The science writer Douglas Starr has made something of a specialty of blood.
The PBS website has a great discussion guide that sums up the topic impressively, and includes a timeline of important developments in our evolving relationship with blood.
Even before we understood its function, humans invested blood with value and meaning. As Starr writes in an essay in the guide:
Blood: It’s strange that this most familiar of substances has always been so laden with feeling, so heavily freighted with mystery and symbolism. Consider the vocabulary: blood of our fathers; blood of Christ; the nation’s blood; lifeblood; blood brothers, blood sacrament, blood libel.…The history of blood involves not only medicine, but also culture and religion. It is a story of change — how a mysterious liquid became a global commodity and reflected the soul of each society that used it.