Dragon’s Blood Trees

Have you ever seen mushroom-shaped, upside down umbrella-shaped trees like the ones below? They are called Dragon’s blood trees. It’s not Mars, they do exist on Earth! These trees grow in scattered groves on Socotra Island!

© Stefan Geens and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence 2.0

Dragon’s blood?

So, why are they called Dragon’s blood trees? Fear not, it’s not the actual blood from a fire breathing dragon. It’s actually the red sap from the Dragon’s blood tree – its bark bleeds like a human being!

The red sap can be used to form a resin which has medicinal benefits to fight infection and inflammation. Due to its antioxidant phenols and anti-inflammatory compounds, the Dragon’s blood can be used to fight against skin troubles, for example, sores, bites, cuts, burns and rashes.

It also contains

  • Proanthocyanidins – compounds which repair collagen, the lattice-like main protein that makes up much of our tissues, and
  • Taspine – a ‘tissue-healing’ agent.

Like bandages, Dragon’s blood is an indispensable first aid item to have at home. When the resin is applied onto the skin, it thickens to form a paste that helps to form a fine additional layer over the wound.

Cosmetic application

Do you know the secret behind Angelina Jolie’s glowing complexion? So it appears that cosmetic companies are using Dragon’s blood sap in creams and skin elixirs, helping women regain their youthful fullness in their face.

Other interesting facts about the Dragon Blood trees

  1. When the tree flowers, its trunk splits. This allows botanists to estimate the age of the tree by counting the number of divisions.
  2. Its distinct shape allows the long waxy leaves to transport water from the leaves down to the branches and trunk to the roots, for survival in its hot and dry climate.

Socotra Archipelago

Interested in knowing more about Socotra?

Socotra is an island south of the Arabian Peninsula, part of the Republic of Yemen and was recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage site since 2008. Despite its harsh environment, it is a place with rich biological diversity and is home to many unique species of animals and plants, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. One of the most isolated landforms; reportedly there are beautiful sandy beaches, breathtaking views of canyons, dessert plains, mountain lakes and huge plateaus.

Nature is really beyond any human’s imagination.

Links:

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/06/socotra/white-text

http://www.drugs.com/npp/dragon-s-blood.html


6 Responses to “Dragon’s Blood Trees”

  1. Tina Hosseini says:

    This is so interesting! So it can even play a role in preventing hypertension? Thats pretty cool. Do you know where we can get it from? Would ‘Dragon Blood’ be in any of the products that we currently use?

  2. Chin says:

    Thank you Vija, Nadee, Anne and Chia Wee for your comments!

    Chia Wee, I think it is widely used in medicinal treatment and instead of fighting just skin diseases, it can also be used to prevent lifestyle diseases (for example, high blood pressure) and can even help to fight them. By the way, I was surprised to find that Dragon Blood was used in alchemy and embalming in ancient times?!

  3. chia wee says:

    Amazing finding.. I wonder if there are any other beneficial functions which the red sap could be used for..

  4. anne hoban says:

    wow – sounds so interesting! Beautiful red sap – all things are related1

  5. Nadee Gunasinghe says:

    It’s an interesting information that i never knew before. This encourages to learn more about the fascinating wonders of mother nature and to truly appreciate what she has offered to us.

  6. Vija Pattison says:

    This information is awesome! I have learned so much about Dragon’s Blood. It is fascinating.

    There is a lot of potential in using this information for education purposes. It is presented in an interesting way
    and would hold the attention of children learning about nature.