commercial dragon blood

Dragon’s Blood in An Eco Park

Map of Colombia
Map of Colombia showing Medellín


High above the city of Medellín in Colombia sits a large Eco Park with dragon’s blood.


Parque Arví is rediscovered. Once a forgotten area for hundreds of years in the land above Medellín, it is now fully restored.

Origin of name

Arví is the name of the Indigenous people who once inhabited this region.

Reforestation to the rescue

In the 1940s, eco-minded agencies stepped up to the challenge to reclaim these lands.

A local utility company purchased 2400 hectares (5900 acres) in the Parque Arví location. As well, provincial and Medellín governments pledged to reforest barren areas.

Fast growing trees (such as eucalyptus, pine and cypress) from Canada, US, Mexico, China, Australia and Brazil helped initiate the reforestation process.

Birds, Butterflies, Mammals, Flowers

This flower is nature's Lomotil
Boiling this flower in water provides a remedy for diarrhea – Nature’s Lomotil.

Today, the forest contains a mix of Colombian trees and plants.

Parque Arví is home to over 70 species of birds, 72 species of butterflies, 19 species of mammals. Also adding to its attraction are many unique flowers, including several species of orchids.

Bird of Paradise flower
Bird of Paradise – growing wild


Parque Arví sits at an elevation of about 2500m (8200ft), 1000m above Medellín.

Getting there

We lived in the Poblado neighbourhood of Medellín. It took us 1.5 hours to reach the park using three modes of transportation. A bus, the Metro, and two cable car lines.  We finally disembarked high above the city.

View of Medellín from cable car
View of Medellín from the cable car

Pre-Hispanic Trail

In the park, we discovered sections of pre-Hispanic construction. Like antique buildings, water works, platforms, roads, gardens and ditches.

We walked among the Ancients along a stone trail called “Camino Cieza de León” or the “Pre-Hispanic Trail”. It is believed to be more than 1500 years old.

Ancient Inca road
The large flat rocks (barely visible) in this road date to about 600 – 800 CE (aka AD). This area was used as a trading area between the Mayans from Central America and the Incas from the Andes. The Mayas offered salt, turquoise and shells for gold and emeralds from the Incas. The road was unusually wide due to the influx of many traders.

Trail Discoveries and Intrigue

Experienced guides (some English speaking) await you at the entrance of the park. They lead you to fascinating discoveries.

Our guide Gustavo
Our guide Gustavo

Most trails are not difficult. Of twelve popular ones, three hint of intrigue. These are Ancestral, Bewitched, and Myths and Legends.

Home of Dragon Blood

One of the most engrossing plants found here is the dragon tree.

Gustavo, our guide, points out a heart-shaped leaf from the tree. He explains it is known locally as “Arbol de Drago”, the dragon tree (croton lechieri).  “The sap from this tree is red like blood.”  Hence the name, ‘dragon’s blood’.

The leaf of the dragon tree is incorporated into the park’s insignia.

Logo of Parque Arví
Insignia of Parque Arví showing the leaf of the dragon tree

Medicinal Properties

Gustavo says the medicinal properties of Dragon’s Blood/ Sangre de Drago are well-known among the Indigenous people of South America. 

Leaf of the dragon tree
The leaf of the dragon tree

Dark Sap

Locals use the dark red sap to help alleviate or heal a wide variety of ailments. It seems to boost the immune system as well.

Gastrointestinal Healing

The sap is reputed to promote the healing of gastrointestinal problems. Like ulcers, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. 

A few drops of Dragon’s Blood…

… is also reportedly a diuretic.

As well, it prevents dandruff. Or apply on the skin to alleviate acne and insect bites.

A few drops will form a protective coat on a cut, like a liquid bandage, to stop bleeding.

Commercial dragon blood
Sangre de Drago (Dragon’s Blood) which we purchased at a local health/traditional supplement/herb store. Cost ~$2. Take 3 – 5 drops in some water once per day. This is purified sap from the tree – no additives. apparently it is also available in North America.

Health Benefits

The list of health benefits attributed to Sangre de Drago is long.  For example, it helps fight against memory loss, intestinal parasites, sore throats, and hemorrhoids.

 Indigenous women apparently use a sap solution to wash out the vagina before childbirth. 


There are even claims Dragon’s Blood is beneficial in the fight against cancer, tuberculosis, erectile dysfunction and more.

Seems a few absorbed drops are a cure-all!


Internet research reveals some U.S. patents are registered to study the anti-viral and healing properties of Dragon’s Blood.

A quick search also reveals one can buy the dark viscous liquid via the internet.

COVID update as of mid-October 2020

Parque Arví reopened on September 8. Officials welcomed 10,225 visitors in the first month.

This number is 50 percent of normal monthly activity to the park pre-COVID.

Safety Protocols in Parque Arví

Visitors to Parque Arví must bring a face mask, and alcohol or disinfectant.

While in the park, face masks must be worn. Social distancing is required.

Only 3 Days to Spend in Medellin?

A travel blogger colleague shares an itinerary here

Sights and Sounds From Medellin

J. Balvin from Medellin is the Prince of Reggaton. This music is a blend of reggae and hip hop – very popular in Latin America. This song was #1

Read more blogs from South America

Travelled: Winter, 2012

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