Last year, we visited a Quichwa family in the Amazon rainforest.  We needed a guide as “everything here is built to kill you”  One bite from a bullet ant (everywhere) would cause pain so severe it left its victim screaming in pain for 2 days–with no remedy. So, we found the son of a Shaman named Caesar who showed us the same plants his father showed him as a boy.  Leaves tasting like garlic and cinnamon were sampled as well as extremely potent wild ginger.   He took out a knife and slashed a tree —blood red sap flowed slowly out.  “This is the dragon’s blood” he smiled (Croton lechleri).  It’s an anesthetic used for any cut occurring in the jungle. He rubbed it into a white froth and encouraged us to taste it, we did, rather flavorless.

Hallucinogenic like ahauasca are not uncommon in the jungle,  but dragon’s blood didn’t seem to have any side effects.  That night, in a dream, I had a face to face conversation with my father who had passed on 2 years prior in a dream.  Was it the dragon’s blood?  Hard to tell so I did some research on it.

ORAC ( Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is the score given to all antioxidants based on how the antioxidant reacts to free radicals in a test tube.  Kale? = 1,770 /100 grams, an apples? = 2,828, Cloves, Sumac Bran and Cinnamon are at near the top at 320,000 units.   The highest antioxidant on the planet?  You guessed it, Dragon Blood Tree Sap coming in at  2,897, 110.

Many athletes supplement with antioxidants in the belief this will reduce muscle damage, immune dysfunction and fatigue, and  this will improve performance, while some evidence suggests it impairs training adaptations. 

Interestingly, the jury is out on whether most antioxidants are effective in performance sports.  (With the exception of Reservatrol (in rat studies) and possibly CoQ10 found in the following article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2315638/)

 

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