The Inspissated Juice of the Leaves of Aloe Spicata, Aloe Vulgaris, Aloe Perfoliata, Aloe Socotrina, and other species of Aloe. Nat. Ord. Liliaceae. Linn. Syst. Hex-andria Monogynia. Source, Barbadoes, the Cape of Good Hope, the Island of Socotra, the Peninsula of India, &c. Seven varieties are described by Pereira. The British Pharmacopoeia includes two kinds of Aloes: -
- Barbadoes Aloes. - The inspissated juice of the leaf of Aloe Vulgaris. Imported from Barbadoes.
- Socotrine Aloes. - The inspissated juice of the leaf of one or more undetermined species of Aloe. Usually procured from Socotra.
Med. Prop. and Action. Aloes, in doses of gr. ij - vj., is a stimulating purgative, its activity depending upon a peculiar extractive matter, Aloesin, readily soluble in water, but nearly insoluble in Alcohol and Ether. Its operation is particularly directed to the rectum and lower intestines, and it is administered with a view of stimulating, not only these viscera, but also the neighbouring organs, particularly the uterus. In this manner, it occasionally proves emmenagogue. It has been asserted that Aloes does not act specifically upon the lower intestines, but that its operation on these parts is owing to its slow solubility, its action not being evident until it has passed into and become dissolved in this portion of the intestine; but this cannot be entirely the case, as, if Aloes be applied to an ulcer or excoriated surface, it acts as a brisk purgative, producing stools of the same character as if administered internally. As a purgative, it is particularly adapted for use in Chlorosis, Amenorrha, and atonic states of the uterine system, in accumulations of fAeces in the rectum and lower intestines, and in persons of a leucophlegmatic temperament. Aloes appears to exercise a marked influence over the venous system of the abdominal and pelvic organs. To this are due the increased flow of bile, the disposition to hAemorrhoids and irritation of the rectum, and the vascular excitement of the sexual organs which have been observed to follow its administration. Socotrine Aloes is said to be less likely to occasion hAemorrhoids than Barbadoes, but experiments have not demonstrated much difference in the effects of the different kinds of Aloes on man. Hepatic Aloes has been omitted from the British Pharmacopoeia as possessing no advantages over the Barbadoes and Socotrine. The two latter both contain the same crystalline principle (aloine), but the Barbadoes contains a much larger amount of matter insoluble in water. It has been asserted that the insoluble or so-called resinous matter in Aloes is the more irritating constituent, and that the watery extracts are, therefore, safer and milder in their operation than Aloes itself. From Dr. Garrod's experiments, however, on the watery extract of Socotrine Aloes it appears that the so-called resin is a feeble agent, and that the watery extract whilst it is a more powerful negative causes much more griping than the resinous insoluble matters* In small doses, Aloes acts as a tonic to the alimentary canal, assisting digestion, promoting secretion and stimulating the muscular coat.
* Mat. Med. vol. i. 1782 Prov. Med. Surg. Journ. Feb. 13, 1841.
Edin. Med. Journ April, 1862.
(Aloes grs. xl.; Carb. of Potash grs. xv.; Mucilage of Starch, fl. oz. x.)
The Officinal Preparations in which Barbadoes Aloes is prescribed are: -
Dose, gr. ii. - gr. x.
ij.; Hard Soap oz. j.; Oil of Caraway fl. drm. j.; Conf. of Roses oz. j.) Dose, gr. v. - xv.
The Officinal Preparations in which Socotrine Aloes is prescribed are: -
Dose, gr. ii. - gr. x.
Aloes oz. j.; Assaftida oz. j.; Hard Soap oz. j.; Conf. of Roses oz.j.) Dose gr. v. - xx.
ij.; Myrrh oz. j.; Saffron oz. ss.: Conf. of Roses oz. iiss.). Dose, gr. v. - xx.
ij.: Hard Soap oz. j; Vo'. Oil of Nutmeg fl. drm. j.; Conf. of Hoses oz. j.). Dose, gr. v. - xv.
ss.; Ext. of Liquorice oz. iss.; Proof Spirit Oj.). Dose, fl. drm, j. to fl. drs. ij. or fl. drs. iv.
Benzoini Comp. (See Benzoinum.)
jss; Cardamoms grs. lxxx.; Ginger grs. lxxx.; Sherry Oij.). Dose as a stomachic fl. drm. j. - fl. drs. ij. Purgative fl. drms. iv. - fl. drs. xij.
(Ext. of Socot. Aloes grs. xc.; Myrrh grs. lx.; Saffron grs. lx; Carb. of Potash grs. xl.; Ext. of Liquorice oz ss.; Comp. Tr. of Cardam. fl oz. iv.; Distilled Water to fl. oz. xvj.) A mild Cathartic Antacid and Emmenagogue. Dose, fl. oz. ss. - fl. oz. ij.
* Med. Times and Gazette, Feb. 6, 1864.