Treatment of gastric ulcers and diarrhea with the Amazonian herbal medicine sangre de grado

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2000 Jul;279(1):G192-200. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.2000.279.1.G192.


Sangre de grado is an Amazonian herbal medicine used to facilitate the healing of gastric ulcers and to treat gastritis, diarrhea, skin lesions, and insect stings. This study was designed to evaluate the gastrointestinal applications. Gastric ulcers were induced in rats by brief serosal exposure of the fundus to acetic acid (80%). Sangre de grado was administered in drinking water at 1:1,000 and 1:10,000 dilutions from the postoperative period to day 7. Guinea pig ileum secretory responses to capsaicin, electrical field stimulation, and the neurokinin-1 (NK-1) agonist [Sar(9),Met(O(2))(11)]substance P were examined in Ussing chambers. Sangre de grado facilitated the healing of experimental gastric ulcer, reducing myeloperoxidase activity, ulcer size, and bacterial content of the ulcer. The expression of proinflammatory genes tumor necrosis factor-alpha, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, and cyclooxygenase-2 was upregulated by ulcer induction but reduced by sangre de grado treatment, particularly iNOS and IL-6. In Ussing chambers, sangre de grado impaired the secretory response to capsaicin but not to electrical field stimulation or the NK-1 agonist. We conclude that sangre de grado is a potent, cost-effective treatment for gastrointestinal ulcers and distress via antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and sensory afferent-dependent actions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • DNA Primers
  • Diarrhea / drug therapy*
  • Diffusion Chambers, Culture
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Ileum / drug effects
  • Ileum / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Peru
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / genetics
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1 / agonists
  • Stomach Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Substance P / analogs & derivatives
  • Substance P / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • DNA Primers
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-6
  • Isoenzymes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-1
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • substance P, Sar(9)-Met(O2)(11)-
  • Substance P
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nos2 protein, rat
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Prostaglandin-Endoperoxide Synthases
  • Capsaicin