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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

(Aloe Vera syn A. barbadensis)
Also see: Biblical Aloe, Bitter Aloes, False Aloe

• Certain people, especially diabetics, may develop an intolerance to aloe juice.

• Pertaining to the dried leaf sap and not the gel which is used topically: Overuse can cause potassium loss and present problems when taking antiarrhythmic drugs, cardiac glycoides (ie. Adonis, Convallaria, Digitalis, Urginea, Helleborus, Strophanthus), thiazide diuretics, corticosteroids, and licorice. The absorption of any medication taken orally can be compromised due to the laxative effect of Aloes, thus remaining in the system for less time than required to be effective.
•For excessive bleedingduring menstruation or any bleeding between periods .
•NOT taken during pregnancy or by nursing mothers.
•NOT taken when stomach or intestinal inflammation is present (ie. ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, colitis, IBS) nor with inflamed hemorrhoids, intestinal obstructions, kidney problems, or abdominal pain of any kind.
•NOT taken by children under 12 years of age.
NOT to be used for more than a week.

CONTAINS: Salicylic acid, magnesium, selemium, vitamin C, sodium, vitamin A, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, manganese, B-complex, traces of copper, B2, and lecithin.

PROPAGATION: Baby plants (suckers)are taken from root base in late winter.
NEEDS: Bright light. Treat as house plant in the north. Native to arid areas. Over 200 known varieties.
HARVEST: Outermost leaves as needed. Express leaves for juice and dehydrate for dried aloes.


Use of the fresh gel is the only certain way to get the desired effects with maximum activity.
Considered analgesic, anesthetic, antibacterial.
Clear inner gel of leaves is used externally as skin healer, moisturizer and skin softner ; also for cuts, burns, insect bites and stings , bruises, acne, blemishes, welts, ulcerated skin conditions, eczema, sunburns, radiation burns, hemorrhoids, rectal itching, abrasions, psoriasis, ringworm, scar tissue, tumors, vaginitis, worms.
Used for poison ivy (not as good as other remedies).
Used after radiation treatment to minimize damage to skin.
Useful for stomach disorders, ulcers, constipation, colitis, colon problems, infections, varicose veins, skin cancer, arthritis, anemia, fever, hair (to stimulate growth), heartburn, hiatal hernia, liver problems, menopause, obesity, tapeworm, TB, throat problems.
Used as immune stimulant in extract form.
Gel may be helpful following frostbite as it may inhibit bradykinin (a pain producing agent) and hinder formation of thromboxane (substance detrimental to would healing in burns).
Tissue restorative.
Used for skin cancer.
Used in eye wash preparations. Experiments in eye drops being conducted to see if there is protection against ultra-violet sun rays.

Used for constipaton, indigestion, worms, urinary ailments, mastitis, and skin ailments.
Used as a lotion for corneal ulcers and karatitis.
The gel is applied to wounds, sores, bruises, and tumors.
For mastitis, massage the cold gel into the area 3 times daily.
A dose is 7 grains of powdered gel in 1 C. tepid liquid consisting of equal parts of milk and water and given fasting morning and night.
POISONOUS to rabbits!

Napolean's Josephine reported to have used a lotion of milk and aloe daily. Cleopatra reported to use aloe daily to preserve complexion.
Used in skin care products but commercial products usually contain very little actual aloe unless it is listed very close to the top of the list of ingredients. Also, 'aloe vera extract' may have been highly diluted or reconstituted from powder or liquid.

Tree wound dressing: Mix juice of 1 leaf with 1 to 1½ pints of water for a healthful plant spray.

Healing. Affection.

If gel causes drying, mix with a little Vitamin E or moisturizer.
Specialized cells occuring just beneath the rind, contain the bitter yellow latex that is dried to produce the product 'bitter aloes'. In fact, several varieties are often used to produce bitter aloes.
The inner portion of the leaf is rightly called the 'gel'. The latex is more correctly called the 'juice'. However the terms have become confused by commercialism.
Biblical aloes is 'lignaloes' or 'aloe wood' - a fragrant wood from a very different plant used for incense.

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Aloe Vera

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See comments above on Aloe Vera

aka Rattlesnake Master
(Manfreda virginica syn Agave virginica)
Also see: AGAVE (A. Americana)

Not to be confused with Agave Americana which is also known as False Aloe.
Nor to be confused with Eryngium yuccafolium known as Rattlesnake Master.

Native to southeastern North America and found on dry soils. American Indians used the diuretic root tea for dropsy and as a wash for snakebite. The roots were nibbled for severe diarrhea and worms. Has laxative properties.

©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH