Valentine's Sale Extended: 20% Sale.

See February's Specials in Our Shop

Free Spellcasting Consultations: Contact Us

By Witchipedia, Herbs

Bloodroot: Folklore, Healing & Magical Uses

Updated on:

/

Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)

/

Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is an herbaceous flowering perennial native to the Eastern North American woodlands. This is a very pretty little plant that grows a single, deeply lobed palmate leaf from a basal stem that wraps around the white 8-petaled ray-type flower as it appears in very early spring (March-May) and disappears quickly.

The leaf opens wider as the flower grows on its single stem an inch or two above it, like a lady shedding her mantle and tossing it behind her which then becomes a pedestal for the flower to stand on. The whole thing is only about six inches tall. The flowers, which are pollinated by bees and flies, disappear by mid-May or so and then the leaf itself goes dormant by midsummer, leaving only the elongated green seed pods above ground to ripen.

These attract ants who take them back to their nests and eat the fleshy/fruity part before throwing the seed into the ant garbage pile where it then germinates.

Double-blooming varieties of bloodroot have been developed for the garden trade. These bloom much longer than the wild type.

The root is a rhizome that stores a bright red sap, reminiscent of blood, which gives the plant its name. It grows just below the surface of the soil. They form colonies that become small mounds or clumps that look just beautiful in the early spring.

Other Names bloodwort, red puccoon root, pauson, tetterwort, sweet slumber, snakebite, indian paint, coon root

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Bloodroot, a native North American plant, has a rich history in Native American folklore and was used by indigenous peoples for various medicinal and ritualistic purposes.

It reproduces primarily through rhizomes and its distinctive blood-red sap has been used as a natural dye.

Harvesting bloodroot should be done with care, as its rhizomes contain toxic alkaloids, but it can be dried and used in various home remedies, such as toothpaste and skincare products.

Bloodroot is believed to possess magical properties, often associated with protection and love spells, and it has a long history of use in witchcraft and traditional magic.

History and Folklore

Bloodroot is a native American wildflower that was used by the native population for red dye. It was apparently used as body paint as well, though it must have been cut with some other ingredient to prevent serious skin damage.

Bloodroot has enjoyed a long history of traditional medicinal use, but lately has come under fire due to its caustic nature. It has been used in toothpaste and most recently as an antibacterial agent in meat production in Europe.

UseDescription
Native American MedicineUtilized for various medicinal purposes
DyeingUsed as a natural dye for fabrics or crafts
Oral HealthEmployed for oral hygiene and mouth sores
Skin ConditionsApplied topically for skin issues and infections
Respiratory SupportUtilized for respiratory ailments and coughs
Love CharmsIncluded in love spells or charms
Table 1: Traditional and Folklore Uses

Propagation

Bloodroot is a native American plant that can be found growing wild in hardwood forests throughout Eastern North America. However, because it is collected by many herbalists and magic-users and because of habitat loss, I do not suggest gathering this plant from the wild.

Unlike many wildflowers, it is relatively easy to grow in a shady spot in your yard. You may be able to purchase plants from a plant conservancy or a native plant dealer in your area. Do not take bloodroot from the woods or from parks. Unless you have the permission of the landowner, this is illegal.

You can propagate bloodroot by seed or by cuttings or by division. It will spread by its rhizomes and its seeds forming lovely clumps.

Bloodroot likes a shady position in a well-drained, slightly acidic soil with high organic content. It likes to be grown with other plants, and black cohosh is a wonderful companion for bloodroot. It generally prefers to be kept moist but is pretty forgiving. You’ll want to mulch well with dead lives or wood chips to give it the feeling of being in the woods.

Don’t worry if your plant seems to die in the summer. It does go dormant and will probably return in the spring.

The roots grow a bit bigger each year and are best harvested around the sixth year. You should divide your clumps every 4 years or so to keep them vigorous.

Bloodroot is very attractive to slugs. If they become a problem, fill a tuna can with beer and half bury it near the bloodroot.

Harvesting & Storage

After harvesting, wash the roots thoroughly, not to bruise or break the skin. Lay on a screen to dry in a warm place with good airflow. Protect the roots from light and humidity. Roots are done drying when they have shrunk 1/4 of their original size and can be bent without breaking.

