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Plants (Basel). 2018 Oct 26;7(4). pii: E91. doi: 10.3390/plants7040091.

Ethnobotanical Survey of Dracaena cinnabari and Investigation of the Pharmacognostical Properties, Antifungal and Antioxidant Activity of Its Resin.

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Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Aden University, P.O. Box 5411, Maalla, Aden, Yemen.


Dracaena cinnabari Balf. f. (Dracaenaceae) is an important plant endemic to Soqotra Island, Yemen. Dragon's blood (Dam Alakhwin) is the resin that exudes from the plant stem. The ethnobotanical survey was carried out by semi-structured questionnaires and open interviews to document the ethnobotanical data of the plant. According to the collected ethnobotanical data, the resin of D. cinnabari is widely used in the traditional folk medicine in Soqotra for treatment of dermal, dental, eye and gastrointestinal diseases in humans. The resin samples found on the local Yemeni markets were partly or totally substituted by different adulterants. Organoleptic properties, solubility and extractive value were demonstrated as preliminary methods to identify the authentic pure Soqotri resin as well as the adulterants. In addition, the resin extracts and its solution in methanol were investigated for their in vitro antifungal activities against six human pathogenic fungal strains by the agar diffusion method, for antioxidant activities using the DPPH assay and for cytotoxic activity using the neutral red uptake assay. The crude authentic resin dissolves completely in methanol. In comparison with different resin extracts, the methanolic solution of the whole resin showed the strongest biological activities. It showed strong antifungal activity, especially against Microsporum gypseum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes besides antioxidant activities and toxicity against FL-cells. These findings confirm and explain the traditional uses of the resin for the treatment of skin diseases and mouth fungal infections.


Dracaena cinnabari; Soqotra; antifungal; antioxidant; ethnobotany; extractive value; organoleptic; resin

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