Mother Earth Living

Ancient Herbs, Modern Uses: Aloe

Aloes from biblical times are different from the aloe vera on your kitchen counter.
By James A. Duke, Ph.D.
December/January 2009
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From biblical times to the present, aloes have been giants among herbs and herbal medicine.

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Aloe vera, A. spp.
—John 19:39–40
Used for: Burns, constipation, cancer, skin irritations

The aloes of biblical times are very different from the aloe vera you keep on your kitchen counter. One variety of aloe (A. succotrina) produced an aromatic juice used in embalming in ancient Egypt. Aloe juice was included in incense, perfume, lotion and scented powder.

From biblical times to the present, aloes have been giants among herbs and herbal medicine. People commonly keep an aloe vera plant in their home for the instant and effective treatment of burns. Fresh aloe vera juice taken internally purges the stomach and lower intestines and relieves fevers. Externally, aloe juice, in gels with or without lanolin, treats abrasions, burns and skin irritations. When applied to open sores, aloe vera extract aids in healing, exhibiting anesthetic and antibacterial action, and increasing blood or lymph flow in the small vessels in the area.

Click here for the original article, Ancient Herbs, Modern Uses.

James A. Duke, Ph.D., is one of the world’s foremost authorities on botanical medicine. He is author of   The Green Pharmacy (Rodale, 1997) and Amazonian Ethnobotanical Dictionary (CRC, 1994). 

Adapted with permission from Herbs of the Bible: 2,000 Years of Plant Medicine by James A. Duke, Ph.D. 

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