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 this tree's (and several related species') 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. Its use by native people has led to scientific study and observation of its in vitro antioxidant activity as well as both mutagenic and antimutagenic behavior.
The latex also contains a number of chemicals, including taspine. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins, another kind of chemical contained in the latex, have been investigated for the treatment of HIV-associated diarrhea under the name crofelemer. In January 2013, crofelemer, under the trade name Mytesi, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of non-infectious diarrhea in HIV+ patients.
- "Croton lechleri". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2012-07-07.
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- "Database File for: Sangre de Grado (Croton lechleri)". Tropical Plant Database. Rainforest Database. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- Miller, Mark (2001). "Inhibition of neurogenic inflammation by the Amazonian herbal medicine sangre de grado". Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 117: 725–730. doi:10.1046/j.0022-202x.2001.01446.x. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- 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.
- Rossi, D.; Bruni, R.; Bianchi, N.; Chiarabelli, C.; Gambari, R.; Medici, A.; Lista, A.; Paganetto, G. "Evaluation of the mutagenic, antimutagenic and antiproliferative potential of Croton lechleri (Muell. Arg.) latex". Phytomedicine. 10 (2-3): 139–144. doi:10.1078/094471103321659843.
- 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 . PMID 19808995.
- "FDA approves first anti-diarrheal drug for HIV/AIDS patients". Food and Drug Administration. Dec 31, 2012.
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