In the Wild
*Also known as Indian paint, red root, and tetterwort
The bloodroot rhizome sends up single leaves from which a flower emerges on its own stem when the leaf unfurls. The palm-shaped leaves have five to nine lobes and are yellowish-green with orange veins. They are pale green underneath. Up to two inches across, the flower has a yellow center and eight to sixteen white petals. The flowers appear from late February to early May. Bloodroot is found in moist woodlands and along woody slopes.
The genus name Sanguinaria was derived from the Latin sanguis, meaning “blood.” 25 This is in reference to the reddish-brown or orange-colored sap from the rhizome. Both the rhizome and the sap are considered unsafe to ingest because of potential side effects. Despite this, the rhizome was used medicinally by Native Americans to treat fever and other ailments, and it was listed as an official botanical drug in the United States until 1926. Although it is no longer considered safe for herbal medicine, bloodroot is considered an ornamental garden plant.
Place dried leaves and/or flowers in a sachet to use as a charm for protective love. Sprinkle crumbled, dried leaves in the woods to release attachments. Burn a dried leaf to bolster courage or to add strength to spells. Place a flower or leaf on your altar to aid in divination. For esbat and women’s rituals, place three flowers on your altar.
This plant is endangered or threatened in some states. If this is the case where you live, work with its energy and leave an offering. Do not take any part of it.
Bloodroot is associated with the elements fire and water. Its astrological influence comes from Mars and the moon.