Amazing Aloe


by Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.

It is quite a paradox that home remedies are coming into their own, in view of the supertechnology that is engulfing medicine. Perhaps part of the reason is a backlash from the sophistication and impersonality of modern medicine, coupled with spiraling costs of everything, including medical bills and food. It has also been rediscovered that most ailments can be properly treated at home with good results, avoiding the exposures to communicable diseases in the physician’s office, and getting the satisfaction from shouldering the responsibility for one’s own ailments. It is quite a thrill to treat a disease or injury oneself and find the good result that comes from just ordinary care applied with logic and common sense.

One of the home remedies that is useful in many different types of ailments is that of Aloe Vera. The most used species is Aloe Barbadensis (Spanish Aa’vila). It resembles a cactus, but is actually a perennial succulent belonging to the Lily family. It has stiff lance shaped leaves with a sharp apex and spiny edges and blooms early in the spring. The flowers are tube shaped and yellow or red in color. Aloe vera belongs to the class of plants called “Xeroids” – so called because they can close their stomata (openings/pores) completely to avoid loss of water.

When a piece of the fleshy stem of the plant is cut off or broken off, the wound on the plant closes almost immediately. Also, the cut end of the stem closes to rem in water. It will remain green for several days and will keep in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.

Aloe Vera was used for centuries by the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, and Indians for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. The earliest recorded use is 1500 BC where Egyptian papers reported Aloe Vera applications for wounds, insomnia, stomach disorders, pain, constipation, hemorrhoids, itching, headache, loss of hair, mouth and gum disease, kidney ailments, blistering, skin care, sunburn, blemishes, etc. Also, in John 19:39 Aloe was used as a part of a mixture for anointing the body of Jesus after His death.

After much investigation in recent years, laboratories still cannot explain Aloe Vera's non-toxic potency. Today, it is used externally as shampoos, sunburn lot ions, and burn ointments as well as internally for many conditions. However, not everyone may be able to use it as some may be allergic to it. Before using aloe, it is important to rest yourself. Do this by applying some Aloe Vera externally behind the ear or back of the arm. If stinging or rash occur, discontinue its use.

One of the best known and most common uses of aloe is its application to burns. Every home should have an aloe plant growing in the kitchen, so that when someone gets burned, the burn can be immediately treated by rubbing a bit of the juice from the opened aloe leaf directly onto the burned area. If one is near the sink, the very first action should be that of cooling the burned place with cool or cold water, then drying gently and putting the aloe juice directly onto the burned area. We have seen remarkable results from the use of aloe both in pain control as well as in the regeneration of the skin from third degree burns.

In second degree burns blisters will be formed. These blisters will develop ammonia after several days and this ammonia is in irritating lo the tissues, and can increase the likelihood of extending the injury from the burn. It is well, therefore, to release the blister liquid so that ammonia will not accumulate. Nevertheless, it seems wise to keep the overlying skin of die blister intact, so that it can help to protect the area. Slitting the blister at one edge about one-quarter of its circumference allows the liquid to easily drain, but still allow the skin of the blister to act as a protective dressing. A light pressure bandage over the opened blister will prevent continued fluid formation, and enable the blister to heal promptly.

While I do not know of any double-blind studies that have been done on burns, there is enough folklore concerning the use of aloe for third degree burns to give me confidence that Aloe Vera is a good dressing for a third degree burn. We have treated several third degree burns that we felt would surely require skin grafting which healed without significant scarring. It may be that the active ingredient of aloe can act as a reversible substance for coagulated protein, and prevent extensive necrosis. I recall one case of a lady who had the skin hanging from her fingers alter beating out flames in her nightgown. I felt certain she would have four fingers on one hand and two on the other requiring skin grafting. She refused the offer of the surgeon for a skin grafting procedure, and steadfastly insisted on being bandaged with aloe. After three weeks, the burns were completely healed with only the shiny redness that occurs after burns. After a few months there was not the faintest indication that she had ever had a burn.

Aloe Vera is used for gastrointestinal problems. Nearly any affliction of the gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to the anus can be properly treated by Aloe Vera gel or juice. Aloe Vera liquid has a slightly stimulatory effect on the colon, although the substance causing diarrhea has apparently been removed in some preparations. If one takes a large quantity of Aloe Vera liquid or gel there is a possibility of getting mild diarrhea. For this reason Aloe Vera is helpful for constipation. Simply take an ounce or two once or twice daily along with a meal. The liquid is not unpleasant as a drink.

If one has peptic ulcers or gastritis, Aloe Vera liquid is one of the best treatments for it. It has a soothing and healing effect and can relieve pain, burning, and discomfort. For gas or acid formation, the use of Aloe Vera liquid can bring prompt relief. Hemorrhoids or fissures heal remarkably quickly with the use of aloe as a suppository, or rubbed on die outside.

Aloe Vera is a very good treatment for most skin afflictions from poison ivy to many eczemas. Simply rub the liquid or gel directly onto the area of dermatitis, or open a leaf of aloe and rub the gelatinous material from the interior of the leaf directly onto the skin. You may get the idea that the listing of the virtues of Aloe Vera sounds like the hawking of the wares of the medicine man. Just buy a small plant about 6 inches high and cultivate it to a beautiful, lush, cactus-looking house plant about three feet high. Try it on your family and friends, and you too will be impressed.

Source: From the June, 2015,
Uchee Pines Newsletter, "Emphasis: Your Health". You may subscribe to the Uchee Pines Newsletter here.