Dragon's blood

Chinese: 血竭

Pinyin: Xuè Jié

Parts used: Prepared resin of the fruits and stems

TCM category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): SaltySweet

Meridian affinity: HeartLiver

Scientific name: Daemonorops draco or Dracaena Cambodiana

Other names: Calamus Gum

Use of dragon's blood (Xue Jie) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: The red resinous secretion from the fruits and stems is harvested in the summer. It is then cooked down to a semi solid resin, spread out on a surface and dried. This is then pounded into a powder for use.

Dosage: 1 - 1.5 grams in pill form

Main actions according to TCM*: Stops bleeding and promotes the healing of wounds Invigorates and removes Blood Stagnation. Alleviates pain.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which dragon's blood may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Traumatic injuries Fractures Internal injuries Traumatic bleeding Wounds Ulcers

Contraindications*: Do not use if there are no signs of Blood Stagnation.

Key TCM concepts behind dragon's blood (Xue Jie)'s properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), dragon's blood are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that invigorate the Blood' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to stimulate the Blood flow. In TCM they're used to help the circulation of Blood in cardiovascular conditions or menstrual irregularities as well as to treat acute pains caused by Blood Stagnation. They can also be used to treat Blood Stasis in the case of certain tumors, cysts and hardened clots.

Furthermore dragon's blood are plants that are Neutral in nature. This means that dragon's blood typically don't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin excess. The Neutral nature of dragon's blood means that you don't have to worry about that!

Dragon's blood also taste Salty and Sweet. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Salty ingredients like dragon's blood tend to have a draining effect in the body because they clear accumulations, remove phlegm and soften hard lumps. On the other hand Sweet ingredients tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what organs and meridians they target. As such dragon's blood are thought to target the Heart and the Liver. In addition to regulating blood flow, in TCM the Heart is believed to be the store of the "spirit" which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Liver on the other hand is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and body fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.

Research on dragon's blood(Xue Jie)

Modern pharmacological studies have found that Dragon's Blood has anti-bacterial, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-diabetic and anti-tumor activities while it is also known to enhance immune function, promote skin repair, stop bleeding and enhance blood circulation.1

Resina Draconis can improve the healing rate for pressure ulcers and shorten the healing time, compared with other topical treatments.2

Sources:

1. Fan JY, Yi T, Sze-To CM, Zhu L, Peng WL, Zhang YZ, Zhao ZZ, Chen HB. (2014). A systematic review of the botanical, phytochemical and pharmacological profile of Dracaena cochinchinensis, a plant source of the ethnomedicine "dragon's blood". Molecules. , 19(7):10650-69. doi: 10.3390/molecules190710650.

2. Xu J, Xiong T, Yang Y, Li J, Mao J. ( 2015). Resina Draconis as a topical treatment for pressure ulcers: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Wound Repair Regen. , 23(4):565-74. doi: 10.1111/wrr.12314. Epub 2015 Jun 9.