"Dragon's Blood" May Slay Ulcers, Clots

A woman passes under a Dragon's-blood tree, a member of the Dracaenaceae family, in Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens, 13 May 2005. Greg Wood/AFP/Getty

Heads up, Lancelot: A traditional Chinese medicine called dragon's blood may fight ulcer bacteria and blood clots.

So say scientists in Shanghai, China.

They describe dragon's blood as a "dark red resinous substance derived from various plants" that has long been used in Chinese medicine to treat conditions including ulcers and wounds.

The researchers reaped, dried, and pulverized stems from two dragon's blood plants to brew their own dragon's blood extract.

The scientists discovered eight new flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) and found 14 known compounds in the dragon's blood extract.

Next, the researchers pitted the dragon's blood compounds in test tubes against two foes: ulcer-causing H. pylori bacteria and thrombin, a blood-clotting agent.

Two of the newly discovered flavonoids and one of the known compounds stood out for their ability to counter H. pylori.

Eight flavonoids - including seven of the newly discovered flavonoids - showed "moderate" anticlotting powers, write the researchers.

They included Yingdong Zhu of the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Their study, published in the Journal of Natural Products, didn't include any tests on people or animals.
By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
©2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved

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