Scientific names: Croton lechleri

Common names: Dragon's blood also is known as sangre de grado, sangre de drago, and drago.



Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

Sangre de grado, Spanish for “blood of the dragon,” has a long history of use for both the bark and the resin. An early reference dating back to the 1600s notes that Spanish explorer P. Bernabe Cobo found the sap was being used by indigenous tribes throughout Peru and Ecuador. C. lechleri resin and bark are used in traditional medicine in South America. They used it internally and externally to stop bleeding, help heal wounds, and treat intestinal problems. Studies regarding this plant date back to the late 1970s. Preparations made from dragon's blood are found in several pharmaceutical products, some of them patented.


Dragon's blood has been used for its antiviral and wound-healing effects. Taspine, a component of dragon's blood, has been documented to have anti-inflammatory and wound-healing actions. Taspine and a proanthocyanidin component also have been shown to have antiviral activities. Animal and laboratory tests have shown some promise for the use of dragon's blood for these medicinal effects. To date, there are no human clinical studies verifying these effects.

GI effects

Dragon's blood also plays a role in GI health. Practitioners are reporting it beneficial for stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease when taken internally. Preparations made from dragon's blood are found in several pharmaceutical products, some of them patented. A patent describing use of the proanthocyanidin polymer from croton species (SP-303) as an antidiarrheal was issued to Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc. USA. A clinical trial of the principal ingredient (SP-303) in patients with HIV-associated diarrhea demonstrated beneficial effects. This important “rainforest resource” has several uses that have been validated by several studies.

Blood of the dragon (Croton lechleri) is a liquid sourced from a tree found throughout South America. Sometimes referred to as dragon's blood or sangre de drago, blood of the dragon bears a dark red color.

Long used in South American herbal medicine, blood of the dragon has been found to offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in a number of studies. Widely available in dietary supplement form (including liquid extracts and capsules), blood of the dragon is also used as an ingredient in skin-care products.

More Uses for Blood of the Dragon

In alternative medicine, blood of the dragon is sometimes touted as a natural remedy for the following conditions:

diarrhea, fever, inflammation, ulcers, wound healing

In addition, blood of the dragon is said to prevent cancer and fight off viruses. When applied topically, blood of the dragon is purported to moisturize the skin, alleviate symptoms of eczema, and promote wound healing.

Benefits of Blood of the Dragon

Although research on the health effects of blood of the dragon is limited, there's some evidence that it may offer certain benefits. Here's a look at several key findings from the available studies:

1) Diarrhea

Blood of the dragon may aid in the treatment of traveler's diarrhea, according to a 2002 study from the American Journal of Gastroenterology. For the study, 184 U.S. residents who acquired diarrhea while traveling in Jamaica or Mexico were assigned to two days of treatment with a placebo or with a product containing blood of the dragon.