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This native American plant can be found growing in the lush hardwood forests of the eastern United States and southern Canada.
"As its fiery red roots suggest, the root is extremely bitter and harsh and can burn your mouth and stomach if used undiluted," says Christopher Hobbs in his book Herbal Remedies for Dummies.
Small amounts of a liquid extract (called tincture) of bloodroot are used in commercial mouthwashes and toothpastes to kill bacteria associated with gum disease and tooth decay on contact.
According to the website Altnature.com, bloodroot is also used in alternative medicine in very small doses, mainly for bronchial problems and severe throat infections. The root is used in many pharmaceuticals, mixed with other compounds to treat heart problems, and to treat migraines.
Bloodroot paste is used externally for skin diseases, warts, and tumors.
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