The dried bloodroots can be stored in paper or cardboard away from heat, moisture or light for up to two years.

Magical Attributes

Bloodroot is a popular protective hex-breaker for rootwork magic. It is also a marriage protector and aids in promoting harmony with extended family members, especially in-laws and helps prevent people from interfering in your marriage.

Bloodroots vary in color, with darker red to brownish roots considered male or King roots and lighter orange to pinkish roots considered female or Queen roots. Combined in a single sachet of red flannel, these are used to encourage a healthy marital sex life by placing the sachet under the couple’s mattress.

AssociationDescription
ProtectionGuards against negative energies or entities
PurificationClears and cleanses spaces or individuals
HealingEnhances healing energy and promotes well-being
TransformationAssists in personal growth and transformation
DivinationEnhances intuitive abilities and insight
Spirit CommunicationFacilitates connection with spiritual realms
Table 2: Magical and Spiritual Associations

Likewise, a bit of one of each root steeped in liquor, sometimes in combination with other herbs, is said to ensure sexual potency. After the herbs have steeped for several weeks, strain and drink a shot of the liquor to achieve the desired effect.

Place bloodroot over your door to encourage anyone who enters to respect your marriage.

If you fear someone is trying to break up your marriage, sew some dried bloodroot into yours and your spouse’s pillows.

Bloodroot can be carried or placed around the home (very high out of the reach of pets and children) as general protection from negative energy or spells or it can be burned to cleanse an area of negative energy.

Assuming you’re not expected to eat it or rub it on your body, bloodroot can be used in place of blood in spells. Dried bloodroot can be pounded into powder and added to water to reach the desired consistency.

Household Use

The red root sap yields an interesting but caustic red dye. It can be used to stain wood as well.

Healing Attributes and Toxicity

Most of the active constituents of bloodroot is stored in the rhizome. This sap is very toxic. It contains morphine-like compounds and also destroys animal tissue. It is traditionally used in herbal medicine as a component to ointments designed to destroy abnormal skin growths such as melanoma, warts and skin tags.

This is an extremely painful process and can result in serious scarring if not done properly. The FDA has investigated and prosecuted practitioners for carrying out this particular remedy.

Healing PropertyDescription
Anti-inflammatoryReduces inflammation and swelling
AnalgesicRelieves pain and discomfort
AntimicrobialFights against harmful microorganisms
AntioxidantProtects against oxidative damage
ExpectorantPromotes the removal of mucus from the lungs
Skin HealingAids in wound healing and skin conditions
Table 3: Healing Properties of Bloodroot

However, the FDA has approved sanguinarine, a constituent in bloodroot sap, for use in toothpaste and mouthwash to help destroy plaque, though it has been linked to oral lesions.

Bloodroot has also been used for sore throats, the juice dropped onto lumps of maple sugar which is then sucked. It is also said to have expectorant and emetic properties.

It is my opinion, however, that Bloodroot should only be used for its ornamental and magical values and should never be applied to the skin or taken internally and should not be handled by pregnant women. Long term use of bloodroot has been linked to oral cancer, glaucoma, edema, heart disease, miscarriage, fainting, collapse, vision changes and diarrhea.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

2 thoughts on “Bloodroot: Folklore, Healing & Magical Uses”

  1. Pingback: Pocket Full of Posies – The Language of Flowers – Even On Paper

Leave a Comment

What Is Missing In Your Life Today That You Deeply Desire?

Is it finding new love or making the existing one healthier than ever? Is it maybe some positivity that would make your life flourish as you've never thought it could? Or is it something unique that your life is missing?

Spellcasting is an art that must NOT be taken carelessly. If you are trying to solve a problem you're facing, you should consider hiring a professional witch that cast spells safely for everyone involved. This way, you know it's being done by someone experienced and knowledgeable, and I'm also always here to answer questions about your casting and provide follow-up at no additional charge.

I've been casting spells for more than a decade and have worked privately with clients from all over the world.

You can expect private sessions, customized spells that I'll create just for you, and free consultations before and after spell casting. You can also read hundreds of different testimonials that you can find at each spell.

Below you'll find spells you can order and what it is this month's special spell casting!