dragon's blood

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dragon's blood

dragon's blood, name for a red resin obtained from a number of different plants. It was held by early Greeks, Romans, and Arabs to have medicinal properties; Dioscorides and other early writers described it. A chief source was Dracaena cinnabari, a tree of the agave family. Voyagers to the Canary Islands in the 15th cent. obtained it from another species, D. draco. The resin, exuding beautiful garnet-colored drops when the tree is wounded, was well known as the source of varnish for 18th-century Italian violinmakers. Later, dragon's-blood varnishes and medicines were obtained chiefly from the immature fruits of a palm (Daemonorops draco) native to Malaya. Although still sometimes used in photoengraving processes, dragon's blood as a coloring material has largely been replaced by synthetics.
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Dragon's Blood

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Daemonorops draco, a red resin obtained from one of the rattan palms of Indonesia. The fruit of the palm is round, pointed, scaly, and the size of a large cherry. When ripe, the fruit exudes a resin known as dragon's blood. In brittle, shell-like flakes, this can be ground into a fine red powder.

Dragon's blood was once prized as a medicine in Europe because of its astringent properties. Although used for such mundane things as coloring varnishes and lacquers, facing writing paper, and photographic engraving, dragon's blood is also used in Witchcraft and other aspects of the occult as an ingredient in incense.

Folklore has it that dragon's blood is useful in love magic and for protection, as well as for exorcisms. Scott Cunningham says that a stick of dragon's blood under the mattress will cure impotency, and when mixed with sugar and salt and stored in a bottle will guarantee peace and quiet in the house where it is kept. Many Witches and magicians use dragon's blood to make an ink used for constructing talismans and magical squares.

Siegfried, from the heroic literature of the ancient Teutons, was made invulnerable by taking a bath in dragon's blood. Such a bath is also said to restore the petrified to life. In Danish folklore, only the blood from the heart of a dragon can restore an imperiled king. These folk tales, however, refer to the actual blood of a dragon.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Dragon’s Blood


a red resin obtained by tapping the trunk of the dragon tree. Dragon’s blood is brittle, odorless, and tasteless; it melts at 70°C, decomposes at 210°C, and is soluble in organic solvents and acetic acid. Varnish is obtained from dragon’s blood. Resins obtained from other plants, such as the Pterocarpus draco (bean family), croton (spurge family), and rattan (palm family), are sometimes also called dragon’s blood.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

dragon’s blood

A naturally occurring deep red resin; used as a tinting material, principally in varnishes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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