Croton leichleri / Sangre de Grado

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Article: South American tree sap is a pain killer, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic, Natural Science May 15, 2000:
"Dr. John Wallace of the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine predicts that every medicine cabinet and first aid kit in North America will one day be stocked with medicines containing the sap of the South American tree Croton lechleri.

Known as Sangre de Grado, Spanish for "Blood of the Dragon," because of its thick red sap, Croton lechleri grows throughout the Amazon. Its sap has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples of the Amazon as a herbal medicine to treat wounds, ease pain and relieve gastrointestinal distress. Wallace and his research team are conducting experimental research on Sangre de Grado as a potent inhibitor of inflammation and pain.

“Not only does Sangre de Grado prevent pain sensation, it also blocks the tissue response to a chemical released by nerves that promotes inflammation. There is currently no other substance that we know of that shares these same activities,” says Wallace. In laboratory tests, Wallace’s research team has demonstrated that Sangre de Grado blocks the activation of nerve fibers that relay pain signals to the brain, therefore functioning as a broad-acting pain killer.

In a clinical trial performed with pest control workers in Louisiana, a balm made from Sangre de Grado was found to provide relief from the bites and stings of a wide variety of insects within 90 seconds. The study further shows that Sangre de Grado offers pain relief and alleviated symptoms - itching and swelling - for up to six hours. Similar types of pain and inflammation can occur in the gastrointestinal tract - with gastritis, ulcer disease and infectious diarrhea. Wallace says, “We find that in animals with these conditions, the sap promotes gastrointestinal healing.”
Sangre de Grado has antibacterial actions, showing excellent promise as a first aid treatment for insect bites and stings, lacerations and even burns. Wallace, who performed these studies in collaboration with researchers at Albany Medical College in Albany, NY, says that isolation of the active ingredient in Sangre de Grado could lead to new therapies for a wide range of inflammatory diseases, including asthma, arthritis and ulcerative colitis
This research is supported by the Medical Research Council and the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research."


The Green Pharmacy, James A. Duke, Rodale 1997
"Dragon's blood (Croton lechleri). Several compounds in it, among them dimethylcedrusine and taspine, have antiviral and wound-healing properties that may be especially useful against the viral sores caused by herpes. The natural mixture of all three coumpounds heals wounds four times faster than the individual compounds alone. I use dragon's blood when I get cuts or abrasions in tropical Peru. Unfortunately, this herb is not widely available in the United States, although I expect that it will be soon. It is applied externally."

"Croton lechieri 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)."

"The sangre de grado tree was only a few minutes beyond. A tall slender tree, with smooth pale bark, it didn't look at all juicy, but when Dona Luisa slashed it wtih her machete, sap the color and consistency of blood flowed as from a wound. I was elated as I held a cup to catch the liquid. I'd wanted it for so long! This I knew was a most effective hemostatic agent; it was one of the plants the pharmaceutical company wanted especially, the one I'd used externally to stop the bleeding from a bad cut on my arm. The medicine I had seen given by mouth to stop internal bleeding in a woman hemorrhaging after childbirth. I knew this one could save lots of lives."
"Two of the plants had been scientifically identified for me by a Peruvian botanist who spent a day or two at the hotel. They were among the more important plant medicines, I thought. And the sangre de grado, which taken by mouth stops internal bleeding of a wound and applied externally disinfects and stops bleeding of a wound, was a Euphorbiacea, Croton salutaris; C.planostigma Klotzch."


All available third-party research on sangre de grado can be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the third-party published research on sangre de grado is shown below:

Anticancerous & Cytotoxic Actions:
Gonzales, G. F., et al. "Medicinal plants from Peru: a review of plants as potential agents against cancer." Anticancer Agents Med, Chem. 2006 Sep; 6(5) :429-44.
Rossi, D., et al. “Evaluation of the mutagenic, antimutagenic and antiproliferative potential of Croton lechleri (Muell. Arg.) latex.” Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar; 10(2-3): 139-44.
Sandoval, M., et al. “Sangre de grado (Croton palanostigma) induces apoptosis in human gastrointestinal cancer cells.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2002; 80(2-3): 121–9.
Chen, Z. P., et al. “Studies on the anti-tumour, anti-bacterial, and wound-healing properties of dragon’s blood.” Planta Med. 1994; 60(6): 541–45.
Pieters, L., et al. “Isolation of a dihydrobenzofuran lignan from South American dragon’s blood (Croton sp.) as an inhibitor of cell proliferation.” J. Nat. Prod. 1993; 56(6): 899–906.
Itokawa, H., et al. “A cytotoxic substance from sangre de grado.” Chem. Pharm. Bull.1991; 39(4): 1041–42.

