Thursday, 30 January 2014
Aloe ferox - a healing wonder
Aloe ferox (also known as Bitter Aloe) is a plant indigenous to one province in South Africa, and nowhere else on earth! There are over 100 species of aloe in South Africa, but Aloe ferox is the one that had been used by the indigenous people long before the arrival of Europeans to what is now the Cape Province.
Unlike most aloe vera products, aloe ferox never has to be filtered and thus retains all the natural present active ingredients. The bitter aloe is most famous for its medicinal qualities. In parts of South Africa, the bitter yellow juice found just below the skin has been harvested as a renewable resource for two hundred years. The hard, black, resinous product is known as Cape aloes or aloe lump and is used mainly for its laxative properties but is also taken for arthritis.“Schwedenbitters” which is found in many pharmacies, contains bitter aloe.
The gel-like flesh from the inside of the leaves is used in cosmetic products and is reported to have wound healing properties. Interestingly Aloe ferox, along with Aloe broomii, is depicted in a rock painting which was painted over 250 years ago.