With a name meaning “fierce” in Latin, the aloe ferox lives up to the reputation. Do not let the beautiful, tubular orange flowers that sprout from the top of the plant fool you. Covered in long, sometimes red-tinged leaves and wielding sharp teeth around and on the surface of the leaf, this plant is a powerful member of the succulent family. The aloe ferox is a bitter plant, its single stem covered in dried leaves that, when alive, produce a strong sap. From aloe leaves, a bitter brown exudate, or sap, as well as a colorless gel can be extracted–both of which have great healing power.
Although similar to the aloe vera, the aloe ferox differs in important ways. Aloe ferox produces 20 times more sap than the aloe vera; it’s nutrient concentrations also outshine those of its more commonly known relative. Often overshadowed by the lesser aloe vera, aloe ferox has medicinal properties and health benefits that deserve attention.
The Many Health Benefits of the Aloe Ferox
The Bitter Exudate: Best known for its use as a laxative, the brown sap of the aloe ferox is also credited for its role in preventing cancer, boosting the immune system, and treating viral infections. Reducing arthritis pain may be another one of the bitter sap’s abilities.
Cape aloes is a laxative drug prepared from this leaf exudate. The ancient method used for collecting the brown sap for this purpose is still used today in South Africa, where the aloe ferox grows. Leaves are cut from the aloe ferox and placed around a well; the exudate then drips down into the well from the cut edges of the plant. After the sap is concentrated and dried, the medicine, which is a dark, shiny crystalline chunk, is made and ready for use.
Due to the active ingredients in aloe ferox, products containing the plant should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The laxative effect of the aloe ferox come from anthrauinones, which may stimulate uterine contractions and be toxic to young children.
Aloe Gel: Gathered from the inside of the aloe ferox leaf, aloe gel is used in a variety of ways: from cosmetic products to food supplements and herbal remedies. Due to the glycoproteins in the gel, it is also has similar uses to aloe vera: wound healing. Because the aloe ferox gel is moist and sticky, it can help insulate and hydrate wounds, helping to heal them. The medicinal gel can be applied topically on the skin or prepared and taken orally.
Research has also uncovered aloe gel’s ability to ward off tumors and strengthen the immune system; it has also been found to have antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Aloe Ferox Juice: That’s right, there is also a juice component. The juice from the aloe ferox may help lower cholesterol and fight diabetes, according to studies.
But the aloe ferox is greater than the sum of its parts. All the nutritional elements of the plant combine to create the amazing health effect we see here.
Pat Corrigan says
I want to use the aloe ferox gel topically on my cat to stop her chewing off the hair on her tummy and legs. Is it safe to use?
Should be safe in the proper dosage… if you go above it, it will cause purging (i.e. the runs). problem is getting animals to eat bitters. might have more luck hiding it inside a gelatin capsule.
Pat asked about topically putting it on her cat. I have the same problem with my dog. She scratches her belly right above (but not on) her genitals violently but hasn’t broken skin (yet)/ no fleas or even flaking skin. She just started itching.
rosemond owusu says
does it mean the gel can shrink or treat fibroids
Katlego Isabella Motsamai says
I suffer from acne and I was wondering if aloe ferox could heal it.