Croton lechleri is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, that is native to northwestern South America. It is commonly known as Sangre de Grado (Peruvian Spanish) or Sangre de Drago (Ecuadorian Spanish), both of which translate to "dragon's blood". They refer to the tree's thick red latex.
The latex has medicinal properties, and is used by local peoples as a liquid bandage, applied to seal wounds, as it dries quickly to form a protective skin-like barrier. The latex also contains a number of chemicals, including taspine, that have wound-healing properties.[medical citation needed] Its use by native people has led to scientific study and observation of its in vitro antioxidant activity as well as its mutagenicity.
Oligomeric proanthocyanidins, another kind of chemical contained in the latex, are being developed for the treatment of HIV-associated diarrhea under the name crofelemer. In January 2013, crofelemer, under the trade name Fulyzaq, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of HIV-associated diarrhea.
- "Taxon: Croton lechleri Müll. Arg.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 1999-08-30. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- "Database File for: Sangre de Grado (Croton lechleri)". Tropical Plant Database. Rainforest Database. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- Lopes, M. I. L. E.; Saffi, J.; Echeverrigaray, S. R.; Henriques, J. O. A. P. G.; Salvador, M. (December 2004). "Mutagenic and antioxidant activities of Croton lechleri sap in biological systems". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 95 (2–3): 437–445. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.08.025. PMID 15507372.
- Tradtrantip, L.; Namkung, W.; Verkman, A. S. (2009). "Crofelemer, an Antisecretory Antidiarrheal Proanthocyanidin Oligomer Extracted from Croton lechleri, Targets Two Distinct Intestinal Chloride Channels". Molecular Pharmacology 77 (1): 69–78. doi:10.1124/mol.109.061051. PMC 2802429. PMID 19808995.
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