Deep in the rainforests of Peru, Ecuador and Brazil are weird looking, umbrella-shaped trees that have been used by indigenous tribes for centuries to cure all sorts of ailments. The trees are called Sangre de Drago (blood of the dragon), because of the bright red resin or sap they secrete. It’s this very stuff – the red sap - that’s been used as a powerful medicine by some of the toughest, most badass indigenous tribes in the history of the world. And now you have it in your tattoo care products. You’re basically a tribal warrior.
We didn’t choose to include Dragon’s Blood in our products because of the cool name, but rather because it is literally one of the most powerful natural ingredients known to man- and womankind. The bright red resin is obtained (sustainably and respectfully – we promise) from different species of distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang and Pterocarpus. The Sangre de Drago we use in our product is from the species of Croton native to Peru, Ecuador and Brazil. It’s been part of the culture since forever, in continuous use by native people as varnish, incense, body and face paint, dye and of course, a very versatile medicine. It was – and still is - highly trusted, especially for its wound-healing and antioxidant properties.
The sap was (and is) painted onto the skin to help stop bleeding, protect wounds and promote healing. It dries quickly, forming a seal or “second skin”, preventing infection and allowing the skin to heal. It is used as a treatment on things like cuts, puma bites and other wounds, insect bites and stings, skin disorders, fractures, haemorrhoids… the list goes on and gets grosser, but you get the idea. It’s good stuff.
But just because ancient tribal people used it, and people in Peru, Mexico and Ecuador still use it, can we trust it in this age of western modern medicine and pharmaceuticals? The answer is yes. Modern research has shown that it’s a highly effective treatment for a wide range of injuries and disorders, particularly those relating to the skin - also for both internal and external ulcers, as an effective antiviral and in the treatment of tumours.
The resin or sap is a jam-packed storehouse of phytochemicals including proanthocyanidins (antioxidants), simple phenols, diterpenes, phytosterols, and biologically active alkaloids and lignans. If those words mean nothing to you (and why should they?), fear not. Actual scientists who can spell these words have established that the resin stimulates the contraction of wounds, helps in the formation of a scab at the wound site, regenerates the skin more rapidly, and assists in the formation of new collagen. They’ve also proven potent antibacterial activity and an in vitro effect against stomach cancer and colon cancer cells. The sap is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antipruritic, antitumor, haemostatic and vulnerary. Big words for a very simple truth: this stuff is like magic. It’s packed full of nature’s most powerful medicines. How could we not use it in our tattoo care range?
And while your tattoo might have been done in a sanitised environment off a buzzing city side street after a bhodi bowl, while the tribal peeps used a sharp feather quill and ink made from the ash of their enemies, isn’t it cool to know the “medicine” is the same? Kinda badass.