The genus Croton contains the species Croton lecheri which is medically important to many indigenous people of South America. The sap is used in traditional South American medicine, both internally and externally, to treat a variety of ailments including: cancer, flesh wounds, fractures, hemorrhoids, intestinal fevers, inflamed or infect gums, as an anti-viral for respiratory and stomach viruses, HIV, in vaginal baths before and after childbirth, as a vaginal douche, for hemorrhaging after childbirth, for skin disorders, and for mouth, throat, intestinal and stomach ulcers. Much scientific investigation into the efficacy of C. lecheri sap was done from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s and pharmaceutical patents have since been taken out on related and derivative products. It has been scientifically confirmed to increase the healing rate of skin wounds in rats due to active ingredients such as taspine. It is also an antioxidant and has been shown to have inhibitory effects on the growth of gastrointestinal cancer and anti-mutagenic effects on a myelogenous leukemia cell line in test tubes.
Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net
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Leslie Taylor. 2005. "The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs: A Guide to Understanding and Using Herbal Medicinals." Square One Publishers.