Vera - Aloe
vera syn. Aloe barbadensis
succulent prickly leafed perennial, flowering with
a spike of orange or yellow flowers. The leaves
contain a clear gel, which is well known in its
use as a soothing skin remedy. The clear gel is
a valuable and effective healer of wounds and burns
- speeding up the rate of healing, and providing
a protective coating to the wound, and reducing
the risk of infection. The base of the leaves exudes
a bitter yellow liquid which when dried is known
as "bitter aloes" and is commonly used
as a strong laxative for treating short-term constipation.
Unlike the soothing clear gel from the upper parts
of the leaves, the bitter yellow liquid from the
base of the leaves should not be used on the skin.
vera has enjoyed a long history as a skin lotion
and Cleopatra is said to have attributed her beauty
to it. Native to Africa, Aloe is now a popular pot-plant
throughout the world and makes a useful 'living-first-aid-kit'
for cuts, grazes, burns, scalds, sunburn and skin
irritations - in an emergency, a small part of the
leaf can be broken off and the clear gel applied
neat to the affected area. The clear gel is an emollient
and is wonderfully soothing and astringent - it
contains polysaccharide, which helps the skin retain
mositure, and aloectin B which stimulates the immune
system, in turn encouraging healing and promoting
the growth of healthy new skin cells.
Do not take internally during pregnancy or whilst
breast-feeding. Do not use the bitter yellow juice
on skin. Do not take if suffering from haemorrhoids
or kidney disease !