Not all Aloes are benficial in the same way.

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by Chungii V, Jan 21, 2009.

  1. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Just thought I'd share this with you for sake of interest. Photo is of sap I got on my palm off Aloe broomii - Imagine what you'd look like if you rubbed the juice of this Aloe into your sunburn! :} It does only last about one day and fades pretty quick..
    I guess it still has a beneficial use as a dye? According to this site (http://www.plantzafrica.com/) it has these uses:
    To kill ticks and used as a dip for livestock, a disinfectant and a remedy for sheep.
     

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  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Yeeeg! This is why I've got my aloe collection limited down to A. arborescens and A. vera - nothing nasty like that will happen to me when I goonk the goo onto my frequent sunburns, I can just reach for the nearest plant.

    As a side-note, whenever anybody says "sheep dip" I always think of that Far Side cartoon where wolves are dipping sheep in ranch dressing.... Twisted? Why yes, yes I am.
     
  3. markinwestmich

    markinwestmich Active Member

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    The title of the thread says it all. There are hundreds of different aloe species, however, only a relative few are well-known for their medicinal properties. Some, I am sure, may have medicinal properties yet to be discovered. What little reading I have done on the subject would suggest that "not all aloes are beneficial in the same way."

    Having said all of that, I have had the opportunity to grow several species of aloe over the years. Friends and relatives visiting my home will often comment on how they have treated this or that with Aloe vera. However, the same people did not recognize the fact that what they were looking at were a collection of several different species...as if all aloes were Aloe vera, despite some plants appearing quite different from each other. I could easily see someone breaking off a piece of an aloe, rubbing it on a wound, only to have some adverse effects.

    My version of a public service announcement ; )

    Mark
     
  4. JenRi

    JenRi Active Member

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    I know what you mean, I myself bought a random succulent from a church sale a few months ago because it looked vaguely aloe-ish and then got excited when I asked on here and it was identified as an Aloe 'aristata', not realising that it actually didn't have the same famous medicinal properties of the aloe vera plant. I still don't have an aloe vera plant as I find places tend to overcharge because they're so popular,silly when they're so easy to get! Interestingly enough I have an Aloe ferox, which doesn't look like your classic aloe plant....it even has nasty looking red spines to boot but apparentely has a wider range of medicinal properties than the aloe vera, can't remember all of them but digestion was certainly one!
     
  5. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    I've seen Aloe health drinks and wondered how they'd taste? Anyone tried one?
    I was one of those there's only Aloe vera people once; I've got about 40 (out of over 300) or so species now. I think I've mentioned before that my favourite would have to be Aloe dichotoma, one of the tree aloes (though mine is still a sapling by any means). I like the diversity in the Genus, from tiny little clumps to whopping great trees and everything in between even climbers like my A. ciliaris.
     
  6. JenRi

    JenRi Active Member

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    Me too, although I don't know much about it by any means. Along with the other two, I also have A.humilis (my newest addition) think I'm going to end up collecting them, they're just so interesting! Think I want a blackish coloured one next...
     
  7. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Aloe is a popular drink down here; it's bitter and tonic the way we prepare it, so vendors normally add a "flavour shot" to help with the palatability issues...
     
  8. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    It's actually sold commercially here in the supermarkets, I'd imagine from the smell of the plants it'd be VERY bitter if drunk naturaly. Hey, if tequila is made from agave does aloe produce alcoholic drink? Is that what you mean by tonic?
    JenRi Try get a hold of Aloe 'Black Gem' it's a dwarf variety which colours up nicley as do A. mitriformis, A. bakerii or A. 'Chocolate' but the latter are not as dark. (Don't know how you'll go with availabilty though). It's a bit harsh but I find I need to stress the plants to get full colour as a healthy aloe will tend to be green. It does come and go with season somewhat too, probably more if I had real seasons..
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
  9. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Tonic is the herbalist's way of saying "it's bitter as heck" - however, bitters are extremely good for the stomach and liver, and stimulate proper bile production. Hence, they don't sweeten Aloe juice here, they just add another flavour to distract from the bitterness. Once you've gotten used to it, it's actually a very pleasant drink.

    Here, it's normally sold hot by street vendors as a nighttime drink after you've overindulged in the richer of the country's typical fare.

