Dragon's Blood,A resin derived from the fruit of Calamus Draco.
- Botanical Identification of Dragon's Blood.
- Description and Botanical Source.
- Dragon's blood Chemical Composition.
- Uses of Dragon's Blood.
- Dragon's blood History.
- Magickal Uses of Dragon's Blood.
- Religious Use of Dragon's Blood.
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- Suggestions and Administrations.
- Research Update:Calamus Draco or Dragon's blood.
Description and Botanical Source.:
Calamus Draco is a small palm growing in the islands of the Indian archipelago. While the plants are young the trunk is erect, and resembles an elegant, slender palm tree, armed with innumerable dark-colored, flattened elastic spines, often disposed in oblique rows, with their bases united. By age they become scandent, and overrun trees to a great extent. The leaves are pinnate, their sheaths in petioles armed as above described; leaflets single, alternate, ensiform, margins remotely armed with stiff, slender bristles, as are also the ribs; 12 to 18 inches long and about 3/4 inch broad. The spadix of the female is hermaphrodite and inserted by means of a short, armed petiole on the mouth of the sheath opposite to the leaf, and is oblong and decompound, resembling a common oblong panicle. Spathes several, one to each of the 4 or 5 primary ramifications of the spadix, lanceolate and leathery; all smooth except the exterior or lower one, which is armed on the outside. Calyx turbinate, ibbed, mouth 3-toothed, by the swelling of the ovary split into 3 portions, and in this manner adhering, together with the corolla, to the ripe berries. Corolla 3-cleft; divisions ovate-lanceolate, twice as long as the calyx, and permanent. Filaments 6, very broad, and inserted into the base of the corolla. Anthers filiform, and seemingly abortive. Ovary oval; style short; stigmas 3-cleft; divisions revolute and glandular on the inside. The berry is round, pointed, and of the size of a cherry (L.Roxb.).
Dragon's Blood, as known in commerce, has several origins, the substance so named being contributed by widely differing species. Probably the best known is that from Sumatra. Daemomorops Draco formerly known as Calamus Draco, was transferred with many others of the species to Daemomorops, the chief distinguishing mark being the placing of the flowers along the branches instead of their being gathered into catkins, as in those remaining under Calamus.
The long, slender stems of the genus are flexible, and the older trees develop climbing propensities. The leaves have prickly stalks which often grow into long tails and the bark is provided with many hundreds of flattened spines. The berries are about the size of a cherry, and pointed. When ripe they are covered with a reddish, resinous substance which is separated in several ways, the most satisfactory being by steaming, or by shaking or rubbing in coarse, canvas bags. An inferior kind is obtained by boiling the fruits to obtain a decoction after they have undergone the second process. The product may come to market in beads, joined as if forming a necklace, and covered with leaves (Tear Dragon's Blood), or in small, round sticks about 18 inches long, packed in leaves and strips of cane. Other varieties are found in irregular lumps, or in a reddish powder. They are known as lump, stick, reed, tear, or saucer Dragon's Blood.
Dragon's Blood. Sanguis Draconis. Sang-dragon, Fr. Drachenblut, G. Sangre de drago, Sp.Dragon's blood, of which there are several commercial varieties, is a resinous exudation obtained from the fruits of a number of palms. East Indian dragon's blood is obtained from a number of species of Daemonorops, a genus which was previously ascribed to Calamus. Malay dragon's blood is obtained from Daemonorops didynophyllos (more), D. micranthus (more) and D. propinquus (more); Sumatra dragon's blood from Daemonorops Draco Blume (more) (Calamus Draco Willd.). In Borneo a dragon's blood is obtained from Daemonorops draconcellus (more) and other species of Daemonorops. On the surface of the fruit, when ripe, is an exudation, which is separated by rubbing, or shaking in a bag, or by exposure to the vapor of boiling water, or finally by decoction. The finest resin is procured by the two former methods. It comes in two forms: sometimes in small oval masses [tear dragon's blood) of a size varying from that of a hazelnut to that of a walnut, covered with the leaves of the plant, and connected in a row like beads in a necklace; sometimes in cylindrical sticks, eighteen inches long and from a quarter to half an inch in diameter, thickly covered with palm leaves, and bound round with slender strips of cane. See paper by E. M. Holmes in P. J., 1905, 933.
Dragon's blood is inodorous and tasteless, insoluble in water, but soluble in alcohol, ether, and the volatile and fixed oils, with which it forms red solutions. According to Herberger, it consists of 90.7 parts of a red resin, which he calls draconin, 2.0 of fixed oil, 3.0 of benzoic acid, 1.6 of calcium oxalate, and 3.7 of calcium phosphate. Tschirch (Harze und Harzbeh?lter, 1900, p. 189) has made an elaborate study of dragon's blood, and finds 2.5 per cent. of draco-alban, C20H4O4, a white substance melting with decomposition at about 200 Deg C. (392 Deg F.); 13.58 per cent. of draco resen, a yellow resinous substance of the formula C26H4O4, and 56.86 per cent. of draco resin, a resin ester or mixture of esters, benzoic dracoresinotannol ester and benzoylaceticdraco-resinotannol ester, and 18.4 per cent. of insoluble substances. It was formerly employed in medicine as an astringent, but is nearly or quite inert, and is now never given internally. It is sometimes used to impart color to plasters. For further information concerning this drug, see U. S. D., 19th ed., p. 1475.
The Malay varieties are from D. didynophyllos, D. micranthus and D. propinguus.
The Borneo variety is from D. draconcellus and others. 'Zanzibar Drop' or Socotrine Dragon's Blood is imported from Bombay and Zanzibar, and is the product of D. cinnabari. It has no scales, and like other nonSumatra varieties, is not soluble in benzene and carbon disulphide.
Dracaena Draco is a giant tree of the East Indies and Canary Islands, and shares with the baobab tree the distinction of being the oldest living representative of the vegetable kingdom, being much reverenced by the Guanches of the Canaries, who use its product for embalming in the fashion of the Egyptians.
The trunk cracks and emits a red resin used as 'tear' Dragon's Blood, now rarely seen in commerce.
Dracaena terminalis, or Chinese Colli, yields Chinese Dragon's Blood, used in China for its famous red varnish. In some countries a syrup, yielding sugar, is made from the roots (called Tii roots). An intoxicating drink can be made from it, and it has also been used in dysentery and diarrhoea, and as a diaphoretic.
Pterocarpus Draco, of the East Indies and South America, yields a resin found, as Guadaloupe Dragon's Blood, in small irregular lumps.
Croton Draco or Mexican Dragon's Blood, is called Sangre del Drago, and is used in Mexico as a vulnerary and astringent. Others used are from:
Croton hibiscifolius of New Granada.
Croton sanguifolius of New Andalusia, and
Calamus rotang of the East Indies and Spanish America.
- 1.Dragon's Blood,A resin derived from the fruit of Calamus Draco.
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