DRAGON’S BLOOD: HEALTH APPLICATIONS OF THE NATURAL PLANT RESIN
For centuries, people have utilized dragon's blood, a naturally occurring plant resin, for a variety of reasons. Several tropical tree species, collectively referred to as dragon trees, are used to harvest the resin. These could belong to the plant groups Daemonorops, Dracaena, Pterocarpus, or Croton. Dragon’s blood has a dark red color and seems to look like blood when it seeps from the side of dragon trees, which is part of what gives it its name. Unfortunately, these lovely trees are an endangered species, with more of them dying off every year in protected regions of the world.
In this article, we will explore what dragon’s blood is, what it has been used for traditionally through history and in which cultures, its medicinal properties and benefits proven by science, how it is used in skincare, oral care, and other uses, what forms it is available in, and the side effects and risks of using it.
What is Dragon’s Blood Used for?
Dragon's blood has long been used for a variety of purposes, including paint and medicine. Its use by the ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as those in South America, medieval Europe, India, China, and the Middle East, is documented.
In China, dragon’s blood from Dracaena cambodiana was first discovered and used in the 16th century and was utilized for dyeing, painting, and medicine. It was also traded with other countries, such as India, Japan, and Europe. Yet its origins are much older, forming part of spiritual myths and legends in India and Yemen. Some legends claim that the trees grew from the blood of an elephant and dragon that fought together.
While most of its uses have been medicinal, it is also used as a dye, paint, wood lacquer, and breath freshener, and by cultures all over the world as part of spiritual ceremonies and rituals. It has a strong, somewhat sweet fragrance, not unlike vanilla and spices.
There are many cultivars of the dragon’s blood tree, with the Dracaena and Daemonorops genus being the most common and widely used today. Dracaena arborea is often kept as a house plant that secretly harbors medicinal properties unbeknownst to the owners.
Is dragon’s blood worth the hype? Let us take a look at some of the research-supported benefits of this health-boosting plant resin.
Dragon’s Blood Benefits and Properties
Dragon's blood has advanced from modest folk healing customs to become a popular health supplement. The following are some of the benefits and properties of this plant resin:
- Wound healing: Studies show that dragon’s blood can substantially speed up wound healing by reducing inflammation, promoting tissue regeneration, and preventing infection. Not surprisingly, dragon’s blood resin has been used to successfully treat several types of ulcers, such as pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, and oral ulcers. It may also help with other skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
- Antimicrobial: Dragon's blood has the potential to offer protection against or even kill pathogens, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It may also soothe diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera. These dragon’s blood properties are currently ascribed to the phenolic compounds inside the resin, such as taspine, proanthocyanidins, and catechin.
- Anti-inflammatory: Dragon’s blood may have anti-inflammatory effects that can help with various inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and gastritis. Constituents in dragon’s blood have been shown to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, such as TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and COX-2.
- Antioxidant: Dragon’s blood may have antioxidant effects that can help protect the body from oxidative stress and free radical damage. Oxidative stress is linked to many chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disorders. Dragon’s blood may scavenge free radicals and modulate the activity of antioxidant enzymes, such as catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase.
- Hormone Regulation: Some of the compounds in dragon’s blood have hormonal effects, such as increasing thyroid hormone levels in rats with hypothyroidism and inhibiting aromatase and the conversion of androgen to estrogen in breast cancer cells. Other preliminary results indicate that it may pose estrogenic effects, yet it is not certain whether these are beneficial or harmful.
- Anticancer: In vitro studies have revealed that dragon’s blood has several anticancer effects. It may be capable of inhibiting the growth, invasion, and metastasis of various types of cancer cells, such as breast, colon, lung, prostate, and skin cancer. In addition, dragon’s blood may induce apoptosis (programmed cell death), arrest the cell cycle, and suppress the expression of genes and proteins involved in tumor development.
Other benefits of dragon’s blood have been documented for the treatment and prevention of dental ailments, hypothyroidism, female reproductive disorders, and conditions like uterine fibroids, hemorrhoids, ear infections, radioactive injuries, and recovery from stroke. It might make an excellent natural painkiller and treatment for neuropathic pain, yet this remains to be proven in human trials alongside many of its other traditional uses and anecdotal benefits.
Dragon’s Blood Uses and Forms
Dragon’s blood extract is a product that contains the red resin from various dragon tree plants, such as the genus Dracaena, Daemonorops, Croton, and Pterocarpus. It can be used for various purposes, depending on the form and dosage.
Here are some of the common uses and forms of dragon’s blood:
- Dragon’s Blood Skincare: Dragon’s blood can be used for skincare to improve the appearance and health of the skin. It can help with skin issues, such as wrinkles, sagging, scars, spots, and blemishes. Other skincare benefits of dragon’s blood include lowering inflammation and skin redness, moisturizing and nourishing the skin, and protecting it from environmental damage, including UV and other forms of radiation. Dragon’s blood can be applied topically as a cream, gel, serum, mask, lip product, or spray. It is also used in some hair care products, such as shampoo and conditioner, to add volume and shine to the hair.
- Oral care: Dragon’s blood can be used for oral care to improve the health of the mouth, teeth, and gums. It has a long history of treating oral problems from gingivitis to tooth decay and even hides bad breath. People are making use of dragon’s blood “tooth soap” (a liquid form) to strengthen their enamel, prevent plaque formation, and heal mouth ulcers. Dragon’s blood can be found in natural oral hygiene products such as mouthwash or toothpaste or added separately as a powder or liquid to enhance their oral benefits.
