017, some rights reserved.

Bloodroot has too many herbal remedy uses to mention but its purported uses include use as a plaque fighter in toothpaste, cough suppressant and cure for some types of cancer. It actually is being studied for oncological benefits.  Some wart removal compounds on the market use sanguinarine as their active ingredient but most caution that it should not be used on healthy skin as one of the adverse reactions to it is it can destroy skin.  Sounds like something we should stay away from for now.  Conditions must have been perfect this spring for the plant as I seemed to see it everywhere inside and outside of Gallup.

Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2017, some rights reserved.


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