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Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Aug 27;17(9). pii: E1414. doi: 10.3390/ijms17091414.

Sanguinaria canadensis: Traditional Medicine, Phytochemical Composition, Biological Activities and Current Uses.

Author information

1
Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia. a.croaker.10@student.scu.edu.au.
2
Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia. graham.king@scu.edu.au.
3
School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia. j.pyne@uq.edu.au.
4
School of Pharmacy, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Gold Coast, QLD 4222, Australia. s.dukie@griffith.edu.au.
5
Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia. lliu@scu.edu.au.

Abstract

Sanguinaria canadensis, also known as bloodroot, is a traditional medicine used by Native Americans to treat a diverse range of clinical conditions. The plants rhizome contains several alkaloids that individually target multiple molecular processes. These bioactive compounds, mechanistically correlate with the plant's history of ethnobotanical use. Despite their identification over 50 years ago, the alkaloids of S. canadensis have not been developed into successful therapeutic agents. Instead, they have been associated with clinical toxicities ranging from mouthwash induced leukoplakia to cancer salve necrosis and treatment failure. This review explores the historical use of S. canadensis, the molecular actions of the benzophenanthridine and protopin alkaloids it contains, and explores natural alkaloid variation as a possible rationale for the inconsistent efficacy and toxicities encountered by S. canadensis therapies. Current veterinary and medicinal uses of the plant are studied with an assessment of obstacles to the pharmaceutical development of S. canadensis alkaloid based therapeutics.

KEYWORDS:

Sanguinaria canadensis; alkaloid; black salve; bloodroot; escharotic; herbal; sanguinarine; skin cancer

PMID:
27618894
PMCID:
PMC5037693
DOI:
10.3390/ijms17091414
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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