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Phytother Res. 2012 Oct;26(10):1423-6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4606. Epub 2012 Feb 8.

Rise and fall of oral health products with Canadian bloodroot extract.

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Institut für Rechtsmedizin, Universität Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.


The rhizome of Sanguinaria canadensis (SC, bloodroot) contains an active principle with antimicrobial, antiinflammatory, antioxidative and immunomodulatory effects. For this reason SC extract has been added to toothpastes and mouthwashes in various concentrations. When tested separately, neither the toothpastes nor the mouthwashes with SC extract had any demonstrable clinical effectiveness against dental plaque and gingivitis. Although using them together twice a day seemed more effective than using placebo, more recent studies have shown conflicting results. Preclinical safety studies up to 2000, which did not include studies longer than 6 months, were thought not to indicate any appreciable potential for harm - to the oral mucosa in particular. In 2003, the FDA Subcommittee on Oral Health Care Drug Products for Over-the-Counter Human Use concluded from a review that using SC-containing products is safe. However, for reasons unknown, the review failed to consider publications between 1999 and 2001 that suggested a possible link between the use of SC-containing products and the pre-neoplastic lesion, leukoplakia. As it happened, bloodroot had already been removed (in 2001) from the formula of one of the most widely used products in question and the brand has since then disappeared altogether from the worldwide market.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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