duminică, 24 aprilie 2011

A Tree That Bleeds Red Sap: The Dragon’s Blood Tree

The Dragon’s Blood tree (Dracaena Cinnabari) is a rare type of tree originating in Socotra archipelago, a small group of four islands in the Indian Ocean. Also known as the “Galápagos of the Indian Ocean,” the group of islands is host to a number of fascinating species.

Found in many surrounding areas, including mainland Yemen, the tree contains a marvelously red resin called Dragon’s Blood, which has been used for a variety of purposes throughout history. Starting in the first century AD, Dragon’s Blood was used as a dye and medicine to treat respiratory and gastrointestinal problems. Image Source: Stefan Geens (cc)

Later uses include a blood coagulant and treatments for diarrhea, fever, dysentery, ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach, as well as an antiviral for respiratory viruses. Image Source: The Wren Design

Dragon’s Blood also has a history in ritual magic and alchemy. Apparently Dragon’s Blood can increase the potency of neopagan witchcraft spells for protection, love, banishing, and sexuality

Often touted as “red rock opium,” the resin is often sold as a narcotic, although its effects are mild at best when smoked. Image Source: Stefan Geens (cc)

The bizarre shape of the blood tree helps it survive arid conditions and areas with limited soil. The shading helps the seedlings survive in the harsh environment.