Aloe Vera - Aloe barbadensis
Also: Aloe ferox & Aloe perryi
Aloe vera gel is the viscous, colourless, transparent liquid from the inside of the leaf, and is used topically.
The juice is also used internally as a laxative.
Aloe vera gel consists primarily of water, polsaccharides, amino acids, lipids, sterols and enzymes.
* Gel used for external treatment of wounds, burns and skin inflammation. Clinical studies indicate that the gel promotes and accelerates wound healing by directly stimulating macrophage and fibroblast activity (Davis, 1994). The gel also hydrates, insulates and protects. It also has an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect because of a salicylate-like substance. Can be used following surgery to aid wound healing. Has been used traditionally for for allergies, eczema, abscesses, fungal infections and dermititis.
* Acemannan is the major carbohydrate fraction of the gel. Its therapeutic properties include acceleration of wound healing, inhibition of inflammation, and antiviral effects. It has also been shown to have antitumour activity. Acemannan has been shown to be an effective adjuvant in the vaccination of chickens against some avian viral diseases.
* Aloe is used as an ingredient in aquarium water conditioners.
* Used in the Middle East and Egypt as early as 1500 BC as a topical treatment for various conditions and as a cathartic (laxative). The juice (not the gel) is given as a laxative and the effect of aloe is generally not observed before 6 hours after oral administration, and sometimes not until 24 hours or longer after administration.
Fresh aloe vera gel is recommended for external use. Harvest leaves, and wash them with water. Remove the outer layers of the leaf, including the pericyclic cells, leaving a 'fillet' of gel. Care should be taken not to tear the green rind, which can contaminate the gel with leaf exudates. Some herbalists simply cut a leaf and send it home with the owner to make fresh cuts daily. The yellow gel in the pericyclic tubules is dried into a red black mass and is used internally as a laxative.
Dosage for Small Animals:
Fresh gel: may be applied topically as directed; when taken directly from a plant, the leaf should be cut lengthwise and the gel scraped out and applied.
Juice from leaf: 0.5-1.5mL per kg, divided daily
Acemannan: 15-30 mg/kg, divided daily
Tincture: 1:2-1:3:0.5 mL per 10kg, divided daily (optimally TID [3 times a day]) and diluted or combined with other herbs
Demulcent (forms a soothing film), vulnerary (used in healing or treating wounds), stimulant laxative.
A few reports of contact dermatitis and burning skin sensations have been documented following topical application of aloe vera gel to dermabraded skin in humans. Dried aloe is a cathartic (laxative). Milks (1949) claimed that large doses "congest the pelvic viscera, irritate the rectum, and may cause abortion." The Botanical Safety Handbook lists that as little as 1g given daily for several days has been reported to cause colon perforation, bleeding diarrhea, and kidney damage.
Aloe-containing products for constipation should be used only when no effect can be attained through diet change or the use of bulk-forming products. Stimulant laxatives should not be used when abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting is present, or in patients with intestinal obstruction or stenosis, atony, dehydration, or chronic constipation; nor should it be used for inflammatory intestinal disease (unlike the gel). It is also contraindicated in patients with cramps, colic, hemorrhoids, nephritis, or undiagnosed abdominal symptoms. Long-term use may cause dependence, electrolyte disturbances, and atonic colon.
Decreased intestinal transit time with aloe juice may reduce absorption of orally administered drugs.
Source: Wynn, S.G. & Fougere, B.J. (2007) Veterinary Herbal Medicine. Mosby Elsevier. Sydney
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