VCOM Research Day Program Book 2023

Undergraduate Student Research Biomedical

07 Analyzing Hemostatic Properties of the Naturally-Occurring Resin, Dragon’s Blood

Dragon’s Blood is a sap derived from four different genera of trees found in South America, Africa, and Asia, specifically Croton , Dracaena , Daemonorops , and Pterocarpus . The sap has been used by indigenous peoples for centuries to treat a wide variety of diseases. Dragon’s Blood is currently marketed in many countries as a liquid, capsules, incense, and candles. These products are sold as treatments for diarrhea, neurologic disease (neuralgia, neuropathy), cancer, diabetes, inflamed or receding gums, dry skin, wounds as well as for digestive support, cardiovascular antioxidant, anti inflammatory, relaxation, anti-wrinkle cream, wound healing, and spiritual rituals. A reported use for Dragon’s blood is in wound healing. Anecdotal observation from an external Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine- Virginia Campus Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA Thomas Coffey; James C. Wilkes; James E. Mahaney; Teresa R. Johnson Corresponding author:

collaborator was that sap applied to an “oozing scrape” stopped the bleeding of the wound. We therefore hypothesize that Dragon’s blood may contain components with hemostatic properties. Addition of the resin to human or bovine plasma induced apparent clot formation in a dose-dependent manner. However, in work on projects in the lab examining antimicrobial activities of Dragon’s blood, it was observed that flocculent aggregates were formed when the resin was added to eukaryotic cell media containing 10% heat-inactivated fetal bovine serum and to bacterial broth. These observations led us to consider the possibility that the cessation of bleeding observed by our collaborator may have been due protein aggregation rather than activation of direct activation of hemostatic cascades in the blood. To determine this, we will evaluate the

generation of by-products of clot formation such as D-dimer formation as direct evidence of activation of hemostatic biochemical pathways in human plasma. Initial experiments will be performed using whole sap. However, to identify the individual active components, the resin will be fractionated, and the fractions will be screened for the desired activity.

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