Aloha Aloe Vera – The Medicine Plant
Aloha Aloe Vera
Aloes are prickly perennials found in the Lily family, these succulents brandish a multitude of fleshy tentacle like leaves often with spiny teeth lining the edges. In some remote parts of the world Aloes have been recorded growing as high as 20 meters but most measure less than a meter. Of the many varieties of Aloes, Aloe Vera renowned world-wide for its medicinal qualities, is a Hedge Witch necessity and will be the focus of our post.
Aloe Vera, Burn Plant, Medicine Plant
Aloe Vera has an ancient and storied history as a medicinal plant. It is believed that the Egyptians were the first to cultivate the plant for use in their embalming practices and the Greeks were well aware of its unique healing qualities as early as the 4th Century BC. Alexander the Great sought the plant to treat the wounds of his soldiers and Cleopatra secretly used it in her beauty regimen. It is also found in the Indian practice of Ayurvedic medicine.
The fleshy leaves of the Aloe contain a viscous juice which oozes when the leaf is cut. Aloe was Collected, often boiled down, condensed and solidified for distribution throughout the ancient world. A tiny, magical archipelago off the coast of Yemen called Socotra was the primary producer of the Aloe drug which was actively traded as a commodity in Europe as early as the 11th century AD.
Arguably Aloe Vera is the most well-known and esteemed medicinal plant in the world. Used to keep skin beautiful and healthy, Aloe Vera, is used in a multitude of modern cosmetics and hair care products and is best known for its ability to heal burns and minor wounds. Warning: do not use Aloe Vera on deep or puncture wounds and do not ingest. Aloe Vera is used as a topical application and has successfully treated dermatitis, psoriasis, frostbite, sunburn, radiation damage, minor cuts & abrasions, insect bites & stings, poison ivy, and skin ulcerations. The antifungal and antibacterial qualities of the plant helps to prevent infections and the anti-inflammatory components, glycoproteins and salicylates help stimulate skin and tissue growth. Vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc are also found in the plant that help accelerate the healing process and maintain healthy skin. It also provides pain relief for burns and cuts.
Aloe Vera is very easy to cultivate, and makes a great hedge or house plant requiring only occasional watering and adequate drainage. It should be noted that the cut leaves of the plant produce two saps. The outer skin of the Aloe leaf produces a greenish-yellow sap containing an irritant, latex-like compound known as Aloin which is used as a purgative for horses. The clear sap from the center of the leaf is what is used for topical healing.
Magical Lore: Aloe, thought to offer protection and good luck. You can wear the leaf as a talisman and hang it anywhere you wish to promote healing, peacefulness, protection and good luck. Grow it in the house to ward off accidents and burn it to attract a lover. Egyptian Muslims, regard the Aloe as a religious symbol, and hang Aloe over doorways for protection.
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