Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Uncanny Dragon's Blood Tree

Most of you have probably seen the little packs of incense sold in shops under the name Dragon's Blood. I have always wondered what exactly it was.

This stuff comes from the Dragon's Blood tree, found in the Socotra Archipelago. It is a tree that is surrounded by many myths, that has the unique quality of bleeding red sap. It has been used medicinally for centuries, mostly for respiratory disorders and diarrhea. For a short while, it was also used as a toothpaste, though I imagine it made quite a sight, as it is also a very potent dye.

It is most widely known as being one of the ritualistic plants used for magical purposes, mostly in American Southern Hoodoo, and New Orleans Voodoo. It was used to make Dragon's Blood Ink, a special type of ink used for drawing seals and talisman's. It is also a traditional component of the famous Mojo Hand.

The unique island from which it comes, is classed as a UN World Heritage Site, and the biodiversity found there is largely untouched by man. Lately, an influx of tourists has caused a bit of a decline in this unusual plant, and scientists fear for it's future when climate change really hits, as it is found nowhere else in the world.

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