Aloe is a beautiful exotic plant, the flowers of which grow in umbels on the tops of the stalks, are of an elegant red colour, and appear in the months of August and September. It consists often species, all of which are propagated either by off-sets, or by planting the leaves. The proper earth for this vegetable, is one half of; mould, or fresh earth dug from a common; the other half consists of an equal proportion of white sea-sand, and sifted lime-rubbish. This mixture should be made, at least six or eight months previous to its use. The common aloe will live in a dry green-house in winter, and in summer may be placed under shelter, in the open air; but should have very little water, and none on the stem of the plant: the other species require to be kept in an airy green-house, in which stove to make a fire in cold weather.
Among the Mahometans, and especially in Egypt. the aloe is held in high estimation, and even dedicated to religious offices. These superstitious people believe, that it prevents evil spirits from entering their houses: for this purpose, both Christians and Jews place it over their doors; and whoever returns from a pilgrimage, exhibits it as an emblem of his having performed that holy journey.
Its properties are various; and applied to numerous purposes, both medicinal and domestic. The leaves of the -aloe, as described by M. AdamsoN, in his voyage to gal, are employed in making very good ropes, not liable to in the water.
In Mexico, there is a species of called the Maguci, which is applied to almost every purpose life. Besides making excellent hedges and inclosures for their trunk serves as. for the roofs of their house:, , and its leaves instead of tiles. From this plant, the natives paper, thread, needles, and various articles;of clothing, and cordge; while, from its copious juice, they extract vine, honey, sugar and Vinegar. Of thetrunk and thickest part of the leaves, when baked, they prepare an excellent di?h. It likewise employed by them in Several diseases, but especially in those of the urinar. passages.
In this country, aloe i pally known as a medicine in the an of an inspissated juice, consists of three, sorts : 1. the, or Socotrine Aloe; 2. the "Common; and 3. the Caballina, fetid or Horse Aloe. The first of these is the purest, and is brought from, the island of Socotora, wrapt in skins. It is of a glossy surface, and in some degree pellucid, of a yellowish-red colour, with a purple cast, and when reduced to powder, of a bright golden shade. In winter, it is hard and friable, but in summer pliable, and grows soft, when pressed between the fingers. Its taste is bitter, accompanied with an aromatic flavour; the smell is not unpleasant, and slightly resembles that of myrrh.
Aloe is considered as a good opening medicine for persons of a lax habit and those stomach loaded with phlegm or mucus, and also for worms because, while it carries off vis< id humours, it serves by its stimu-ig qualities to strengthen and 6e the system. :when small doses of a few grains, repeated at intervals, it not cleanses the alimentary canal, but so to promote the menstrual discharge in women : hence its use in the green sickness, and all female obstructions. We must, however, observe, that, though it be a good stomachic laxative, it ought to be employed with great precau-tion, being an acrid and heating therefore not proper complaints, or in a fe-he body. Its cc sometimes produces • and habitual cog:. When given in substance, without any mixture, it frequently adheres to the coats. of the intestines, where it occasions griping, and uneasiness for which reasons, and in order to destroy its viscid properties, it should be previously combined with some saponaceous or resolvent medicine, such as a small Quantity of alkaline salts, the ah egg, Castile soap, or mucilaginous vegetable extracts.
We have purposely given a more minute account of the medicinal effects of this plant, than the limits of our work will admit, on similar occasions: this exception, however, has not been made with a view to encourage the sale of those aloctic preparations, so generally known and vended, under the name of "Anderson's Pills;" Which, like most patent and quack medicines, have unquestionably contributed to increase the number patients among those credulous are frequently obliged to seek relief in public dispensaries and hospitals. Convinced of the mischievous tendency thence resulting to the community, we devoutly hope that the wisdom of the legislature will, at length, be ef-directed to the suppres-sion of those destrctuctive practices, the pretended success of which, we almost blush to say, is exultingly. ted in our daily prints . With respect to the economical purposes to which the aloe may be rendered subservient, we shall-in this place relate only the principal. It is asserted by an anonymous writer, in the Gentleman's Mag. for July 1754, that a varnish made of the extract of the hepatic aloe, turpentine, tallow, and while lead, or Spanish brown, when applied to the bottoms of ships, is the most effectual means of preserving them from the sea-worm : the discoverer remarks, that a plank covered with this mixture, was sunk with a proper weight and ropes, together with another in an unprepared state, both in an equal depth of salt-abounded ; and, upon raising them, after they had re re from five to eight months, the former was perfectly sound and untouched, while the latter was eaten to a ho-ney-eomb. This hint was adopted by a gentleman at Bermudas, who observed the inhabitants employ a few sliced leaves of the plants, from which the heatic aloe is extracted, in addition to the oil and tallow, which are boiled together, and used in careening their fishing-boate.
Another valuable property of the horse-aloe, beside its being an cx-:ht purgative for horses, is its bitter principle, Which renders it usefu1 in watery solutions, riot only for preserving tennts from the depredations of vermin and insects, but likewise preventing putrefaction in certain vegetable' and animal bodies, d birds, quadrupeds, etc. Proper care, however, should be taken, that solutions or mixtures made with aloe be not exposed to be swallowed. by dogs, cats, or other domestic ani-rhals, as to them the consequences; would be fatal.
Several species of i fid plant have also been employed for manufactuuring a clothg, resembling linen in its texture, and papet of various quality. CLUSIUS made shirts of it ; d, and BOURgo'ing, in his travels through Spain, informs us, that the ; that country manufacture bridles fromm the filaments of aloe-leaves. MiNasi, an produced from rent kinds of coarse and fine paper.
Lastly, we find, in the "Experiments and Observations" published by Poerner, a creditable German Writer, in 17/2, that a watery decoction, made of the resinous gum of the aloe, without any farther addition, produces a beautiful dark cherry-brown colour on woollen-cloth, by simple immersion. This fad may be easily ascertained by dyers.
Aloe. - According to M. Fabbroni (Annales de Chimie, vol. 25), the leaves of the Socotrine Aloe afford a beautiful violet colour, which resists the action of oxygen, acids, and alkalies. He directs the juice to be extracted from the fresh leaves, and then exposed to the air: thus, the liquid will become gradually red, and at length be converted into a deep violet purple, which is peculiarly calculated for dyeing silk, a stuff that readily imbibes the colour without the aid of mordants. - M. F. observes, that such juice may also be inspissated; in which state it forms a beautiful transparent colour, for painting in miniature.