Common names: Aloe, aloe vera, Barbados aloe
Latin name: Aloe vera (formerly A. barbadensis)
Part used: Leaf gel and juice
Medicinal uses: Aloe is helpful for first-degree burns, cuts and abrasions, poison oak and wound healing when used externally. Taken internally, aloe may improve digestion, stomach ulcers and other ailments.
Forms commonly used: Aloe gel is used in sunscreens, lotions and other personal-care products. The juice is sold in bottles and in bulk at health-food stores.
Side effects: Although the herb is generally safe, external use of the gel may delay wound healing following abdominal surgery. Taking more than the recommended dose of the gel internally may produce a laxative effect.
Notes: Steven Foster calls aloe “America’s number-one folk remedy.” For any skin trauma, just cut an aloe leaf in half lengthwise and apply the gel directly to the skin. This succulent perennial is native to Africa; in the United States, it’s grown commercially in southern Texas. Aloe is a good remedy for poison oak because it’s safe to use around the eye area. Many people like to mix aloe juice with fruit juice before drinking, to improve the flavor.
Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!LEARN MORE