What is Dragon’s Blood? We all know dragons do not exist (anymore), so what is Dragon’s Blood and what is it’s history?
The original Dragon Tree is an iconic succulent tree where it lives only on the island of Socotra in Yemen. It lives in the Dragon’s Blood Forest on limestone plateaus and granite mountains. This tree is known as the Socotra Dragon’s Blood Tree and can only be found in one location in the world. On this island the monsoon season brings clouds, drizzle and sea mists. The leaves of this tree intercept this airborne moisture and channel it to its root systems which are shaded by dense umbrella canopies. It has adapted to its environment quite well. Local people have used the products of this tree for centuries. They use the berries as food for livestock in very small quantities to improve their health, however, giving too much can cause sickness.
There are other species of Dragon’s Blood that can be harvested such as Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus Rotang, and Pterocarpus. Today the similar trees can be grown under optimal conditions and are mostly used ornamentally.
These tree is best known for its red resin which they call emzoloh and is also used medicinally. The ancients referred to this resin as cinnabar and was traded before 60AD. The berries are large like a cherry and they are pointed. When they ripen they are covered with a reddish resin which is separated by steaming, shaking or rubbing. With the powder, a common use besides incense or dye would be to write your lovers name on a tiny piece of paper, your own name on top, sprinkle it with Dragon’s Blood, fold it, then throw it into a fire while saying a prayer. In traditions of folk magic, one would grind the powder until it turns into oil and apply to the pulse points of your wrist to strengthen the power of your ritual. In traditional medicine, Dragon’s Blood can be used for a wound healer or blood blocker.
Dragon’s Blood as we know it is the name from this resin. The sap is bright red and looks a great deal like blood. It is known for its strength against negativity and its ability to amplify your magical workings. Dragon’s Blood has a musty, deep with a lightly sweet scent unlike anything else. Dragon’s Blood honors the element of Fire, the direction of the South and the Spirit of the Dragon. In India it was used as a face paint, red varnish for wood furniture and decorative paper dye. In Voodoo and folk magic it is used for attracting money or love and most often used to cleanse space and cast negative energy away. It is commonly added to ink to make Dragon’s Blood Ink which is used to inscribe talismans and magical seals.
A famous legend states that the first Dragon Blood Tree was grown from the blood of a dragon that was wounded by an elephant during a battle. Another legend is that the Dragon Blood Tree is about an ancient dragon, Ladon. He had 100 heads and many voices. When the Queen of the Gods and the Mother of Mars, Juno, married, her mother, Gaia gave her three golden apples and ordered Ladon to guard them in the Garden of Hesperides. When Hercules was ordered to steal these apples and killed Ladon, from his blood grew the Dragon Blood Tree.
Dragon’s blood continues to be used in medicine, dyes, varnish and incense to this day.