Nothing to do with actual dragons, dragon's blood is an extract made from a variety of plant species (mostly rattan palms) and used mainly as a dye or pigment with additional applications as a medicine. The active material is a red resin, extracted either by bleeding the plant or from the fruit casing, dependant on species. This resin is then further processed by grinding to a powder for most applications. The name derives from rumour - and false marketing - within Europe … actual local names vary.
As a dyestuff or pigment, dragon's blood yields a strong, bright red colour suitable for a variety of uses from textiles to violin staining. Less mundane uses include those of several magical traditions who employ the red ink in drawing magical symbols and amulets. The powder may also be burned as a form of incense and is said to increase the potency of various magical spells, especially those seeking love or wealth.
Medicinally it is often prepared as a wash, used for everything from mouth ulcers to skin diseases. It is particularly popular as a wound wash, where it is said to have disinfectant and coagulating properties. Alternatively it may be administered orally as a treatment for pulmonary, menstrual and gastro-intestinal complaints1.
Game and Story Use
- Where actual dragons are to be had, this adds a whole new dimension to figuring out which species your dragon's blood should come from.
- Again, the multiple sources could be a way to make this a potent, but unreliable, material with severe penalties for (unknowingly) using the wrong material or blend of materials - the guy who figures this out and determines where the right stuff for a given application comes from (and is then able to obtain it) may have a massive advantage.