Botanical name: aloe bardaenis
Common name: juice from lilies, desert lilies
Habitat: Aloe Vera has pointed and fleshy leaves that produce a gel and juice. They are natives of tropical Africa, where they grow in the wilds, but aloes also flourish in the West Indies and Mediterranean countries on cultivated aloe plantations designed exclusively for commerce.
Considered an easy plant to grow by most it requires a sandy, well drained soil and sunny location. It is not frost resistant so if you live in colder climates, plants in pots should be brought indoors at the first sign of cold weather. It is easiest to start from leaf cuttings, cut a large fleshy leaf from the mother plant and let it dry out for several days, until the cut is sealed over and healed. Place cutting in sandy dry soil, (just sand will work fine) for several weeks until new roots form; plant in sandy, well drained soil.
There are more than 200 species of perennial aloe, but only aloe vera is considered true aloe. True aloe produces a yellowish juice that will seep out when a leaf is cut.
The color of aloe juices differ, according to the locations where the plants are grown and the methods used to extract the juice. Both the gel and the juice come from the aloe’s leaves. As a rule, the gel is not used internally, but the juice has a long history for internal use.
Healthy Info: Truthfully, every household should have a plant or two of this around, it is so valuable a medicinal. It is one of the best herbs for burns and skin infections (except for staph infections), and is used internally as a laxative and a cleanser.
- Constipation (stubborn) and Digestive Distress. Aloe tea is a well-respected digestive aid, particularly for severe or stubborn cases of constipation. It relaxes the bowels, acts as a stomach tonic, and stimulates the large intestine. It promotes bile flow to help regulate digestion. In India, a tonic wine is made from fermented aloe gel, blended with honey and spices, and used for anemia, poor digestion and liver disorders. You can make aloe tea with honey and mint, spiced with cinnamon, to have your own tonic.
- Moisture. Aloe gel is an emollient that helps skin retain its moisture. It has been called Natures Best Moisturizer. In ancient Egypt, aloe was regarded as a religious plant, and it is said Cleopatra used its gel to protect her skin from the damaging effects of the hot Egyptian sun.
- Parasite Purge. Aloe vera is one of the most effective treatments to expel worms or other parasites from the intestinal tract. It is also antifungal.
- Radiation Burns and Skin Surgery. Aloe is a healing stimulant that is used topically in the United States to speed healing after radiation burns and skin surgery. You can wash burns with cooled aloe tea, or take an aloe bath.
- Uses Through the Ages. As far back as the fourth century, aloe was used by Greek physicians to cure everything from constipation to liver problems.
- Caution. In high doses, aloe can cause intestinal cramps. For this reason, aloe is often combined with an herb like peppermint, which eases cramping. Prudent use would be to take aloe only for stubborn digestive disorders or an aggressive attach on intestinal bacteria, for a short term only. Aloe is not recommended for internal use by children, pregnant women, or the elderly.
*Aloe Sunburn Bath
If you ever get one of those flaming red sunburns, this recipe will save your skin and let you sleep at night. Make 2-4 bags of aloe tea and pour the tea into a cool bath. Soak in the aloe to take out the sting, activate healing and prevent moisture loss from your skin
*Properties; purgative, tonic, wound healer, soothes-tissues, anti-fungal, expels worms and parasites, promotes bile flow
References: 20,000 Secrets of Tea, Victoria Zak pages 73-75
Jyll Renee Master Herbologist (765-644-0312)
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