Through all our adventures in soap making, it is rare to come across something so unique and wonderful that you can’t help telling everyone you know about it. Our latest obsession is Dragon’s Blood -- a bright red resin from the Sangre de Drago or Croton lechleri tree native to South American rainforests.
For centuries, local and indigenous peoples have used Dragon’s Blood resin (also called a latex) as a topical treatment for wounds and other skin conditions. When applied, the resin forms a barrier that helps protect the skin and prevent infection. Different species of Dragon’s Blood has also been used to treat other bodily ailments such as diarrhea and tumors.
There has been an upsurge in popularity of Dragon’s Blood in recent years. Its effectiveness in folk medicine has garnered interest of the scientific community. Recent research is suggesting that Dragon’s Blood is an effective treatment for a wide range skin ailments including inflammation, itching, wounds, infections, and pain and swelling due to insect bites. The resin also shows significant anti-oxidant activity, which suggests that Dragon’s Blood reduces free radical damage to the skin.
The following research studies present evidence of Dragon’s Blood’s potential as an effective treatment for a range of skin disorders. Keep in mind that while Dragon's Blood is showing a great deal of promise it is not a "miracle cure" and one should be wary of products making such claims.
Chen ZP, Cai Y, Phillipson JD. Studies on the anti-tumour, anti-bacterial, and wound-healing properties of dragon's blood.Planta Med1994;60(6):541-5.
Pereira U, Garcia-Le Gal C, Le Gal G, et al. Effects of sangre de drago in an in vitro model of cutaneous neurogenic inflammation. Exp Dermatol. 2010 Sep;19(9):796-9.
Lopes MI, Saffi J, Echeverrigaray S, Henriques JA, et al. Mutagenic and antioxidant activities of Croton lechleri sap in biological systems. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Dec;95(2-3):437-45.
Jones K. Review of sangre de drago (Croton lechleri) -- a South American tree sap in the treatment of diarrhea, inflammation, insect bites, viral infections, and wounds: traditional uses to clinical research. J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Dec;9(6):877-96.
Dragon's Blood Products - Not All Are the Same
Much of the Dragon’s Blood products you see on the market today are made using a fragrance oil that neither resembles the resin’s true scent or has any of the resin’s therapeutic properties. These products are only using the name because Dragon’s Blood sounds cool.
Other products use a blend of essential oils such as patchouli, balsam fir and citrus, and are being marketed as Dragon’s Blood. However, these products neither smell like or have the medicinal properties of true Dragon’s Blood.
There are also different kinds of Dragon’s Blood resins. We use the resin from the Croton lechleri species, which is renowned for its wound-healing and anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. The resin from other species such as Dracaena cinnabari is used for dyes, incense as well as treatment for diarrhea and other dysentery ailments.
Genuine Dragon’s Blood Soap & Lotions
True Dragon’s Blood is a resin that is combined with a botanical oil to create a blend that functions like an essential oil. This process allows Dragon’s Blood to be used in soaps, lotions and other cosmetics while retaining its therapeutic properties.
Genuine Dragon’s Blood resin has a strong earthy, herbaceous scent. By itself, the scent smells like what it is: a tree sap. However, when you combine it with essential oils such as patchouli, sweet orange, juniper, and cedarwood -- as we have done with our Dragon’s Blood Goat Milk Soap and Dragon’s Blood Lotion Bar -- the scent takes on a more woodsy scent with complex notes reminiscent of a fine red wine.
If you are a fan of earthy and woodsy scents such as Sandalwood, Frankincense & Myrrh or Balsam & Cedar, you will love Dragon’s Blood.