Dragons Blood Sangre De Drago (Peru)

Croton lechleri

DragonsBlood
Latex of Sangre de drago. Photo ©2009 Michael Powers

by Dr. Katherine Gaston

Dragons blood is a medicinal tree found in the Amazonian regions of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It’s name describes the rich, red sap of the tree.

 Uses:  Topically to skin: to heal wounds, cuts, scrapes, insect bites, bacterial infections of the skin, viral infections of the skin, rashes, fungal infections, herpes, hemorrhoids, skin cancer, vaginitis, it is used as a vaginal bath prior to childbirth, toothaches, laryngitis, to stop bleeding    Internally: stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, dysentery, diarrhea, to decrease internal bleeding.

Non-medicinal uses:  Dye for fabric

Dragon's Blood Drop. Photo by Zoe Helene © 2010
Dragon’s Blood Drop. Photo by Zoe Helene © 2010

Parts used:  Resin/sap

Preparations used The resin is taken internally undiluted or applied topically to the skin. When applied topically, the resin forms a white coating on the skin forming a protective barrier. Tincture of the resin is also used internally and topically.

Dosage:  Topical: 5-10 drops to affected area/ tincture: 30 drops in water orally

Research and constituents:  There is ongoing research being conducted into elucidating the active constituents  and  medicinal usefulness of Dragons Blood. Some compounds, named SP-303 and NP-303 derived from the latex of the sap, have been shown to be medicinal. Some early phase clinical trials have demonstrated a medicine containing SP-303 to be effective in treating herpes infection in HIV-infected patients. Other trials have shown that the constituents of Dragon’s blood may be effective in treating Respiratory Syncytial Virus and Diarrhea.

Conservation Issues:  Using Dragon’s blood as a medicine on a large scale may lead to deforestation of the tree, as more sap can be harvested if the tree is completely removed rather than tapped. Tapping the tree often leads to the trees death. Some have examined reforesting ratios and it is thought that planting 3-5 trees for each harvested is the ideal ratio to prevent over harvesting and loss of this tree. It grows quickly and nourishes the soil in deforested areas and is therefore a good choice for reforestation projects.

Spiritual and energetic uses:  Dragons blood resin is used as an incense to energetically cleanse a space.

References:

  1. http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue92/HerbPro.html?ts=1422660952&signature=7e804be2ca4498f7270069e058e61867
  2. http://www.rain-tree.com/sangre.htm#.VMwU-2TF9K4
  3. Duke JA, Vasquez R. Amazonian Ethnobotanical Dictionary. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1994
  4. http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue84/article3463.html
  5. Phytother Res. 2001 Jun;15(4):319-22
  6. https://www.herb-pharm.com/products/product-detail/dragons-blood-sangre-de-drago