Sanguinaria canadensis growing guide

Inside the medicine cabinet of our grandparents and grandmothers, it sure left a space for extracts of anguinaria canadensis .

A very common plant in North America (specifically Canada, which lives up to its scientific name) that, in addition to its potential as a medicinal plant, has a spectacular flowering of interest to any garden.

As always, we are going to know all the interesting aspects of the bloodroot plant. Its cultivation, care, multiplication and, of course, its medicinal properties.

The common name of bloodroot comes not because of its applications to humans but because when extracting the sap from the plant, it resembles the red of the blood. This compound has been in use for many years as a colorant, found in higher concentrations in its roots.

In addition, this deep red sap contains alkaloids and compounds that today have medicinal use.



Naturally developed in the forests of North America, it needs a soil with constant humidity and rich in organic matter.

In this type of forest, where a large number of leaves fall in autumn, an appropriate compost is formed that ferments in the hottest months. The rainfall is high, so the perfect broth is created for a constant increase in humidity and organic matter, perfect for the development of  anguinaria canadensis.

Of course, in shadow issues we say the same. Growing above the ground between the trees, the shade is practically total at all times.

Therefore, when looking for a hole in your garden, you can take advantage of its planting as an ornamental plant under tall trees.

As for the pH, a slightly acidic one between 5.5 and 6.5 is better), to which you can make corrective amendments with iron sulfate periodically to have the appropriate pH for bloodroot.


Sanguinaria canadensis is resistant to cold and is used to areas with high rainfall, hence one of the main requirements of its cultivation is to maintain a constant soil in humidity.

When planting it, you can choose between shade or semi-shade, but avoid direct exposure to the Sun, as it can burn and reduce its flowering.


Its flowering, although spectacular, is very short. The normal thing is that between the opening and the fall or deterioration of the same do not pass more than 2 days, although if we help in the conservation of the climatic needs they can exceed 4 days.

It is also interesting to know about this plant that the flowers come out before the leaves open, which remain rolled up once they have left the bulb.


The bloodroot plant has several ways to spread, although the easiest and cheapest way is by dividing its root (stomata).

However, it will not be easy to buy or acquire both seeds and rhizomes, so we will need to look for friends or acquaintances who have the plant.

The process of germination of seeds or multiplication by rhizomes can be done between spring and autumn. In cold cases, the propagation will be done inside the house, to later carry out the transplant.


We will now comment on some of the medicinal properties attributable to bloodroot.

More than 50 compounds have been extracted from Sanguinaria canadensis . Of these, many have offered successful results against bacterial development, which is why it has initially been used in veterinary medicine as a food supplement for livestock.


This is due to some chemical structures present in bloodroot sap such as sanguinarine , sanguilutin, or sanguirubin .

Formerly, it was used as an insect repellent, spreading its sap extract mixed with other oils that were also used for the same.

According to the medicinal advice, it favors the reduction of headache (it works as an anesthetic), febrifuge, sedative, depurative and diuretic.

Recent western studies have established bloodroot as a potential tool against the development of certain cancers through the alkaloid sanguinarine (C 20 H 14 NO 4 ).

It interacts with DNA, reducing cell death and having a cytotoxic effect on certain types of cancer cells.

Molecular targetCell effect / importance
Topoisomerasa IIAvoid DNA break repair
Telomere CappingInduce apoptosis rápida
Oncogenes C-myc, KRAS, C-kitExpressed in various tumors
H-DNAHematologic and colorectal tumor expression
Familia Bcl-2Induction of apoptosis
ERKsInduction of apoptosis
NF-κBRole in proliferation, migration, apoptosis
DR-5TRAIL-mediated apoptosis
Endoplasmic reticulumUnfolded protein response
VEGF-ADamage tumor neovascularization
GlutathioneExhaustion amplifies oxidative stress
Anti-microtúbuloInhibits cell proliferation


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