What Is Dragon's Blood?

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What Is Dragon's Blood?

Dragon's Blood
Patti Wigington

In many magical spell instructions, you’ll see a reference to an ingredient called Dragon’s Blood. Obviously, this is not the blood of real dragons... so what exactly is it, and how is it used?

Dragon’s Blood is actually a resin, which is harvested from a variety of different plant species. The bright red pigment is what lends it the name Dragon’s Blood. The products which are currently marketed and sold to modern Pagans are not precisely the same as what ancient cultures referred to as Dragon’s Blood.

Maud Grieve's Modern Herbal says, "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 ... 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."

The Romans, Greeks, and others used a byproduct of Dracaena cinnabari, the cinnabar tree, found on an island in the Indian Ocean. The tree’s gum resin has a number of uses, including as an abortifacient and as a dye - it’s even found as a colorant in lipstick.

Some practitioners use a powdered version of Dragon’s Blood as incense.

Depending on which magical path you may follow, there are a variety of uses for Dragon’s Blood. Cat Yronwoode of Luckymojo points out that in many Hoodoo and folk traditions, this item is used for protection, power and good fortune. It may even be turned into an ink to write out spells. She says, "Dragon's Blood powder is also used by women who wish to receive an offer of Marriage. They write their lover's Name on a small square of brown paper, cross it with their own name, fold Dragon's Blood powder into the Name-Paper, and throw the packet onto glowing charcoal along with Love Me Incense while saying their prayer."

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Using Dragon's Blood

Dragon blood tree (Draceana ombet) on Daallo escarpment.
Draceana ombet is one of several trees used to harvest resin. Ariadne Van Zandbergen / Getty Images

In some Wiccan traditions of magic, Dragon’s Blood is used for healing, protection, and banishing. Many Pagan paths believe that adding Dragon’s Blood to any other incense or herb blend will increase the potency of the original mix.

Dragon's Blood also comes in handy when it comes to cleansing a space. If the previous occupant of the location left behind some dodgy energy, burn Dragon's Blood incense, or sprinkle the powder around the perimeter to banish away negativity. Blend it with dried sage or sweetgrass for extra metaphysical protection.

As you can probably guess, Dragon's Blood is associated with the element of fire, so you can use it on your altar to represent fire in the absence of a candle, or use it in rituals that involve flames, the sun, heat, or power. 

In some traditions of folk magic, the resin is blended into an oil. Use Dragon's Blood oil to anoint candles or to dab on your wrists to enhance your personal power. Create a money drawing oil by adding bits of lodestone into Dragon's Blood oil, or add cinnamon and pieces of rose quartz to create a love oil. For purification magic, add a few pieces of hematite or onyx, along with rosemary or sage, into your oil, and use it to anoint your doors and windows; this will help keep negative energy outside of your home.

5 Ways to Use Dragon's Blood in Magic

  1. Add it to an herbal blend of incense, to give your magic an extra boost.
  2. Use Dragon's Blood ink in spellwork that involves writing things down, such as names or your intention.
  3. Anoint yourself with Dragon's Blood oil for empowerment and protection when you're doing any sort of dream journeys or astral travel.
  4. Some traditions use Dragon's Blood in love spells, particularly if you hope to receive a marriage proposal.
  5.  Use it in an herbal sachet for healing magic related to bleeding, especially involving women's reproductive issues.