aloe

Aloe vera: soothes, heals and moisturizes the skin and inhibits itching and scarring. Taken internally, it provides essential nutrients, including vitamins A, C and E ...

Common Names: Aloe, Burn Plant

Botanical: Aloe vera

Family: Liliaceae

Plant Type: Evergreen succulent perennial

Parts Used: Gel from the leaves

Aloe is a species of succulent plant indigenous to the islands in the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, and Africa. There are more than 350 species of aloe, over 200 of which are native to Africa, however, only a few are suitable for herbal medicine.

Description: The Aloe vera plant can grow to a height of about 5 feet, has swordlike leaves and orange-red flowers. The fleshy leaves have spikes along the edges and grow approximately a foot high. It blooms only once in its lifetime.

Cultivation: Average, well-drained soil, full sun to light shade. Aloe is hardy to zone 10 and prefers neutral pH. It is commonly grown as a houseplant.

Harvesting: Harvest lower leaves any time: cut each leaf diagonally across its base. Stand in a jar for 10 minutes to drain sap (store this separately). OR slice open leaf, scrape out gel and use immediately.

Aloe Vera Magick

Protection. Luck.

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Moon

Element: Water

Hang an aloe leaf over your front door to ward off evil and bring good luck.

Keep an aloe plant in your house to protect your home and prevent accidents.

To invoke the wisdom, love and protection of the Moon Goddess, burn the dried leaves as incense.

Rub the juice from the leaves on your third eye to deepen your meditation and expand your awareness.

Herbal Healing with Aloe Vera

Cosmetic Uses: Aloe can be used to treat oily skin, acne, and dandruff.

Medicinal Actions: Abortifacient, analgesic, anthelmintic, antiaging, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antipruritic, antiseptic, antitumor, aphrodisiac, calmative, cholagogue, decongestant, demulcent, deodorant, depurative, digestive, emmenagogue, emollient, hypotensor, immunostimulant, insecticide, larvicide, laxative, moisturizer, purgative, regenerator (damaged tissues), stimulant (blood circulation), stomachic, tonic, vermifuge, vulnerary

Medicinal Uses: Scientists are confirming that aloe actually has tissue regenerative properties. It is also anti-bacterial and anesthetic. Use it to treat any kind of burn, skin sore, or even poison ivy.

Contraindications (Internal use)

  • During the course of pregnancy or while considering to become pregnant
  • During breast feeding
  • During menstruation
  • People suffering from appendicitis and inflamed intestinal disorder
  • Children may want to avoid taking aloe vera
  • People who suffer from abdominal pain
  • People who are on antiarrythimic medicine
  • People who are on corticosteroids, licorice, or diuretics
  • People who suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • People who have undergone surgeries like laparotomy
  • People taking drugs with cardiac glycosides
  • Diarrhea caused by the laxative effect of oral aloe vera can decrease the absorption of many drugs.

Diabetic patients who are on glucose reducing medication should exercise extra caution while taking aloe vera through the oral route because it might end up in a considerable decrease in blood sugar levels.

Taking an overdose of aloe vera supplements could result in intestinal spasms, dehydration or stomach cramps. Therefore, one must follow the directions before taking aloe vera.

One can suffer from severe diarrhea or kidney conditions in case of taking an overdose of this herb. One can feel unbalanced heartbeats due to the decline of potassium in the blood cells.

Body Care with Aloe Vera

  • For wounds, bedsores, eczema and minor burns, apply aloe gel three to five times daily, until healed.
  • To moisturize the skin, apply aloe gel lotion twice daily.

Direct Application: slice open a length of the leaf. To apply the gel, stroke the leaf's inner surface against the areas of affected skin.

Aloe Gel Lotion: cut open several leaves and scrape the gel into a pan. Simmer slowly until thickened. Store in jars in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Source: The Essential Herbs Handbook by Lesley Bremness

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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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