Aloe has hundreds of uses including the ability to ease the pain of burns (including sunburn) and insect bites, and to speed the healing process. The polysaccharides in aloe are responsible for stimulating skin repair and growth. In addition to the external skin, it aids all the mucous membranes inside the body. It is one of the most used herbs in the U.S. today. People with constipation may take aloe juice, a powerful laxative. It may increase menstrual flow, when taken in small amounts. In that case, combine with carminatives to reduce griping. It has a double-effect on the immune system, strengthening it where needed, but also slowing it down where needed.
Common Name of the Herb: Aloe
Latin Name: Aloe Vera
Parts Used: Fresh or dehydrated juice from the aloe leaves
Actions: Anti-inflammatory, laxative, cathartic, stimulant, vulnerary, emmanagogue, vermifuge, hepatic, external demulcent, anti-microbial.
Preparation and Use: For external use, apply fresh juice onto the affected area. For internal use, take 0.1 to 0.3 grams of the aloe juice. You can also make ointment out of the juice. Gather several aloe leaves and split them to gather the juice. Allow them to dry, until they become thick. Place it into a clean jar and store in a cool place.
Cautions and Limitations of Use:
Oral use of aloe is not recommended during pregnancy or nursing because it stimulates uterine contractions and is excreted in mother’s milk where it may act as a purgative.
Caution for all herbs and foods: Stop using if you experience symptoms of allergy. Seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives. People who are allergic to other foods in the lily family, such as asparagus, chives, leek, garlic, onion, yucca, or sarsaparilla, may be allergic to aloe.
Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking prescription medications, regarding possible interactions.
If in doubt about the safety of any herb, consult a doctor with special knowledge and experience with herbs.
Constituents: Amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, auxins, gibberellins, lignin, calcium, chromium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, salicylic acid, saponins, sterols, sugars, vitamins A, C, E, B, B12 and Folic acid.
Growing the Herb: Aloe requires hot, dry conditions and very good drainage. The plant can grow in a pot as long as they are not allowed to stay wet. Aloe will be easily killed by heavy frosts. Plants can also be grown by removing and replanting the small suckers that grow at the base of the mother plant. It can be done all throughout the year but the best time is during spring.
How to Gather: Cut the leave and take out the juice.
Other English Common Names: True aloe, medicine plant, burn plant, Barbados aloe
Where it Grows: It can be found in tropical locations, such as South Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. It is also grown in warm climate areas of the United States, and may be kept in the house as a potted plant.
How to Identify: Aloe is a succulent plant that can grow up to four feet tall. It has tough, spear-like leaves up to 36 inches long.