Do you feel nervous about meeting an important person? Carry dragons' teeth, and even kings will be kind to you.

 Do you have nightmares? Rub yourself with an ointment made from dried dragons' eyes and honey.

Are you worried about a lawsuit? Place the fat of a dragon's heart in the skin of a gazelle and tie it to your arm with deer muscle. You will win your case. 

This advice comes from the thirty-seven volume Natural Historyby Pliny, a first-century Roman. By mentioning that some dragons have a precious jewel inside their heads, he gave dragon hunting a boost for at least 1500 years.

Many parts of the dragon, such as the dracontia, the jewel-like third eye, were believed to provide effective antidotes for a wide array of poisons. The dracontia could be used repeatedly by boiling it in water, the water was drunk as a medicine. The fat of dragons, after being dried in the sun, was a known cure for ulcers. It also tended to repel a variety of undesirable beasts, including, perhaps, one's neighbors, and the heart was also greatly valued as a source of strength and intelligence. Of all the parts of a dragon, none was more highly prized than its blood. The hero Sigurd, according to the thirteenth-century Scandinavian saga of the Vilsvings, accidentally tasted the blood while roasting the heart of a dragon on a spit and was suddenly able to comprehend the language of birds. Drinking dragon's blood was believed to cure a variety of ailments from blindness to kidney stones, and it was the only solution known by alchemists to be capable of dissolving gold, which made it valuable indeed. Dragon blood from the Yucatan population was found to be particularly powerful medicine and was fondly referred to by the few who could afford to buy it as "The Big Red ". With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the free-enterprise system, the commercial potential of dragons became obvious to many, and several dragon-hunting companies were formed. Expeditions were sent from Europe and the British Colonies to seek out all species of dragons, and it is at about this time that the populations of dragons began to decline precipitously. Many of these dragon hunters were wasteful in the extreme Some cut out only the heart, leaving the rest to rot, while others drained the blood and ignored all the other useful portions. Still others gathered the teeth of the dragon, especially in the Orient where it is widely believed that dragon teeth have great medicinal value.

Of course, unscrupulous merchants were not long in discovering that dragon blood could easily be diluted with the blood of other creatures and still sold as the real thing. Two hundred-proof dragon blood became extremely rare, and many experiments were made to determine whether an easy test to judge the purity of dragon blood could be devised before it was purchased. It was discovered that eagle blood would not mix with dragon blood, and a market for eagle blood as a testing material soon developed. Just as rapidly merchants began selling fake eagle blood. This, surprisingly enough, did not mix with fake dragon blood, and soon nearly everyone was profiting from the bonanza except the users of dragon blood.

Because of the efficacy of authentic dragon blood as a cure-all, it quickly became apparent that many physicians and drug manufacturers were likely to lose fortunes in consulting fees and pharmaceutical sales. Therefore, strong lobbying action was begun to place both real and fake dragon blood on the list of controlled substances. Word went out that dragon blood was highly addictive and could lead to early blindness and sterility if consumed too frequently. Soon it became illegal to deal in dragon blood on the open market, and so a thriving black market developed. At present, the official policy maintains that dragon blood is highly addictive and should only be given by special physicians in life-threatening situations. All other uses of real or fake dragon blood is strictly prohibited by federal law, and a great deal of effort is being made to stamp out illegal use of the substances.

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