    Tequila, yes, is made from blue agave. Aloe can be used to produce alcohol, but aloe sap is so lacking in sugar that it always needs to be added, so most people here just make Agave punto (hommade A. americana liquor) with lime and cinnamon. IMHO, it's better than Mexian tequilas, largely because there is none of that sulfury kick.
     
  10. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    Thanks (again) Lorax :}
    Okay now I have to ask this.
    I, and a few others I've seen, have gotten real bad blistering from getting agave sap on exposed skin while removing mature specimen. I don't often get reactions at all (I play with my Euphorbia with no real concerns). Now the one I moved was an A. desmetiana and the others were A. americana and A. angustifolia that I remember people showing me that caused their rash.
    Sorry I'm veering off the subject a little now, but it's not really mentioned a lot in books. I had seen it happen to others before me, my own ignorance lead to me into thinking "It's never happened to me before". I figured those who had reactions must have sensitive skin, until I moved one that had flowered in my own yard and ended up with blistered arms (and it burned too then bacame somewhat itchy. Very uncomfortable) It's not something like the Euphorbia where it's absolutely drummed into a person how caustic the sap can be (at least not here).
    My question is, how does the sap affect the making of drinks from the plant?
     
  11. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Here's what I want to know.
    Seems like aloe is an ingredient in every product these days. So...where are these vast aloe plantations? I look at my A. veras and estimate the amount of juice that could be squeezed from one of their leaves...multiply that by ten BAJILLION bottles of skin lotion, sunblock, etc., etc....
    Somewhere there have to be fields of aloe stretching, as Buzz Lightyear would say, to infinity and beyond. Where are they?

    Something else I'd like to know. Just how big can these plants get? Saw some aloe leaves for sale at my local Meijer store in the "ethnic produce" section---dimensions of these leaves was about 5-6" at base and a foot long. Holy spiky succulent, Batman! How long do these aloe TREES take to grow to that size? ---Would like to see a photo of these aloe forests.

    Or...is the listed ingredient in all these products an artificially manufactured aloe substitute...? (And my co-workers wonder why I seem distant at times. I'm visualizing aloe forests, far far away.)
     
  12. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    I have A. barbadensis syn A. vera in ground the main plant has maybe 2+ foot leaves. It is the main one used as far as I know and see written on the bottles etc. You'd get a lot from one parent and the amount of pups produced is pretty high.
    I can't say I've been to an Aloe plantation but I have been to a Ti-tree oil plantation. (which by the way is made from Melaleuca species technically making it "Paperbark Oil") There's one close to here and it's pretty interesting. Sadly the owner died from an accidental spilling of Gromoxone (restricted and quiet toxic pesticide). The whole process from planting to producing the oil was performed on the farm then sold at a ridiculously cheap price to bigger companies to be bottled and sold at an even more ridiculous profit :{ There's even a Lavender plantation an hours drive away, doesn't seem to be overly large though.

    CHECK OUT THESE TREES (I have both of these but they are barely 4 foot tall, grown from seed nearly 5 years ago.) The first link/photo is what an Aloe forest would look like I guess:}
    Aloe dichotoma:
    http://made-in-afrika.com/aloes/Aloe.dichotoma.habitat.jpg
    Aloe barberae:
    http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Asphodelaceae/Aloe_bainesii.html
     
  13. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Chungii - Blistering is only likely after the agave has bloomed, because the main sugars that are normally present in the sap of the agave undergo a change and become simple acids and ketones, which are not friendly to skin. Likewise with the sap of the stems from mature specimens. Drinks made from agave normally use the sap of the crown (the as yet folded leaf bud), which are highest in the sugars and lowest in the acids and ketones.

    Togata - There are aloe plantations down here, as I imagine there are in many of the countries where aloe is eaten heavily.
     
  14. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Holy Smoke! ---Or maybe Holy Sap! Thanks, Chungii, for the photos. Wow! I had no idea aloes could be trees! The mind boggles. Like something out of Gulliver's Travels. Whoa! ---Would love to smell that lavender plantation. And thanks for the info, lorax. I shoulda known there'd be aloe plantations in Ecuador!

    Wonder if there are aloe lobbyists in Washington, D.C....? Is this crop grown in the US? And if not, why not? Inquiring minds want to know!
     
  15. Chungii V

    Chungii V Active Member

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    That'd be right because that's when people (like myself) have removed the plant after or during flowering before the bulbils set. Hmmmm, a posthumous defence system, as if the spikes aren't enough to deal with.
     

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