Group Title: Olasee Davis articles
Title: Aloe vera Mother nature's comfort grows in V. I
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300919/00157
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Title: Aloe vera Mother nature's comfort grows in V. I
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Davis, Olasee
Publication Date: February 21, 1997
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Bibliographic ID: CA01300919
Volume ID: VID00157
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Island Life


The DaNewsFriday, Fahy21, ,17 17


Aloe vera: Mother nature's comfort grows in V.I.


Today, pharmaceutical compa-
nies are conducting studies on
many medicinal plants that our
grets- and eagre-grandparents
used many years ago
The traditional uses of medici-
nal plants were handed down oral-
ly from generation to generation,
Throughout the yeas, many of the
plants used for medicine were
being lost due to the lack of inter-
est by many young people.
This month, the University of
the Virgin Islands Cooperative
Extension Service published its
first book on medicinal plants
called, "Traditional Medicinal
Plants of S. Croix, St Thomas and
St. ohn."
Tbe book is one of the first to
document the uses of medicinal
plants in the Virgin Islands. The
documentation of this rich cultural
history is one way to make sure
that the medicinal uses of plants
will be passed on to our children.
The book also covers scientific
testing, traditional uses of plants
and die impact developments have
on the environment. Medicinal


plants that were once gathered
from the woods by our grandpar-
ents are o longer abundant, such
as the aloe vera plant/
Ancient Egyptians used aloe gel
in cosmetics. Some historians
claim Cleopatra's secret beauty
came from using the aloe plant.
The Egyptians also used aloe as a
natural cosmetic to clear skin
blemishes and to help the growth
of new, healthy tissue.
Throughout the ages, man has
received many benefits from the
curative powers of the juice of the
aloe plant
The jelly-like substance in the
fleshy leaves is helpful in the reat-
ment of thermal and radiation
bums. The juice also promotes a
rapid healing without leaving
scars.
Thee are also many teatimoni-
als on the efficacy of aloe vera
jelly in relieving the pain of insect
stings and borns.
When I had a cold, my mother
gave me aloe with a lile bit of salt
on the jelly in the morning just
before school. Believe me, that


"sempervivy" (the local name for
aloe) worked the cold out of my
system.
For internal use, trim stickers
from aloe leaves can and cut in
half lengthwise. Cut the clear gel
in pieces and briefly liquefy it in
an electric blender.
Some users take as much as 10I
ounces a day, but the quantity
taken should be regulated accord-
ing to the laxative effects on the
user. Aloe is a good stomach ulcer
treatment.
For external tse as a scratch,
cut, bun and sunburn treatment,
cut a two-inch cross-section and
remove the stickers. This portion
then may be halved and the gel can
be applied to the affected areas of
the skin. Use aloe to treat ring-


worm, inflamed joints, scalds,
boils, itchy allergic conditions and
stings.
Dr. Duke, a botanist and ecolo-
gist, is one of many scientists
researching the aloe plant,
For more than 5,000 years,
"practitioners of folk medicine
have extracted gel from the leaves
of This wonder plant to eat aslh-
ma, bruises, acne, colds, sore
throats and infertility," he said.
Numerous scientific studies
back up anecdotal evidence of aloe
vera effectiveness especially when
used externally.
Ethnobotanists are often
involved in the documentation of
plant remedies used in traditional
medicine.
Testing must be done in order
to evaluate the safety and efficacy
of therapeutic medicine practiced
by herbalists.
A pharmaceutical company in
Texas is in the final stages of test-
ing an aloe-derived oral capsule
treatment for ulcerative colitis and
is beginning to experiment with an
injectable form for six types of


cancer.
"Aloe triggers the release of
protein substances that regulate the
body's immune system and help it
fight off disease," said Dr. Ian
Tizard, professor of immunology
for Texas A&M University in Col-
lege Stlation, Texas.
Before you use a medicinal
plant, heed a few precautions. ndi-
viduals with hemorrhoids and
pregnant women should not take
aloe. Also, aloe may cause kidney
irritation.
The U.V.I. book, which I rec-
ommend to every island resident,
contains many more beneficial
uses of aloe and other Virgin
Islands plants.
The book will be available soon
at U.V.I. book stores on both cam-
puses, or call Clarice Clarke on St.
Croix at the extensive service at
692-4060.
Olasee Davis, who has a master
ofsciece degree in rmge manage-
meat and forestry ecology, is a St.
Craixecologist, activistandwrier.




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