A Centuries-old Treatment for Skin and Other Disorders

This is a short history of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), a plant that grows in cool forested areas. It has been used historically as a dye, and for various disorders – but mainly the treatment of skin disorders, including cancer, warts and moles.

Bloodroot Salve

Nowadays, the bloodroot is mixed with not only zinc chloride (which has proven the safest and most effective salt to use) but also other herbs that help its action. They are Graviola, Chaparral and Galangal. Furthermore, the addition of DMSO, a compound used in the cosmetics and medical industries, is added to improve skin penetration of the herbal ingredients.

The resultant mixture is called “Bloodroot Salve”.

This article contains a short history of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), a plant that grows in cool forested areas. It has been used historically as a dye and for various disorders – but mainly for the treatment of skin disorders, including cancer, warts, and moles.

How does it look?

Here are some pictures of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis). It grows in the wild in Canada, and people plant it in their gardens for ornamental purposes. Very pretty! No prizes for guessing why it’s called “bloodroot”.

Medical Use of Bloodroot

During the 1930s, a physician named Frederick Mohs used a paste of bloodroot and zinc chloride, which he called Mohs’ Paste. It was not new, really; many had used it before him. (Hoxsey and Fells, to mention a couple). He realized that it “fixed” the cancerous tissue – drew it together in a way that separated the cancer cells from the surrounding tissue. Dermatologists still use this paste today, but they don’t call it Black Salve. That’s illegal, you know. It’s Mohs’ Paste or bloodroot paste.

Bloodroot salve on normal skin may cause reddening, but it does no more. When it comes into contact with an abnormal lesion, it causes the escharotic effect. It turns the lesion into an eschar or scab. The immune system then attacks the lesion immediately, and there is visible inflammation as the lesion is ejected. When the eschar comes out, it leaves behind a clean wound that fills in. Here are some pictures of an eschar.

That’s it in a nutshell, really.

Bloodroot Salve

Nowadays, the bloodroot is mixed with zinc chloride (which has proven the safest and most effective salt to use) and other herbs that help its action. They are Graviola, Chaparral and Galangal. Furthermore, DMSO, a compound used in the cosmetics and medical industries, is added to improve skin penetration of the herbal ingredients.

The resultant mixture is called “Bloodroot Salve”.

Other Resources

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