Benefits Of Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) For Health

Benefits Of Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) For Health


Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox)


Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) is known as other names: Aloe africana, Aloe arborescens, Aloe barbadensis, Aloe Capensis, Aloe ferox, Aloe frutescens, Aloe Gel, Aloe indica, Aloe Latex, Aloe Leaf Gel, Aloe natalenis, Bitter Aloe, Cape Aloe, Tap Aloe, Aloe Perfoliata, Aloe perryi, Aloe spicata, Aloe supralaevis, Aloe ucriae, Aloe Vera...

Aloe ferox, also known as bitter aloe, can often grow up to a height of 10 feet (3 meters) and is found growing on rock-strewn hills, green fynbos (scrublands in South Africa) as well as on the periphery of the Karoo (the semi-desert areas in the Western Cape Province of South Africa). The physical appearance of the plants growing in different areas may vary owing to the conditions prevailing in those regions. Aloe ferox bears thick and succulent leaves which are displayed in a rosette formation. The margins of the leaves have spines that are reddish-brown. The spines are relatively small on the lower and upper surfaces of the leaves. The plant bears red or orange hued blooms, which stand two to four feet (0.61 to 1.2 meter) over the leaves. The name of this species ‘ferox’ denotes ‘ferocious’ referring to the plant’s thorny leaves.

Benefits Of Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) For Health
Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) Picture

Aloe ferox plants are very succulent and they preserve water in their plump leaves. As a result, plants of this species are able to flourish even in environments where availability of water is low. In addition, Aloe ferox plants can develop even in rock beds as well as in various harsh terrains without any difficulty. On the other hand, they also grow well in damp environments.

A flower head akin to that of large candelabra holds the Aloe ferox flowers. Usually, a rosette comprises five to eight branches and each of them carries a spiny flower head comprising several flowers. The plants bloom during the period from May to August, but the flowering season may be somewhat deferred till September in South African regions, where weather conditions are comparatively colder. The rosette-like formation of the Aloe ferox flowers is extremely ornamental and it draws many species of birds like sunbirds, glossy starlings, weavers and mousebirds. Several different insects also flock these flowers, consequently attracting additional feathered friends to your garden. Aloe ferox is a wonderful ornamental garden plant and this species possesses the aptitude to adapt to various conditions.


Benefits Of Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) For Health


Aloe ferox is an extremely familiar plant, especially for its therapeutic qualities. The sap of this plant is employed in the form of a laxative. Commonly known as bitter aloe, this plant has been used for medicinal purposes for more than two centuries.

Cape aloe or Aloe ferox is highly regarded for its superb remedial qualities. In some South African regions, people harvest the juice (sap) of bitter aloe which is found just underneath the plants’ skin. For over two centuries, people have been harvesting it in the form of a renewable source. 

The stems yield a black, hard and resinous product that is called aloe lump, which is mostly used for its purgative qualities. In addition, this sap is also taking for treating arthritis.

Benefits Of Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) For Health
Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox)

Having its origin in Africa, Aloe ferox is well-known for its outstanding therapeutic properties and is a natural colon cleanser. Aloe ferox is known to be the most potent as well as effective natural purgative and colon cleanser and most stimulating herb available for cleansing the colon. Altogether there are over 400 aloe species and Aloe ferox or bitter aloe is the tallest herb among them. It is found growing naturally in a number of areas in South Africa, especially the Cape Region. Although people are more familiar with another aloe species called aloe vera for its wonderful therapeutic properties, Aloe ferox not only yields additional bitter sap (about 20 times more), but also contains an elevated level of nutrients.

Medicinally, Aloe ferox is mostly used in the form of a laxative. When used commercially, therapeutic products made from Aloe ferox are called bitter ferox instead of Aloe ferox. It may be noted here that purgatives are used to wash out the intestines and also to encourage bowel movements. In 2004, Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutic published a study undertaken by L. Langmead that examined the action of aloe ferox on people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is believed that ingestion of Aloe ferox for a period of four weeks is likely to alleviate the symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome.

But most people use aloe gel topically, as a remedy for skin conditions including burns, sunburn, frostbite, psoriasis, and cold sores. Some people also use aloe gel to help surgical wounds and bedsores heal faster. There is some science supporting these uses. Some chemicals in aloe gel seem to be able to increase circulation in the tiny blood vessels in the skin, as well as kill bacteria. Together, these effects suggest that aloe gel might be effective in speeding wound healing. But it’s too early to come to that conclusion. Evidence is contradictory. One study suggests that aloe gel may actually delay wound healing. The best thing about Aloe ferox is that this herb can be applied to all skin types, including those that are extremely sensitive, as it is not only natural, but mild too.

In addition, it has been found that cape aloe is highly effective in lessening the size as well as diminishing the appearance of pockmarks and scratches. You can also use cape aloe to heal scars left by acne, stretch marks, burn scars and several other such problems.

Aloe ferox may be used in the form of a detoxifier too. Similar to all other things that have a ‘rinsing out’ action, it works as an excellent detoxifier. However, you need to be careful while using Aloe ferox, as its excessive use internally may result in diarrhea. When you are using Aloe ferox internally to treat any health problem, you should begin by using it in small doses in order to enable your body to gradually adjust itself to the treatment schedule.

Some people take aloe latex by mouth, usually for constipation. Less often, aloe latex is used orally for epilepsy, asthma, colds, bleeding, absence of menstrual periods, colitis, depression, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, bursitis, osteoarthritis, and glaucoma and other vision problems. But taking aloe latex by mouth is likely unsafe, especially at high doses. There is some concern that some of the chemicals found in aloe latex might cause cancer. Additionally, aloe latex is hard on the kidneys and could lead to serious kidney disease and even death.

It is worth mentioning here that Aloe ferox encloses more than 30 different amino acids, which are considered to be essential elements of our body. Amino acids facilitate the cells in our body to grow in a proper manner as well as to refurbish themselves. In addition, amino acids also form a vital ingredient for producing the essential antibodies, enzymes and hormones.

Benefits Of Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) For Health
Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) Picture

Cape Aloe (Aloe Ferox) Special Precautions and Warnings


Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Aloe -- either gel or latex -- is possibly unsafe when taken by mouth. There is a report that aloe was associated with miscarriage. It could also be a risk for birth defects. Do not take aloe by mouth if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Children: Aloe is possibly unsafe for children when taken by mouth. Children younger than 12 years old may experience abdominal pain, cramps, and diarrhea.

Diabetes: Some research suggests aloe might lower blood sugar. If you take aloe by mouth and you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely.

Intestinal conditions such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, or obstruction: Do not take aloe latex if you have any of these conditions. Aloe latex is a bowel irritant. Remember, products made from whole aloe leaves will contain some aloe latex.

Hemorrhoids: Do not take aloe latex if you have hemorrhoids. It could make the condition worse. Remember, products made from whole aloe leaves will contain some aloe latex.

Kidney problems: High doses of aloe latex have been linked to kidney failure and other serious conditions.

Surgery: Aloe might affect blood sugar levels and could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop taking aloe at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.