This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
MEDICINAL PART. The inspissated juice of the leaves.
Description. -- The spiked aloe is an inhabitant of the southern parts of Africa, growing in sandy soil. The stem is woody, round, and about four feet high, and from three to five inches in diameter. The leaves are thick and fleshy, with a few white spots. Spike a foot long; flowers scarlet, and filled with purplish honey. This tree furnishes the Cape Aloes of commerce. There are other varieties, the A. Socotrina and the A. Vulgaris. The Socotrine aloes is an inhabitant of Socotra, and the Aloe Vulgaris is generally found in the East Indies and Barbary.
History. -- Aloes is of a deep brown or olive color; odor unpleasant, taste peculiar and bitter, powder a bright yellow. These properties change somewhat in the different varieties. It is almost completely dissolved in water.
Properties and Uses. -- Aloes is tonic, purgative, emmenagogue, and anthelmintic. As a laxative its applications are limitless. It acts chiefly upon the rectum, causing heat and irritation about the anus; it is therefore improper, unless associated with other medicines, to give it to patients suffering with piles. It promotes the menstrual flow, but when used for this purpose it had better be combined with myrrh. Its chief use is as a purgative, and it should never be given in inflammatory affections, in gastritis or enteritis, or to females liable to sudden uterine evacuation, or during pregnancy.
Dose. -- Two to ten grains in pill.