“Medicinally, bloodroot was used to treat coughs and stomach and urinary troubles,” Martha said. “The Iroquois also brewed a tea that they believed made the heart stronger and cleansed the blood of impurities. And they used it as a love charm.”
“A love charm,” I repeated thoughtfully. “I suppose that was because of its association with blood and the heart.”
“Perhaps,” Martha put her hat back on. “It has an important role in the sacred tradition. The Iroquois burned the leaves as a cleansing smoke to purify someone who had seen a dead person. And tribes in other parts of the country — the Ojibwa, the Ponca, the Potawatomi — used it to paint special identification marks on their faces, so that everyone would know at a glance what clan they belonged to….Bloodroot must have been powerful medicine.”
— Bloodroot, A China Bayles Mystery by Susan Wittig Albert
Submitted by/Photo by Jen Payne
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