Sangre de Grado, also known as Sangre de Drago or Dragon’s Blood, is a tree resin from South America with a long history of use to stop bleeding cuts and for healing wounds. Keep it in your first-aid kit for digestive problems, viral infections and mouth or gum issues. And these days, it’s also used in skin care serums for a glowing complexion…
You probably know by now that Jay and I are super-enthusiasts when it comes to natural remedies. So, we’re always on the lookout for natural solutions when one or another random health issue occurs. This is especially important when we travel. So when we were living in Ecuador, we were really excited to discover the local natural medicine known as Sangre de Grado, or as it is more commonly known in Ecuador, Sangre de Drago or Dragon’s Blood. And now we’ll share with you seven reasons why this remarkable substance, Sangre de Grado, belongs in your first-aid kit.
Where does Sangre de Grado come from?
Although it does not actually come from a fabled dragon (nope, it’s 100% plant based!) this deep crimson-red tree resin comes from Croton lechleri trees. Other varieties are known as Dracaena, Pterocarpus, Daemonorops and Calamus rotang. It has been utilized around the world for thousands of years, and is noted historically by the Greeks and Romans. It is also favored by Arabs, Chinese and Amazonian South Americans, continuing up to the present time. The resin is tapped by hand, much as maple syrup is in the Pacific Northwest of North America.
Renowned for medicinal use by South American indigenous peoples, Sangre de Grado is one of those amazing miracles of nature. This is due to its wide and surprising range of health and skin care benefits It is most often sustainably wild-crafted and a little bit goes a long way.
Sangre de Grado Benefits and Uses
1. Bleeding Cuts
Sangre de Grado is commonly used to treat wounds such as abrasions, cuts, scratches, bites and stings. After thoroughly cleaning a wound, Sangre de Grado applied topically will prevent bleeding, reduce pain and promote healing. The resin almost immediately forms a latex-type “natural bandage” that seals wounds. Its anti-microbial properties protect wounds from infection. It’s really fascinating to see Sangre de Grado in action, making its super-seal!
It is fantastic for sealing a cut that won’t stop bleeding or a cut or sore that weeps onto clothing to avoid those pesky blood stains – just let the Sangre de Grado dry before putting clothing over the wound. It might sting a little bit on an open wound, but it feels so much better than other natural suggestions, such as putting salt or cayenne pepper (ouch!!!) into an open wound!
2. Skin Care
Sangre de Grado is a super-effective treatment for acne due to its antibacterial properties.
Also, many companies have successfully incorporated Sangre de Grado into skin care creams and serums, due to its acclaimed anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, restorative and protective capabilities. It’s not that well known around the world, so it’s like this little secret ingredient that makes some skin serums produce such great results… good to know, if you make your own DIY skin creams and potions!
3. Mouth and Gums – Treatment for mouth sores, blisters, scratches or inflammation
Apparently the inside of my mouth is really sensitive and I often scratch or bite the inside of my cheek. It’s painful and takes a while to heal. This happened (again) when we were in Ecuador, so we popped into one of the ubiquitous little ‘vitamin” shops in the town center of Zamora, where we were living. Ecuadorean vitamin shops are packed from floor to ceiling with natural herbal remedies in brightly colored boxes with dramatic illustrations and fanciful names. Corners and aisles are crowded with piles and buckets of dried herbs and herbal mixes in cellophane packages. Very fun if you are into herbs 😊
After describing my difficulty, the proprietor of this shop presented us with a tiny plastic bottle of Sangre de Grado. I tried it and was amazed! Just a few drops of the thick, sticky (er, blood-like) resin swished around in my mouth and then swallowed was enough to diminish my symptoms very quickly. After only one day of swishing and swallowing, my mouth was healed! Sangre de Grado is great for all manner of mouth sensitivity, sores or blisters. Plus, this resin is also fantastic for treating various gum diseases, including receding gums and bleeding gums.
4. Ulcers/Gastrointestinal Disorders
Taken internally, Sangre de Grado is effective in treating gastric ulcers, inflammation and intestinal disorders. It neutralizes food born pathogens such as salmonella and E. Coli.
Sangre de Grado taken internally can slow down the amount of water that goes through intestines, so is well known as an anti-diarrhea agent. Lots of travelers count on Sangre de Grado when they are traveling in areas that might have questionable water sources. And street food, however enticingly delicious, can often cause stomach upset that is easily resolved with just a few drops of this amazing resin.
We didn’t have this issue in Ecuador, but if I returned to South America I would surely want a little bottle of Sangre de Grado with me at all times. I wish we had known about it when we did have stomach problems in India (Delhi Belly! more than once). I would not travel to India again without Dragon’s Blood in my travel medicine kit.
Sangre de Grado can be used in treatment of viruses such as flu, Hepatitis A and B, and Herpes Simplex.
There have been numerous studies that indicate Sangre de Grado’s potential in treating cancer, diabetes and neuro-degenerative diseases.
Sangre De Drago is inexpensive and effective for a large variety of health and skin ailments. That’s why I say that Sangre de Grado belongs firstly 🙂 in your first-aid kit! Next, you can use it as your own secret ingredient to give your DIY skin creams, balms, serums and lotions some extra healing and anti-aging mojo.
For taking internally, it has a strongly astringent taste; not wonderful, but is not as bitter as other herbs. A few drops can be diluted in water if you can’t handle the taste. Believe me, the results warrant a little taste discomfort.
This excellent Sangre de Grado, or Dragon’s blood ✓ can be used for internal use and can also be used on skin and in DIY formulas.
If you’re traveling in Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil or Peru, you can easily find Sangre de Grado in most vitamin or “natural” shops for a couple of dollars. If you want to be 100% covered and be 100% sure of the quality, you can always buy a bottle online like the one above.
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- Croton lechleri tree – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
- Double photo closeup of bark and closeup of leaf – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license Dick Culbert