Bloodroot has not been shown to treat cancer in humans.
Bloodroot is a perennial flowering herb native to eastern North America. It has been used for inflammation, cough, infections, as an antiplaque agent, and for cancer treatment. Sanguinarine, a compound present in bloodroot, was shown to have antimicrobial activity and to inhibit growth of new blood vessels. Use of bloodroot for skin lesions may result in serious harm. Other side effects of bloodroot include dizziness, vertigo, nausea, and vomiting.
Extracts of bloodroot have been studied in the laboratory and in animals for their anticancer effects. Traditional use of bloodroot for cancer is associated with serious adverse effects.
Sanguinarine, a compound present in bloodroot, has been shown to reduce plaque and is added to tooth pastes and oral rinses.
There is not enough scientific evidence to support this use.
This use is not backed by any studies.
Inappropriate use of bloodroot for cancer treatment can have severe adverse effects.
Bloodroot should not be used in individuals with glaucoma.
Do Not Take If
If you are pregnant or breast feeding.
If you are taking medication that decreases blood clotting or affects growth of new blood vessels (because blood root may aggravate the symptoms.)
Rare: hypersensitivity reaction, accumulation of fluid in blood vessels Common:
Systemic: Dizziness, vertigo, nausea, vomiting
Topical: skin irritation, burning and lesions of oral and esophageal tissues. Case Reports
An 87-year-old Caucasian man with a history of basal cell carcinomas self-treated a new basal cell carcinoma over his left nasal ala (nasal cartilage) with a “black salve” (a combination of zinc chloride and bloodroot). This resulted in complete loss of the nasal ala.
Two men, one with unremarkable medical history and the other with metastatic colon cancer used bloodroot salves for treating their skin lesions. The lesions in both men grew worse after application of the salve requiring hospitalization.
A 63-year-old man diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma preferred to self-treat the lesion with the black salve product containing 300 mg of bloodroot, galangal, red clover, and sheep sorrel. After a 4-month delay with no improvement, the patient consented to Mohs micrographic surgery. But a few months later, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and elected to self-treat with an oral black salve product and subsequently died.
A 60-year-old woman developed a large eschar (a piece of dead tissue that falls off the skin, following burns or wounds) on the right neck after using a blemish cream. The active ingredient in the cream was found to be Sanguinaria canadensis. The patient was treated with topical corticosteroids but was left with a scar from the healed eschar.
Unapproved use of bloodroot paste externally as cancer treatment has been linked to disfigurement.
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