Imagine there existed a natural substance studied in recent times, yet used for centuries, that had the power to turn up and empower tumor suppressing genes. No need to imagine! The Croton Lechleri plant has been shown in clinical trials to do just that. It produces a very interesting sap that goes by the names Sangre de Drago, Chinese Dragons Blood or Yunnan Dragons Blood. Its named so because of its deep rich red color.
This Sap can be used internally and externally for various applications. It really is quite versatile and has been studied to be effective in many areas. The research on its safety seems sound and add to this the fact that its use goes back centuries as a safe and effective application. Amidst the research are promising studies in connection to Cancer.
Genes that Suppress Tumors
Our bodies have an amazing capability to suppress cell mutation but sometimes amidst various forces it is unable to be successful. This can result in malignant tumors. Genes have the ability to effect change on cells. Sometimes it’s the delicate, yet complicated, interplay between these genes that is crucial.
One gene in particular called P53 is so powerful in its anti-tumor activity that it is called the “tumor suppressor gene”. Studies are showing that it is more of a key player in preventing Cancer than once thought. It plays a role in genomic stability, apoptosis and angiogenesis. This means that the gene helps to repair damaged DNA before it mutates, kills cells that are irreparable before they turn malignant and inhibits new blood vessel formation that feed cancer. (1)
If we have P53 going to battle for us we will be in much better shape navigating through the many uncontrollable variables we face today that have potential to create cancer. We can circumvent cancer treatments by preventing the condition in the first place simply by empowering our own internal arsenal.
Yet, this gene can be damaged and if it is its tumor suppression ability is severely reduced. This damage may come by way of chemicals, radiation or viruses. (1)(2)(4) Interestingly, more than 50% of human tumors contain a mutation or deletion of the P53 gene. (2) Yet, rather than increasing the amount of P53, which causes premature aging, it’s better to restore the existing genes themselves. (3) Research has shown that this restoration can lead to regression of certain cancer cells without damaging other cells. This means that reactivation of P53 is a viable cancer treatment option. (1)
Dragon’s Blood Role
Studies show that lower doses of botanicals carrying phytochemicals and other compounds are a viable alternative to high doses of cytotoxic drugs for cancer therapy. Natural products have the ability to act through multiple cell signaling pathways and reduce the development of resistance by cancer cells. In particular, plant antioxidants have been studied for their cancer preventive abilities. Antioxidants are a type of complex compound that acts as a protective shield for our body against certain diseases by eventually modulating the activity of genes through a multi-step process.
Dragon’s blood contains potent antioxidants that act as cancer chemo-preventive agents. It is seen that these antioxidants, as well as in other Croton species, have the ability to ultimately alter the cell cycle by keeping the integrity of important compounds and genes intact. (5)(6) This would be good news if only as a preventive but the studies are actually showing that the compound can reverse cancer in a number of the cases that have had funding to be researched.
Studies have been done on specific types of cancer and their reaction to the Croton species, even specifically Croton Lechleri. The results are promising. (7)(8)(9)(10) No doubt much more research needs to be done and many are hopeful to find even more good news for remedies out of the rainforest.
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