Also known as Aloe bardadensis and Aloe vulgaris, native of South and East Africa. Its medicinal use might have started from Egypt and the Middle East as early as 1750 BC or even earlier. It should not be confused with the American aloe (Agave americana). The African species is a succulent perennial plant with yellow flowers containing numerous compounds possessing biological activity, such as anthraquinones, aloin, emodin, resins composed of acid esters, polysaccharides, prostaglandins, etc.
- External healing. Wound healing, cuts, sunburn, skin irritations, etc, through the effect of polysaccharides in stimulating epidermal growth and repair, and nutrients such as zinc, vitamins C and E found in aloe.
- Internal healing. Peptic ulcers and other digestive ulcerations, through the reduction of the enzyme pepsin and limitation of stomach hydrochloric acid.
- Laxative effect. The compound aloin acts as a tonic of the digestive system, increasing colonic secretions and peristaltic contractions.
- Immune system enhancement. The polysaccharide acemannan is known to raise both the white blood cells and the production of interferon, against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. It has significant activity against HIV-1, influenza virus, measles virus and herpes simplex virus. In injectable form it has been approved for veterinary use for fibrosarcomas and feline leukemia.
Caution: It should not be used by pregnant women. Also, from laxative it can become a very powerful purgative, in fact painfully so, at higher dosages.