Socotra Dragon Tree: Benefits of Dragon Blood Resin


Travelers to the Yemeni archipelago of Socotra are almost certain to encounter Dracaena cinnabari – the Socotra dragon tree. Known for its upturned crown, the dragon tree is a unique plant, instantly recognizable and striking. Whilst the Socotra dragon tree is endemic to the islands, there are more than 120 species of dragon tree, and it can be found across much of Central America, Asia, and tropical parts of Africa. All dragon trees produce a dark red resin, this is where they get their mystical name. And it is this resin that shall be the focus of this article. Dragon tree resin was prized in the ancient world and is still believed to be useful for a variety of medical purposes. It has been used in traditional medicine around the world for centuries, including by the native inhabitants of Socotra. Here are some of the reported benefits of dragon blood tree resin.


Health Benefits of Dragon Blood Resin

Wound healing

There is some evidence to suggest that dragon blood resin can improve the healing process for cuts and other wounds. The resin contains phenolic compounds which are believed to help the healing process along. Medical studies tested on human patients have found that the difference in the healing process can be noticed as early as three days after a cut or wound has been suffered, when one patient is treated with dragon blood, and another without.

Infection prevention

When a human cut him or herself, the blood clots and scabs to protect the open wound from infection and other pathogens. Dragon blood resin does the same for the tree, flooding any injury with nutritious resin to seal it off and prevent infection or attack by insects. There is evidence to suggest that dragon blood resin can perform the same task for humans, acting as an additional defence to the body’s own natural healing process.

Skin health

Other studies have show that dragon blood resin can have multiple benefits for skin health. The resin is rich in antioxidants, which can help to prevent UV damage – a sort of natural sunscreen. It can also reduce inflammation and prevent and treat breakouts of conditions such as acne thanks to antimicrobial properties. Speaking of acne, dragon blood resin can also soothe the skin, helping to moisturize the skin and treat issues such as eczema, acne, sunburn, and psoriasis. It is also thought to help relieve skin redness, thanks to a calming effect that the resin has on the skin.


A particularly important point for the avid traveller! Dragon blood resin has been shown to control diarrhoea in animals, and there is limited evidence to suggest that it may help humans suffering from this common condition too. Although no human studies exist to verify this claim, it is a benefit that is widely touted by naturopathic doctors and practitioners.


Collagen Production

Collagen is a protein that occurs naturally in the skin and can leave skin looking plumper and firmer. It is a popular anti-ageing treatment, and many supplements are available. Dragon blood resin causes the skin to produce more collagen, helping to tackle wrinkles and lead to a more youthful appearance.

Is Dragon Blood Resin Safe?

As a naturally occurring resin, there are few risky side effects to using dragon blood resin. However, it does have the potential to irritate the skin, in which case it is important to discontinue use immediately.

Many commercially produced dragon blood supplements also contain latex. If you have a latex allergy then it is important to avoid these products, so always make sure to check the label of any dragon blood resin product!

Other uses for the Socotra Dragon Tree

As well as being used for medicinal purposes, dragon blood resin is used by Socotrans for many other purposes, including as a dye for wool, as a breath freshener and as a natural lipstick. Further afield the resin is also used by some musicians as a varnish for violins and other instruments. And it is not just the resin from the dragon tree that is used by Socotra natives. The root of the dragon tree is used in some toothpastes and to treat rheumatism, and the leaves are used in herbal teas to combat gastrointestinal issues.


The resin of the Socotra dragon tree, and other dragon tree species, is widely used as safe, natural supplement to treat a range of medical conditions. Although limited scientific evidence exists to attest to these benefits, the resin has been used practically and safely for hundreds of years by residents of the Socotra archipelago and there are many commercially available supplements containing this important resin.

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