Wound Healing, Neuromuscular, & Antioxidant Actions:
Frum, Y., et al. "In vitro 5-lipoxygenase and anti-oxidant activities of South African medicinal plants commonly used topically for skin diseases." Skin Pharmacol. Physiol.2006; 19(6): 329-35.
Rollinger, J. M., "Taspine: bioactivity-guided isolation and molecular ligand-target insight of a potent acetylcholinesterase inhibitor from Magnolia x soulangiana." J. Nat. Prod. 2006 Sep; 69(9): 1341-6.
Dong, Y., et al. “Enhancement of wound healing by taspine and its effect on fibroblast.”Zhong. Yao. Cai. 2005; 28(7): 579-82.
Dong, Y. L., et al. “Effect of taspine hydrochloride on skin wound healing in rats and its mechanism.” Zhong. Xi. Yi. Jie. He. Xue. Bao.. 2005 Sep; 3(5): 386-90.
Lopes, M. I., et al. “Mutagenic and antioxidant activities of Croton lechleri sap in biological systems.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Dec; 95(2-3): 437-45.
Jones, K. “Review of sangre de drago (Croton lechleri)--a South American tree sap in the treatment of diarrhea, inflammation, insect bites, viral infections, and wounds: traditional uses to clinical research.” J. Altern. Complement. Med. 2003 Dec; 9(6): 877-96.
Desmarchelier, C., et al. “Effects of sangre de drago from Croton lechleri Muell.-Arg. on the production of active oxygen radicals.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1997; 58: 103–8.
Phillipson, J. D. “A matter of some sensitivity.” Phytochemistry. 1995 Apr; 38(6): 1319-43.
Chen, Z. P., et al. “Studies on the anti-tumour, anti-bacterial, and wound-healing properties of dragon’s blood.” Planta Med. 1994; 60(6): 541–45.
Porras-Reyes, B. H., et al. “Enhancement of wound healing by the alkaloid taspine defining mechanism of action.” Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 1993; 203(1): 18–25.
Vaisberg, A. J., et al. “Taspine is the cicatrizant principle in sangre de grado extracted from Croton lechleri.” Planta Med. 1989; 55(2): 140–43.
Macrae, W. D., et al. “Studies on the pharmacological activity of Amazonian Euphorbiaceae.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1988; 22(2): 143–72.

Pain-relieving & Anti-inflammatory Actions:
Xiangming, L., et al. “Effects of dragon's blood resin and its component loureirin B on tetrodotoxin-sensitive voltage-gated sodium currents in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons.” Sci. China C. Life Sci. 2004 Aug; 47(4): 340-8.
Tsacheva, I., et al. “Complement inhibiting properties of dragon's blood from Croton draco. ”Z. Naturforsch. 2004; 59(7-8): 528-32.
Jones, K. “Review of sangre de drago (Croton lechleri)--a South American tree sap in the treatment of diarrhea, inflammation, insect bites, viral infections, and wounds: traditional uses to clinical research.” J. Altern. Complement. Med. 2003 Dec; 9(6): 877-96.
Risco, E., et al. “Immunomodulatory activity and chemical characterisation of sangre de drago (dragon's blood) from Croton lechleri.” Planta Med. 2003; 69(9): 785-94.
Miller, M. J., et al. “Inhibition of neurogenic inflammation by the Amazonian herbal medicine sangre de grado.” J. Invest. Dermatol. 2001; 117(3): 725–30.
Perdue, G. P., et al. “South American plants II: Taspine isolation and anti-inflammatory activity.” J. Pharm. Sci. 1979; 68(1): 124–26.

Antimicrobial Actions:
Gurgel, L. A., et al. “In vitro antifungal activity of dragon's blood from Croton urucuranaagainst dermatophytes.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005; 97(2): 409-12.
Williams, J. E. “Review of antiviral and immunomodulating properties of plants of the Peruvian rainforest with a particular emphasis on Una de Gato and Sangre de Grado.”Altern. Med. Rev. 2001; 6(6): 567–79.
Sidwell R., et al. “Influenza virus-inhibitory effects of intraperitoneally and aerosol-administered SP-303, a plant flavonoid.” Chemotherapy. 1994; 40(1): 42–50.
Chen, Z. P., et al. “Studies on the anti-tumour, anti-bacterial, and wound-healing properties of dragon’s blood.” Planta Med. 1994; 60(6): 541–45.
Rao, G. S., et al. “Antimicrobial agents from higher plants. Dragon's blood resin.”J. Nat. Prod. 1982 Sep-Oct; 45(5): 646-8.

Anti-ulcer & Anti-diarrhea Actions:
Tran, C. D., et al. "The role of Amazonian herbal medicine Sangre de Grado inHelicobacter pylori infection and its association with metallothionein expression."Helicobacter. 2006 Apr; 11(2): 134-5.
Paula, A. C., et al. "The gastroprotective effect of the essential oil of Croton cajucara is different in normal rats than in malnourished rats." Br. J. Nutr. 2006 Aug; 96(2): 310-5.
Fischer, H., et al. “A novel extract SB-300 from the stem bark latex of Croton lechleriinhibits CFTR-mediated chloride secretion in human colonic epithelial cells.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2004; 93(2-3): 351-7.
Jones, K. “Review of sangre de drago (Croton lechleri)--a South American tree sap in the treatment of diarrhea, inflammation, insect bites, viral infections, and wounds: traditional uses to clinical research.” J. Altern. Complement. Med. 2003 Dec; 9(6): 877-96.
Miller, M. J., et al. “Treatment of gastric ulcers and diarrhea with the Amazonian herbal medicine sangre de grado.” Am. J. Physiol. Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. 2000; 42: G192–200.
Gabriel, S. E., et al. “A novel plant-derived inhibitor of cAMP-mediated fluid and chloride secretion.” Am. J. Physiol. 1999 Jan; 276(1 Pt 1): G58-63.

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