PART USED: Leaf
PROPERTIES: Alterative, Adaptogenic, Vulnerary, Cathartic (flow of bile, intestinal), Laxative, Demulcent, Emollient, Emmenagogue, Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Tonic (immune), Antibacterial, Antifungal, Pectoral
SYSTEMS AFFECTED: Respiratory, Digestive (colon), Integumentary (skin), Immune
POSSIBLE USES: minor burns, sunburns, stretch marks, wounds, as a laxative, diabetes, bacterial and viral infections, asthma, digestive problems
Aloe Vera is widely valued for its ability to heal even the most severe burns and to soothe irritated skin. In fact, Aloe Vera is listed as effective for a very wide range of ailments. This always makes me a little bit skeptical, but in the case of Aloe Vera, most of the reports seem to be true.
Taken internally, Aloe Vera is a laxative and a regulator of bowel function. Some sources report that Aloe Vera is a strong purgative, causing a great deal of cramping. I have not found this to be true. Nevertheless, I would recommend caution with Aloe Vera during pregnancy. Some people have found it effective, in small quantities, in the healing of ulcers.
A series of studies referred to by Michael Murray in The Healing Power of Herbs show that Aloe Vera is effective against such difficult to treat bacteria as strains of Pseudomonas, Enterobacter, Streptococcus strains, Staphylococcus, and Candida albicans.
Another interesting study indicated that Aloe Vera was effective against feline leukemia—almost always fatal to cats that contract it—70% of the time. The most interesting studies that Murray quoted concerned the immune system enhancement properties of Aloe Vera. The effects recorded included increased enhancement of macrophage activity, the release of immune system potentiators, and the enhancement of T cell and interferon production. Clinical animal research shows promising results in sarcomas and other tumors.
The oral ingestion of Aloe Vera for at least 6 months has been shown to be effective in the treatment of asthma BUT the Aloe Vera extract was not effective in any way at all in all of the patients who were already dependent on steroids. For further information on this and other studies, please see The Healing Power of Herbs by Michael T. Murray, N.D.
Mesopotamia clay tablets dated to 1750 B.C. indicate that Aloe Vera was being used for medicinal purposes at that time. The Greeks were aware of Aloe Vera and it was used in Greece as early as 79 years A.D.