Dragon's Blood Resin
Dragon's blood is a bright red resin that is obtained from different species of a number of distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang and Pterocarpus.
However, the most common species to obtain the resin from is Dracaena cinnabari, otherwise known as the Dragon's Blood Tree.
The Dracaena cinnabari grows in the mountaintops of the Socotra Archipelago, which is a group of four remote islands located in the Indian Ocean south of the Arabian Peninsula. The distinctive shape the botanical has evolved is crucial to its survival, the Socotra is a hot, desert island with an especially tough dry season and very little rainfall. The water droplets carried along on the occasional "morning mist" accumulate readily on the tree's long waxy leaves, and due to the tree's ingenuious shape, it is efficient at transporting the water to the roots.
In the 15th century, voyagers to the Canary Islands obtained Dragon's Blood as dried garnet-red drops from Dracaena draco, a tree native to the Canary Islands and Morocco. Clearly a family relative of D. cinnabari, it displays almost identical morphology.
Historically, doses of 10 to 30 grains were formerly given as an astringent in diarrhoea etc, but officially it is never, at present, used internally, being regarded as inert.
The following treatment is said to have cured cases of severe syphilis: Mix 2 drachms (a drachm is a unit of apothecary weight equal to an eighth of an ounce or to 60 grains) of Dragon's Blood, 2 drachms of colocynth (a viny plant native to the Mediterranean Basin and Asia - also known as bitter apple, bitter cucumber, egusi or vine of Sodom), 1/2 oz. of gamboge (a gum resin used as a yellow pigment and a purgative) in a mortar, and add 3 gills (equal to 5 fluid ounces) of boiling water. Stir for an hour, while keeping hot. Allow to cool, and add, while stirring, a mixture of 2 oz. each of sweet spirits of nitre (KNO3 - potassium nitrate) and copaiba balsam (an oleoresin used in varnishes and ointments).
It appears that the usage of Dragon's Blood in remedies has fallen by the way-side over the years, despite being a highly regarded medicinal botanical during the time of the ancient Roman's and Greek's.