The total reactive antioxidant potential (TRAP) of 'Sangre de Drago' from Croton lechleri (Euphorbiaceae) was determined by monitoring the intensity of luminol enhanced chemiluminescence enhanced by peroxyl radicals derived from thermolysis of 2,2'-azo-bis(2-amidinopropane). The TRAP index was calculated as 935.4 +/- 141 microM, measured as equivalents of Trolox concentration. On the other hand, the additive incorporation of lower concentrations yielded an instantaneous increase in chemiluminescence, suggesting a prooxidant activity at these levels. DNA sugar damage induced by Fe(II) salts was also used to determine the capacity of the latex to suppress hydroxyl radical-mediated degradation of DNA. As in the case of luminol enhanced chemiluminescence, Sangre de Drago was highly effective in reducing oxidation of DNA at higher concentrations, but showed an increase in the production of TBARS at lower doses, as compared to the control. Finally, antioxidant activity was tested using hydroperoxide-initiated chemiluminescence in rat liver homogenates, and the latex showed an increase in light emission, suggesting the presence of prooxidant compounds.