The Croton lechleri tree is one of the most widely used plant-derived medicines in the western hemisphere. Red latex from Croton lechleri trees continues to be part of rural and urban traditional medicine in multiple countries, including Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
Indigenous people utilize the red latex to treat a variety of medical conditions. Its most common uses are taking small quantities of the latex orally to treat diarrhea, stomach ulcers, coughs, and flu. The red latex is also applied topically as a wound-healing agent for cuts and open sores, and for healing the gums after tooth extractions. It has been and continues to be used to treat humans as well as dogs and livestock.