Dragon’s blood is a bright red resin that is obtained from different species of a number of distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang and Pterocarpus. The red resin has been in continuous use since ancient times as varnish, medicine, incense, and dye.
Dragon’s blood(Daemomorops draco) crushed incense and ground apothecary’s or pigment grade. Photo: Andy DingleyDragon’s blood resin is also produced from the rattan palms of the genus Daemonorops of the Indonesian islands and known there as jerang or djerang. It is gathered by breaking off the layer of red resin encasing the unripe fruit of the rattan. The collected resin is then rolled into solid balls before being sold.
The dragon’s blood known to the ancient Romans was mostly collected from D. cinnabari, and is mentioned in the 1st century Periplus (30: 10. 17) as one of the products of Socotra. Socotra had been an important trading centre since at least the time of the Ptolemies. Dragon’s blood was used as a dye, painting pigment, and medicine (respiratory and gastrointestinal problems) in the Mediterranean basin, and was held by early Greeks, Romans, and Arabs to have medicinal properties. Dioscorides and other early Greek writers described its medicinal uses.
Locals of Moomy city on Socotra island use the Dracaena resin as a sort of cure-all, using it for such things as general wound healing, a coagulant (though this is ill-advised with commercial products, as the Daemonorops species acts as an anti-coagulant and it is usually unknown what species the dragon’s blood came from), curing diarrhea, lowering fevers, dysentery diseases, taken internally for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach, as well as an antiviral for respiratory viruses, stomach viruses and for skin disorders such as eczema.
When applied topically, the sap dries quickly to form a barrier, much like a second skin. This protective shield helps regenerate the skin and prevents further damage with its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antioxidant qualities. Defending the skin against oxidative free radicals, it may ward off genetic alteration within the DNA of the skin cells. It also has exceptional anti-inflammatory properties that have shown to stimulate human skin fibroblasts, which ultimately helps to heal the skin when marred by acne or injury. It is ideal for sensitive or stressed skin to plump out fine lines and protect from the elements whilst hydrating the deepest layers of the skin and reduce redness.
Dragon’s blood contains phytochemicals including proanthocyanidins (antioxidants), diterpenes, phytosterols, and simple phenols. Alkaloids apsine and a lignan named dimethylcedrusine. which actually repair collagen, the lattice-like main protein that makes up much of our tissues. Additionally, Dragon’s blood contains taspine, a known tissue-healing agent it has been documented to have anti-inflammatory and wound-healing actions, and when combined with the proanthocyanidins, also shows anti-viral activities.
Though each component plays a beneficial role, it is the combination of elements within dragon’s blood that makes it so special. In a Belgian lab test on rats, dimethylcedrusine, pycnogenol, and tapsine all were shown to effectively heal skin lesions. But the crude resin of dragon’s blood was shown to speed healing four times faster (or 10-20 times faster than using nothing at all). Unlike its isolated chemicals, dragon’s blood was able to stimulate the contraction of wounds, help in the formation of a scab at the wound site, regenerate skin more rapidly, and assist in the formation of new collagen.
In 2007, researchers in China identified eight new flavonoids and 14 known compounds in dragon’s blood extract. After pitting the dragon’s blood compounds in test tubes against ulcer-causing H. pylori bacertia and thromin (a blood-clotting agent), the scientists discovered that many of the compounds were successful at combatting these bacteria. Once additional experiments lab experiments verify these findings, dragon’s blood may eventually be prescribed to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Today, practitioners are reporting that preparations made with dragon’s blood have shown to be beneficial for stomach ulcers, ulverative colitis, and Crohn’s disease when taken internally. In the Amazon it is used in primary first aid.
Photo: Maša Sinreih in Valentina Vivodhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21073937