What is Dragon's Blood?
Dragon's blood is a natural plant resin that originates from the sap of a family of tropical trees known as 'Dragon Trees'. Its name stems from it's rich and dark red colour.
Dracaena draco, dracaena cinnabari and dracaena cochinchinensis are just a few of the "dragon trees" that can be sources of dragon's blood extract.
Outside of the Dracaena family, Deamonorops, Pterocarpus and Croton are also sources of dragon's blood resin.
Dragon's blood has been used for a variety of purposes for millennia.
Evidence of its use has been found in the Middle East, China, India, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, dating back for thousands of years.
It was thought by these different people's to have a range of medicinal effects, but the benefits of the plant are only really beginning to be understood on a scientific level in recent years.
Outside of health and skincare benefits, it has a variety of spiritual and 'magical' applications and can also be used as dye or colouring due to its strong crimson colour.
But what is dragon's blood most commonly used for today, and why is it all over the media recently?
Let's take a look and see whether it's truly the next step in skincare products or if it's just another fad:
What is Dragon's Blood Used For?
While dragon's blood was once treated as a miracle cure and used for almost anything, nowadays we are a bit more discerning.
Despite this, dragon's blood still has a surprisingly broad variety of uses.
It is currently exploding in popularity as an ingredient in cosmetics, makeup and face creams (more on that later).
It's also very commonly used for digestive health and to treat gastrointestinal conditions.
What are the Benefits of Dragon Blood?
Modern pharmacological studies have found that dragon's blood "has anti-bacterial, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-diabetic and anti-tumour activities" and it has also been shown to "enhance immune function, promote skin repair, stop bleeding and enhance blood circulation."
Not bad at all!
Dragon's blood has been used to treat wounds and stop infection for millennia, but you could have been forgiven for assuming it was just an ancient "witch doctor" type medication that didn't really do what it said it did.
The resin continues to be considered important for spiritual uses to this day and has applications in shamanism, voodoo, hoodoo, Wicca, and other spiritual or ritualistic practices.
You can also get your hands on dragon's blood incense, and the substance has even been used as a fake "red-rock opium" to dupe illegal drug-buyers in the United States.
All in all, a pretty versatile substance then!
But what does it have to offer the world of skincare?
Is Dragon's Blood Good for the Skin?
Like you wouldn't believe!
As mentioned above, dragon's blood boasts some pretty powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
Beyond that, it has nourishing, moisturising and protecting qualities when applied to the skin - creating a barrier layer over your skin that protects it and allowing it to keep in moisture like nothing else.
This has the obvious effects of making your skin look more plump, healthy and moisturised.
But, it also has beneficial effects for the following skin conditions:
Acne & Acne Scars
As I'm sure you know, acne is caused by bacteria in your pores.
Not only does dragon's blood flush out and kill these bacteria, but it reduces redness, inflammation and protects your skin from external irritants, meaning it not only gets rid of spots and pimples but also provides long term protection against more forming.
Dragon blood's unique properties for repairing and protecting the skin work by stimulating the growth of your skin's fibroblasts, which is a fundamental part of the structure of your skin.
This allows it to not only remove acne gently, reducing the likelihood of scars, but to go a long way towards actually healing those scars too.
Dragon's blood face serums protect your skin from aging and sun damage in the long term thanks to the ingredients powerful moisturising, protective and restorative qualities.
Not only that, but it's antioxidant qualities fight off free radicals and environmental pollutions.
Dragon's blood also boosts collagen production and boosts skin regeneration, making it one of the most effective and versatile anti-aging ingredients known to man.
What do Researchers Say?
We already linked you to one study above that was singing the praises of dragon's blood, but it's far from an isolated case!
Scientists the world over are almost universally in agreement when it comes to the beneficial properties of dragons blood.
A 2016 study into the wound-healing properties of dragon's blood found that the resin is a "potent, available, affordable and safe healing agent".