- Dragon’s blood extract as a Health Supplement: Taken internally, dragon’s blood can be used as a supplement to support the overall health and well-being of the body. It is not certain how effective it is as a supplement, yet many have vouched for its ability to protect against excess inflammation, infection, ulcers, diarrhea, and cancer. Dragon’s blood may also be good for boosting immunity, circulation, and digestive health. It can be taken internally as a capsule, tablet, liquid, or tincture.
- Incense: Dragon’s blood is occasionally used as incense to create a pleasant aroma and a positive atmosphere. Some enjoy it from a spiritual and psychological perspective, claiming that dragon’s blood incense benefits extend to enhancing meditation, relaxation, concentration, and mood. Dragon’s blood can be burned as a resin, powder, or stick.
Dragon’s Blood Dosage
Dragon's blood dosage is based on a number of variables, including the user's age, health, and the type and intent of use. The available scientific data is insufficient to establish a suitable range of dosages for dragon's blood. Many studies have used exceedingly high quantities to prove the benefits, yet enough evidence is lacking to understand how much is needed for it to be the most effective.
Most suppliers of dragon’s blood products offer directions on the label that have worked anecdotally for individuals. As a general rule, it is best to opt for products with clear instructions. If you want to use higher amounts, it is important to be aware that dragon’s blood is an endangered species in many parts of the world and that, despite its relative safety, there are several possible side effects (see below).
Some general guidelines include:
- For wound healing, apply a thin layer of dragon’s blood cream or gel to the affected area once or twice a day.
- For diarrhea, take 125 to 500 mg of dragon’s blood capsule or tablet daily.
- For oral care, rinse the mouth with 5-10 ml of dragon’s blood mouthwash twice a day or brush the teeth with dragon’s blood toothpaste twice a day.
- For supplementation, take 1 to 2 ml of dragon’s blood liquid or tincture three times a day or follow the instructions on the product label.
Side Effects and Safety Considerations
Dragon’s blood is generally considered safe when used as directed. Most studies have failed to show toxic effects, as of yet, even when dragon’s blood is used in very high quantities. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to use it in high amounts.
Possible side effects include:
- Allergic reactions, such as itching, rash, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
- Stomach upset, including nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Bleeding or bruising, especially if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications.
- Hormonal imbalance, especially if you have a hormone-sensitive condition or take hormone medications. Some compounds may mimic the actions of 17beta-estradiol, which can increase reproductive cancer risk and cause symptoms like hot flushes.
If you experience any of these side effects, stop using dragon’s blood and consult your healthcare provider.
Dragon’s blood may also interact with some medications, herbs, or supplements, such as:
- Anticoagulants or antiplatelets - Dragon’s blood may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising.
- Antidiabetic drugs - Dragon’s blood may lower blood sugar levels and affect the dosage of these drugs.
- Antihypertensive drugs - Dragon’s blood may lower blood pressure and affect the dosage of these drugs.
- Hormone drugs - Dragon’s blood may have estrogenic or anti-estrogenic effects and interfere with the action of these drugs.
Until the safety and efficacy of dragon’s blood are proven for people on these medications or supplements, you might want to avoid taking it or consult your healthcare provider before using dragon’s blood.
Who Should Not Use Dragon’s Blood?
Dragon’s blood should be avoided by some people, such as:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women. There is not enough evidence to ensure the safety of dragon’s blood for these groups.
- People with bleeding disorders. Dragon’s blood may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising.
- People with hormone-sensitive conditions. Dragon’s blood may have estrogenic or anti-estrogenic effects and worsen these conditions. This applies to hormone-sensitive cancers despite its potential anticancer effects.
If you belong to any of these groups, do not use dragon’s blood without medical advice.
Dragon’s blood is a natural plant resin that has many health applications. It has been used medicinally for thousands of years for various purposes, not limited to wound healing, infection, ulcers, diarrhea, and improving dental health. Cultures across the world highly revered dragon’s blood as a special ingredient in religious ceremonies, dye, paint, and incense.
Science has begun to prove some of the traditional benefits ascribed to Dragon’s blood, such as its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and wound-healing effects. It is available in many different forms, such as creams, gels, serums, masks, sprays, mouthwash, toothpaste, resin, powder, capsules, tablets, liquid, or tinctures. While rare, potential side effects and risks of using dragon’s blood include allergic reactions, stomach upset, bleeding, bruising, and hormonal imbalance. It may also interact with some medications, herbs, or supplements. Therefore, it is important to consult a healthcare provider before using dragon’s blood, especially if you have any medical conditions or take any medications.
Dragon’s blood is a fascinating and versatile plant resin that may offer many potent benefits for your health and well-being. Yet it should be used sparingly, with caution and awareness, especially as it is endangered in many parts of the world today.
-  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/12/saving-dragons-blood-island-refused-let-tree-die-out-socotra-yemen
-  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26870678/
-  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30556246/
-  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32508949/
-  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12210-022-01122-4
-  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6270834/
-  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32092837/
-  https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/19/7/10650
-  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37019369/
Disclaimer: Please note that Mya Care does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided is not intended to replace the care or advice of a qualified health care professional. The views expressed are personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Mya Care. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen. Do not reproduce, copy, reformat, publish, distribute, upload, post, transmit, transfer in any manner or sell any of the materials in this blog without prior written permission from myacare.com.
For most women, hysterectomy is a significant point in their lives. Whether the surgical removal of the uterus is done for endometriosis, fibroids, or gynecological cancer, life after hysterectomy permanently changes a few aspects of your life.
Between the decades of 1910 and 1920, Dr. Ludwig Roemheld studied the phenomenon in which patients suffering from digestive problems and no detectable heart issues would experience cardiac symptoms.
Piriformis syndrome and herniated discs are painful conditions of the back. Both can cause sciatica. Sciatica is a type of pain that affects your lower back and legs. It occurs due to irritated or compressed sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve travels down the back to the legs.