Common: barbados aloe
Latin: aloe vera
Aloe grows very extremely well in the tropical climate of Belize. At Lower Dover Field Station it is found in a large cluster on top of the Mayan temple near the library. It has formed a dense thicket since the original plant was planted 10 years ago, and there are now over 200+ individual plants. We have transplanted some of the aloe to each cabana hoping to form additional clusters. It’s commonly known as a treatment for burn relief, especially used in lotions for sun protection. The pure aloe juice obtained directly from the plant is sticky and leaves a yellowish residue that will stain clothes if the skin is not properly cleaned after use.
Description: from Plants and Health by A.C. SAS
“Aloe is a small fleshy herb that grows 30-60cm in height. It is short-stemmed, with narrow white-green leaves. Each leaf is juicy and contains a strong smell. It has red-purple flowers which grow from a long raceme growing from the middle of the plant. It propagates by seed, showing up as young leaf clusters near the base of the plant.”
Parts used: Leaves, pulp, and sap.
Traditional Mayan use: from Rainforest Remedies by Rosita Arviga
“The juice has been used as a purgative since Biblical times. For this purpose, 1 leaf (15 cm), is mashed and soaked in a cup of water for 20 minutes, then strained and drunk. This also serves as a tonic for the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and stomach. WARNING: Aloe juice might be harmful when taken internally in excessive doses.
Aloe juice is considered an excellent external remedy for burns, sunburns, rashes, bed sores, diaper rash, hemorrhoids, boils, fungus, and to reduce scarring by liberally applying the juice to affected areas.
To prevent hair loss, a fresh leaf is mashed and applied to the scalp for 7 to 10 days.
For black skin spots, fresh leaf juice is applied daily until the condition improves.”