Similar modern research trials have suggested that it has "strong anti-inflammatory properties" and "possesses significant antioxidant activity"
Convincing evidence has also been found of anti-diarrhoeal effects, as well as positive reactions in treating insect bites, viral infections and wounds.
So far, scientific studies have been launched to investigate the positive effects of dragon's blood for a variety of different issues, and the vast majority have come back positive.
Dragon's Blood as a Drug
Thanks to its efficacy in combating inflammation, infections, dry skin, aged skin, acne and more, dragon's blood has grown from a folk tradition to a genuine medicine that demands to be taken seriously.
This has led to lots of investigation into the effects of dragon's blood internal use.
While the studies so far have shown dragon's blood powder has undeniable effects for skin health and protection, studies on its results with more serious illnesses and diseases are just beginning:
One study from 2015 showed that a dragon's blood tincture used on pressure ulcers and bed sores led to an improvement, likely due to its antibacterial properties.
While dragon's blood's effects on diabetes haven't been tested on humans yet, early tests on animals and microbes have suggested that the resin does have antidiabetic actions.
Further studies on humans are likely in the immediate future so if you or somebody you love suffers from diabetes and you're curious whether a dragon's blood supplement could help manage the symptoms, you should definitely keep an eye out for further news on this.
The benefits and medicinal uses of dragon's blood have stretched so far that academics are now beginning to question whether it can achieve positive results in early-stage cancer treatment.
While this might sound far-fetched, the powerful antioxidant properties have shown potential signs of being able to fight off free radicals.
Further studies are of course needed on this before we could recommend using medicines from a dragon's blood tree to treat cancer - however, early research is looking promising.
What does Dragon's Blood Smell Like?
Dragon's blood has been used in incense for centuries, likely first appearing in Europe via the Incense Road.
One major reason for this is the pervasive belief held throughout folk magic, shamanism and witchcraft that dragon's blood has magical properties.
Another major reason is the smell of dragon's blood powder.
It is a luxuriously rich, mildly sweet smell that has a calming effect and is ideal for incense or candles.
Dragon's blood is also often used in oils for folk magic rituals.
Some people compare the smell to amber but note that its more of a natural, pleasant scent and less cloyingly sweet.
How Does the Dragon's Blood Tree Survive?
While dracaena draco resin, dracaena cinnabari resin, daemomorops draco and dracaena cochinchinensis are all considered to be dragon's blood trees today, the resin of dracaena cinnabari, also known as the Socotra Dragon Tree, is thought to be the original "dragon's blood" first used in medieval times.
These trees typically grow in very hot, arid conditions where very few if any other forms of trees are able to survive.
While dragon trees may have a very strange and unique appearance compared to other trees, this evolved design is actually the tree's secret weapon.
The huge and densely packed leaves at the top of the tree provide shade for the rest of the tree's body, and the branches and leaves are designed to channel the very small amounts of available airborne moisture towards the roots.
While the shape and appearance of the tree might appear alien to us, it is the reason the tree has been able to survive for thousands of years in some of the most inhospitable environments on the planet.
Where to Buy Dragon's Blood
This all depends on what you're planning to use it for.
The pure, untouched dragon's blood powder is available in certain Chinese traditional medicine stores and health supplement stores.
You can also buy it in bulk online if you are looking to use it to create your own products.
Dragon's blood incense is a staple in most witchcraft or spirituality themed stores.
If you're interested in dragon's blood for its skincare and beauty benefits, you want to look for a high-quality dragon's blood skincare serum that utilises both pure dragon's blood and other common skincare ingredients to create a gentle and effective skin cream.
These are typically much cheaper than premium skincare creams but just as effective due to the properties of the dragon's blood tree sap.
Keep your eyes on Luminositie for more deep dives into the latest skincare and beauty trends, and the science behind them!
And don't forget to check out our range of all-natural beauty products including our anti-aging dragon's blood serum - made with high-quality Dragon Tree extract and only natural ingredients, so you no longer have to worry about what you're putting on your skin!
Why not try it now and see how it compares to your usual skincare regimen?
You won't be disappointed!