Common Names: Western Bleeding Heart, Pacific Bleeding Heart
Botanical Name: Dicentra formosa
Plant Family: Papaveraceae
Parts Used: Roots (and leaves and flowers have medicine as well, just not as strong and centralized)
Actions: Alterative, analgesic, narcotic, suppressant, tonic.
Habitat: This wild species lives in moist thickets and lower forests of the mountainous west coast. I find an abundance of Bleeding Heart where the forest receives dapple sunlight.
Identification: The lovely blue-green pinnate leaves unfurl during early spring. The leaves look almost “fern-like” with their deep lobes. There is one flowering stalk per leaf. The flowers nod down in a pink cluster that resembles an inflated heart. The root looks more similar to the human heart…it is tubular and connected to surrounding plants by rhizomes. The roots grow close to the earth’s surface.
Collection: The roots can be collected year round, yet are strongest in the winter (when leaves and flowers are not visible). The whole plant can be collected from Spring to Fall (until the leaves turn a yellowish color and begin senescence). **Be careful harvesting Bleeding Heart. It is an extremely powerful plant and some people are sensitive to its suppressant qualities…even touching the root with bare hands can numb a person’s pain.
PAIN & CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM DISORDERS
The root is extremely medicinal and powerful. It can make a person very loopy and with too much it has the possibility of cardiac arrest. Be wise and Be careful.
Bleeding Heart helps with SEVERE pain. Anything from passing kidney stones to back pain to severe migraines or tooth trauma, Bleeding Heart is quick to bring the sharp pain away.
Internally: If you absolutely need a pain killer, try one drop of Bleeding Heart tincture. If the pain still persists (after 15-30 minutes) take another drop. Dosage depends on the person and the pain, yet I would be wary of taking more than 1 dropper full of tincture.
The tincture can help calm the nervous system. If a person has insomnia, severe anxiety or nervous/shaky/pain from a traumatic accident, Bleeding Heart will ease (or numb) the body.
Externally: A safer bet for using Bleeding Heart and one that most everyone can tolerate. Make an oil with the roots and leaves to help ease pain and UNCONTROLLABLE MUSCLE SPASMS.
CAUTION: Do not take a large dose of Bleeding Heart tincture. Also, DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY WITH OTHER PAIN KILLERS. Also do not take if pregnant. It may also induce a false positive in urine testing for opiates.