Aloe Vera, Aloe barbadensis
Aloe, moka, cape, turkey, Aloe Zanzibar
Glycoside (anthroquinone, called aloe emodin or aloin), polysaccharides, saponins, essential oil, steroids, enzymes, minerals, cinnamic and salicylic acid, acemannan
promotes bile, heals wounds, tonic, anti-fungal, antibacterial, demulcent, sedative, purgative
Leaf: bitter, hot, moist
Gel: salty, bitter, cool, moist
Aloe is a strong laxative and should not be overused. It should not be used during pregnancy as it can stimulate contractions. It can pass through breast milk and therefore should not be used during lactation. Aloe containing aloin is contraindicated in intestinal obstruction, Crohn’s disease, appendicitis, pregnancy, children under 12, or lactation. The stronger laxative preparations can create dependence with long-term use.
Aloe Vera has been used throughout history by many cultures for wound healing, embalming, perfumes, burns, sunburns, skin care, and parasites.
Most liquid or gel has the aloin removed because it is a strong purgative laxative. The juice or gel is very healing to the digestive tract and is used to heal ulcers and colitis. It can be used to relieve psoriasis, itching, rashes, gum disease, and lower blood sugar. It is also said to be an immune stimulant. While the dark aloin and emodin just under the skin is normally removed because of its purgative qualities, it is used medicinally when under the supervision of a qualified professional.
Gertrude Baldwin claims:
Another medicinal property to consider would be anti-bacterial. Aloe-emodin effects the activity of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori as stated in Chung JG Wang HH’s research. This bacterium acts as a culprit responsible for causing stomach ulcers. The aloe emodin’s antibacterial property also affects four strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus as stated by Hatano’s research. In 1964 the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences wrote of ‘Bacteriostatic Property of Aloe Vera’. They concluded that aloe vera was a bacteria managing substance that was effective against E.coli, Salmonella, and Streptococcus. Aloe vera contains another medicinal property known as antiviral. Aloe emodin in aloe vera makes it so that certain viruses are not able to function. Aloe vera provides a viracidal to herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2, varicella-zoster virus, pseudorabies virus, and influenza virus according to the research of Sydiskis.
Donnie Yance says in his book Herbal Medicine Healing and Cancer:
Aloe has anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antiangiogenetic activity and inhibits platelet aggregation. Lupeol and salacin account for aloe’s pain-relieving affects. Aloe has also been known to provide a protective effect against injury from radiation treatment.
You can find claims of every type for aloe on the internet, most true but a few exaggerations as well. This is because it truly is a wonderful healing substance. I often use the the juice as a replacement for half of my water in lotion recipes. I use it most frequently on burns and actually used it as a part of a healing protocol for a severe burn on myself and my tiny poodle with amazing results. We have found it is a great cure as a simple astringent for acne as well.
Usual Preparation and Dosage:
2 tsp. of juice in water three times a day.
20-50 ml of inner gel taken 3 times a day is often suggested for irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis.
Leaves can be tinctured and dosed at 1-3 ml as a bitter for appetite or constipation.
100-500 mg per dose as a strong laxative.
The leaf can be split and applied directly to burn, bite, fungal infection, dry skin, or wound. You can use pure gel you purchase or a homemade gel the same way you would the leaf.
Bioregion, Growing, and Harvesting:
Aloe Vera is a biblical plant that has a long history of use. This beautiful plant is said to have originated in Africa and then spread through Egypt, Spain, India, China, the Indies, and South America. Currently this plant grows in Texas and Florida. Many cultures exalt and even revere aloe. It does well in temperatures up to 104 degrees but can not tolerate temperatures lower that 40 degrees F. With temperatures of either extreme or large amounts of sunlight it can turn grey or orange.
It is a pale to dark green succulent with small spines along the sides of each long narrow pointed leaf. Leaves grow in a rosette pattern and can get as long as 20 inches and 5 inches wide. Springtime brings a colorful orange, yellow and/or green flower similar to what is shown in the first picture.
Drought tolerant aloe does not like to be too wet. I personally water mine monthly depending on the time of year and location. They can be grown in pots or in the ground. Plants grown in pots will remain smaller. As you harvest a leaf the plant has the ability to heal up that area. The three year old plant is the best for harvesting, however it can be harvested at anytime.
In this video John Strangis shows us how to cut and peel fresh aloe vera for use internally or to make a gel. I would add one thing. If you are going to use this internally first cut off the end of the aloe leaf and put the cut side facing down to drain all of the dark yellow aloin and emodin out. As discussed, these substances are intense laxatives and are not needed for most people. After that you can proceed to store or use your inner leaf gel in recipes.
Herbalpedia by Maureen Rogers 2007
Herbal Legacy Aloe Vera by Gertrude Baldwin
Herbal Medicine, Healing, and Cancer by Donnie Yance 1999 pge 125
Edible and Medicinal Plants From the Bible: Aloe