Lily of the Desert

Common names: Aloe vera, aloe, burn plant, lily of the desert, elephant’s gall

Latin names: Aloe vera, Aloe Vera, Aloe barbadensis

Aloe is one herb that could probably lay claim to being America’s number one folk remedy.

Aloe is a succulent perennial of the lily family native to Africa and commercially grown in southern Texas and Mexico. The leaf contains a gooey gel; the outer leaf tissue produces a bitter yellow juice, known as drug aloe, once a widely used laxative.

Aloe Vera as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

aloe vera plantAloe gel has been for more than 2,500 years to treat inflammation – and still is. The fresh gel is also widely used as a folk medicine for minor burns and sunburn as well as minor cuts and scrapes. It’s a good idea to keep some aloe gel on hand – at all times, and everywhere you go. This skin gel is made from fresh 92 percent aloe vera extract. Approved by California certified organic farmers (CCOF).

Organic Skin Care

Organic skin care makes use of several different types of plants, extracts, herbs, flowers, and natural oils. Some of the problems they can help with are dark circles, wrinkles, and pimples. The overall effect of organic skin care products is younger and healthier looking skin. Aloe vera, lavender, jojoba, olive oil, and Rosemary are now regular ingredients in many organic skin care products. Many newer products use the special qualities of these herbs and herbal extracts.

Modern clinical use of aloe gel began in the 1930s, but there was no conclusive evidence of its effectiveness. However, recent studies have documented that aloe gel does promote wound healing.

Aloe gel penetrates injured tissue, relieving pain and inflammation and dilating capillaries, which increases blood supply to the wound. This speeds up the healing process.

Aloe gel can be obtained from the living plant. It is an ingredient in many sunscreens, skin creams, lotions, and other cosmetics. Some products boast of aloe content but contain too little to do any good.

The topical use of aloe gel or aloe gel products does not usually produce adverse reactions or side effects. However, there are reports of skin burning following dermal abrasion for removal of acne scars. Rare instances of contact dermatitis (rash) have also been reported.

Culinary Uses of Aloe Vera

The FDA has approved aloe vera as a natural food flavoring.

aloe gelThe green part of the leaf that surrounds the gel can be used to produce a juice or a dried substance called latex that is taken by mouth.

You can also find Aloe gel in beverages commonly sold as “aloe juice”. Aloe gel, mixed with water, citric acid, fruit juices, and preservatives is also marketed as “aloe juice”, touted as a digestive aid or a remedy for arthritis, stomach ulcers, diabetes, and other conditions. Aloe juice comes in various concentrations; highly concentrated products degrade readily.


An aloe plant in your house is said to guard against evil influences and accidents.

Magickal Properties: Protection, luck. Aloe is a feminine plant associated with the Moon and the element of Water.


  • Use of topical aloe vera is not associated with side effects.
  • Taking more than the recommended dose of aloe juice may produce a laxative effect.
  • Abdominal cramping and diarrhea have been reported with oral use of aloe vera.
  • People with diabetes who use glucose-lowering medication should be cautious if also taking aloe by mouth because preliminary studies suggest aloe may lower blood glucose levels.

Read also: Aloe Vera as a Nutrient

Read More about: Herbs