23 April 2008
Dragon's blood" may sound like an exotic ingredient in a witch's brew or magic potion. But researchers in China are reporting that the material -- which is actually a bright red plant sap used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine -- contains chemicals that were effective in laboratory experiments in fighting bacteria that cause millions of cases of gastrointestinal disease each year.
Researchers in China have identified the active ingredients of “dragon's blood', a resin derived from the herb Xue Jie (Draconis Sanguis), which are responsible for its beneficial effects on peptic ulcers and ability to stop bleeding. Twenty-two different compounds identified from the powdered stems of the plant were tested for effects on Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), the bacterium known to cause most cases of stomach ulcers and gastritis. Two of the compounds prevented bacterial growth. In another experiment, eight other compounds from dragon's blood were found to inhibit blood clotting. The scientists note the potential of the compounds in the prevention of the blood clots responsible for strokes and heart attacks.
(Anti-Helicobacter pylori and thrombin inhibitory components from Chinese dragon's blood, Dracaena cochinchinensis. J Nat Prod. 2007 Oct;70(10):1570-7).