Thankfully I have friends and patients who keep me on my toes. When I am so caught up in one aspect of my work, without fail (and thankfully) one of them will ask or remind me of something I have overlooked or long forgotten.
Today my friend Mike, a media/promo guy from Sydney who has been battling CFS for some time, sent me a timely reminder on the humble aloe.
I was first introduced to aloe in my senior school years, when Alan Black brought out his own MLM range of products that blew most of us away. Unfortunately, his company went bust but not before he instilled in Australia at least, the value of the aloe plants that grow so freely around most continents, especially the warm ones.
When I was studying herbal medicine, one of the rules of thumb was that if a plant grows like crazy in any area, it is not only more beneficial but seems to be needed more in that area, for medicinal reasons.
During my nursing days, on one of my frequent trips to the city from Fitzroy Crossing, where I worked as a remote area nurse, I sat next to a lady known locally as Moondancer. The locals sadly thought she was weird – she was a biodynamic gardener and lived in a communal setting just out of town, on Quanbun Downs. Of course anyone who grew food that way automatically was seen as a moon worshipper – such is the warped power of ignorance. Anyway, she told me so much about the plant and how they didn’t have to do a thing – how beneficial it was to their health, the livestock and their composting.
Over the years I used it for everything – skin care, hair care, baby care, sickness and of course composting. But after studying one of the many subjects I sought, I was turned against it – something to do with not being beneficial for my blood type. So along with much of what I have learned over the years, it went into the useless basket, at least until my eldest daughter contracted chronic fatigue syndrome. I don’t know how much it contributed to her rapid recovery (well, rapid compared to most of the other sufferers I have come into contact with) but how odd now that I no longer use it, my own health took a turn for the worst, including an increase in pain and migraines.
So, while I go back to an old friend and check out the benefits once again – for my family and my patients, please take the time to read the following page – this family owned and run herbal company started out the same way mine did – due to the ‘miraculous’ healing of their father, by natural methods, when medicine had failed them.
It’s a brilliant read, and to satisfy all the trolls who seem bent on slandering pages that offer sound advice (money? egos? bored? mummy doesn’t love them?) yes, this one does have links on studies and scientific support.
No home herb garden should be complete without aloe vera. It simply grows itself. In colder climates, keep it in a warm glasshouse or conservatory. In the outback of Western Australia it grows as commonly and prolifically as any wild plant. In South Africa, the malumes without a wrinkle on their beautiful old faces, shared with me the stories of how they used it – not just in muthi (herbal medicine) but as a rub on painful areas. For some reason at the time it didn’t register, and I put it down to something else they must be adding.
But today I was reminded of a story Dad told me years ago. He and his brother as small kids, used to argue the point of how their parents got the ‘swallows’ into what they thought was called Oil of Swallows. In fact, it was oil of aloes and my nanna used to rub granddad’s arthritic joints with it.
As you will see with the above link, aloe gel has many uses. You can buy it in pill or liquid form. You can buy liniment-type rubs and it is part of many cosmetic lines. I’ve heard doctors and beauty therapists calling foul on the ‘bad effects’ of aloe, yet not once did they offer any proof of their claims, even when standing face-to-face with a person glowing with the good effects of aloe…
On the subject of home herb gardens, please take the time to print off this list, which was originally written for critics of my work, in my home town. We had brilliant herb gardens all over town but no one actually used them. What started as quite a hostile discussion, ended with many excited ladies planning to go home and actually use the bounty from their now-useful gardens.
The truth is, you have nothing to lose. No dangers here, no dangerous side effects (apart from a laxative effect which most people seem to need these days thanks to poor diets) but so much to gain. If you find that you have chronic pain, how about reaching for aloe next time rather than that strong analgesia.
So what are some known and effective – and SAFE anti inflammatories and analgesics?
See here for my favourite recommendations. The article focuses on chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia symptoms but as the pain quota in these invisible disorders is extreme and not manageable in medicine it shows just how effective they are.