Dragon’s Blood (Croton lechleri)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Deryk
Posted on: March 18, 2004

Is it possible to obtain this plant called Croton lechleri? It orginates in South America, throughout the Amazon. Its common name is Dragon’s Blood.

Sorry, we do not have this herb. I inquired with our consulting herbalist, Susan Eagles, who is working in Brazil at the moment, for information on it. Here is what she had to say about a Brazilian Croton species she has worked with:

"We used Croton urucurana (Dragon’s Blood) last year at Iracambi [a rainforest community in Minas Gerais, Brazil]. We heated the bark in oil to give a beautiful and fragrant red oil, which we used externally on wounds, with good effect. The locals there used a bark and leaf oil for healing wounds. We don’t have the tree here [in Bahia, Brazil].

"My information from Iracambi says that the fresh bark is used as a decoction, the leaves heated in oil. The key constituents are taspine (healing), acetyl aleuritolic acid (antibacterial), proanthocyananidin oiligomer (anti-secretory), Indications: open wounds, blisters (leaves heated in oil and placed over wound), insect bites, diarrhea."

Susan goes on to say:

"Croton spp. is listed in Arvigo’s "Rainforest Remedies" (that I bought from Richters): vaginal steambath using the leaves in water, to ensure no infection and to return reproductive organs to their proper position; leaf decoction to assist healing after childbirth, to ease menstruation and for uterine problems; fresh leaves heated in oil applied to painful joints; infusion of branches with leaves as a bath and a tea for fevers and aches."

Rosita Arvigo wrote about the herbs she used in Belize, in central America. The Croton species she used is not likely to be the same as the one you are looking for, but as you can see from the use of Croton in Brazil and Belize, the external properties, at least, are similar.

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