Other Common Names:
The other common names for the dragon's blood tree are Drago, Sangre de Drago and Sangue de Drago.
Dragon's blood is the latex (tears) which form when the bark of the Croton lechleri tree is cut. This dark sap is collected and is then marketed under the name "Dragon's blood". The Peruvian name of this tree is "sangre de grado" literally meaning "blood of the dragon" and in Ecuador it is called "sangre de drago" - which has the same meaning.Sangre de grado, Spanish for "blood of the dragon," has a long history of use for both the bark and the resin.
An early reference dating back to the 1600s notes that Spanish explorer P. Bernabe Cobo found the sap was being used by indigenous tribes throughout Peru and Ecuador. They used it internally and externally to stop bleeding, help heal wounds, and treat intestinal problems. Studies regarding this plant date back to the late 1970s. Preparations made from dragon's blood are found in several pharmaceutical products, some of them patented. The first written reference to dragon's blood dates back to 1600's, when the Spanish naturalist P. Bernabé Cobo wrote about the curative power of the sap.
The sangre de drago tree is found in the Amazon rain forest and normally grows between 30 to 100 feet. It is a tree of the genera Croton, with wide and round crown, from which bark can be, extracted dark-reddish resinous latex. The trunk is usually less than 30 cm in diameter and is covered by smooth, mottled bark.
It has large, heart-shaped, bright-green leaves and unique, greenish-white flowers on long stalks. When the trunk of the tree is cut or wounded, a dark red, sappy resin oozes out as if the tree is bleeding-earning this local name. The genus Croton is a large one, with 750 species of trees and shrubs distributed across the tropical and subtropical regions of both hemispheres. Crotons are rich in active alkaloids, and several species are well-known medicinal plants used as purgatives and tonics.
This tree can be found along the tropics in the Amazon region in Peru.Sangre de grado is a medium-sized to large tree that grows from 10-20 m high in the upper Amazon region of Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.
Dragon's blood thrives best in low and mid elevation forests, between 100 to about 1800m, within temperature ranges of 18 degree celsius to 30 degree Celsius and annual rainfall between 2000 and 4000mm, with a minimum of 1000mm.
Germination takes place anywhere between 8 to 22 days, most often 15 days .Natural regeneration is minimal in closed canopies and even in secondary forests with fairly closed canopies, where the ground is shaded. In these cases, reproduction is entirely contingent on seeds being dispersed to natural clearings or disturbed areas. Only in trees growing in open areas are seedlings found at the base of the tree.
Pests and Diseases
Dragon's blood are not really affected by pests and diseases but occasionally disturbed by Canker, coral spot, leaf blight and scale insects. Leaf blotch can be a significant problem. Powdery mildew and anthracnose are also frequent problems. Watch for bagworms, Japanese beetles and borers are infrequent but potentially troublesome. Leaf scorch (brown edges) may occur in droughty conditions or on sites exposed to wind.
The resinous exudation of the bark,
the sap is commonly used for its medicinal
and commercial applications.
• It is used by indigenous people to externally treat wounds, haemorrhoids and fractures.
• Internally, it is used for stomach ulcers, as well as a douche for vaginal problems and discharge.
• Dragon's blood is used for fevers and inflamed gums, vaginal baths - before and after childbirth, as well as haemorrhaging after childbirth.
• Dragon's blood has been used for its antiviral, wound healing, and GI benefits.
• Dragon's blood is used for insect bites, poison ivy and other itchy or allergic skin reactions.
• The highly astringent sap is a commonly consumed health product that provides nutritional support for the normal functioning of the bodies tissue-repair mechanisms.
• Dragon's blood is used in treating stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, dysentery and diarrhea.
• It is mainly used in treating skin infections, fungi, rashes, and dermatitis.
• Dragon's blood is used to stop bleeding and to seal, and heal wounds, burns, cuts, tooth extractions.
• It is also used internally for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach; as an antiviral for upper respiratory viruses, stomach viruses and HIV; internally and externally for cancer and, topically, for skin disorders, insect bites and stings.
• It is used as a colouring matter for varnishes, tooth-pastes, tinctures, plasters, for dyeing horn to imitate tortoiseshell, etc.
• Drops of the sap of dragon blood are used in beverages.
• In China it is famous for its red varnish.
• It is commercially employed in the manufacture of skin rejunavating cream.
• They are also involved in the anti-ageing capsules.