Friday, August 19, 2011

About Sangre De Drago

Croton lechleri Muell.-Arg. Euphorbiaceae. "Sangre de drago", "Sangre de grado", Dragon's blood". The latex is used to heal wounds, and for vaginal baths before childbirth. It is also recommended for intestinal and stomach ulcers (RVM). It yields the hemostatic sap that accelerates wound healing (NIC). For leucorrhea, fractures, and piles (RAR). Page 58, Amazonian Ethnobotanical Dictionary by James Duke & R Vazquez.

Sangre de Drago also called Sangre de Grado, is a medicinal blood-like latex tapped by indigenous people, in the manner of rubber, from a tree found in the rainforests of the Upper Amazon. The source of this valuable healing agent is Croton lechleri, a tree belonging to the Euphorbiaceae that grows up to fifty feet in height. Its heart-shaped leaves have raised veins with two glands at their base that change color with age from deep green to yellow/orange and red. Croton lechleri is encountered at elevations between 1,200 and 4,500 in the wet foothills forests. It is also found on the other side of the Andes, in the Pacific rainforest of northern Ecuador. In many regions were the tree is found, it is placed among the most valued medicines in the local native's people forest pharmacy.

The "blood" tapped from the trunk and branches has a broad spectrum of uses, most of which are corroborated independently from tribe to tribe. It is applied externally to cuts to stop bleeding and accelerate healing, to disinfect wounds and skin infections, while forming a protective, flexible 'liquid bandage' when dried. It is also used as a mouthwash for bleeding and ulcerations of the gums, tooth infections and to protect the teeth from cavities. A swab of cotton soaked in Sangre de Drago is placed in a painful cavity to kill the pain and disinfect it. Natives use it quite often to treat diarrhea, gastritis, and ulcers.

Studies have shown that procyanidins are the major constituents of Sangre de Drago (~90% of dried weight),several of which have been characterized as novel proanthocyanidins compounds. To date, four U.S. patents have been filed on Sangre de Drado sap, two for wound healing and two describing on the antiviral activity of a proanthocyanidin polymer chemical extracted from the resin and bark of the tree, for use in treating animals and humans infected with respiratory syncytial virus, influenza A, B and C, and Herpes simplex virus. The latest patent continued to document the antiviral properties, uses, and clinical testing and results of the extract from Sangre de Grado resin and bark against numerous viruses.

Scientists have since found that as a little as a single drop of Sangre de Drago can diminish pain resulting from insect bites and stings, lacerations, burns, and plant reactions for up to six hours. The investigators noted that the sap acts as an analgesic agent by stopping the activation and stimulation of sensory nerve fibers that send pain signals to the brain. These scientist pointed out that it also inhibits the inflammatory response of tissue to chemicals released by these same nerves, and that it does so when applied either externally on the skin or when mixed with water and swallowed to treat gastrointestinal problems.
Ongoing research would soon provide more insights into the mechanisms through which Sangre de Drago works.

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