Dragon’s Blood and Belladonna
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Xavier Moon
Posted on: August 11, 2000

Someone told me that if you mixed a little bit of crushed Belladonna to water and drank it it would help you sleep? Is that true?

According to Andrew Chevallier, author of "Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" (available from Richters), belladonna is a muscle relaxant, especially of the muscles of organs such as stomach and intestines, making it useful for the treatment of intestinal colic and peptic ulcers. It is used for the treatment of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and in China as a anesthetic.

It has sedative and narcotic properties, but it is not typically used for insomnia because there are safer alternatives. Thought, as Chevallier says, "it is an important and beneficial remedy when used correctly", it must be used under the supervision of a professional health care giver because the therapeutic dose is very close to the toxic dose.

The "Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" (also available from Richters) gives the typical dose as 50mg of dried herb in an infusion, three times daily.

And when I was in a herbal store the other day I saw a herb called Dragon’s Blood; do you know what use that has?

According to Margaret Grieve’s "A Modern Herbal":

"Dragon’s Blood, as known in commerce, has several origins, the substance so named being contributed by widely differing species. Probably the best known is that from Sumatra. Daemomorops draco..."

The resin from the fruits is the medicinal part. It is used to treat diarrhea. Other uses are:

"...as a colouring matter for varnishes, tooth-pastes, tinctures, plasters, for dyeing horn to imitate tortoiseshell, etc. It is very brittle, and breaks with an irregular, resinous fracture, is bright red and glossy inside, and darker red sometimes powdered with crimson, externally. Small, thin pieces are transparent."

You can read the full text of what Margaret Grieve says about dragon’s blood online in the Richters InfoCentre section of our website. Go to "Classic Herbals Online" and then "A Modern Herbal" and then search for "dragon’s blood".

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