Aloes. Aloe socotrina.
- Aloin, resin, volatile oil.
- Aloinum, Aloin. This is a crystalline substance obtained from Aloes, of a yellowish-brown color; odorless and with the taste of Aloes. It is twice as active as Aloes and produces less griping. Dose, from two to five grains.
Physiological Action—It is not rapid or so severe in its action as some other cathartics. Given at bedtime it operates upon rising in the morning. The action is not painful, and it increases the alvine discharges without any increase of the watery constituents. It increases the circulation of the blood in the intestine, improves the muscular tone and restores normal peristaltic action.
Aloes acts most freely on the lower bowel. It increases the activity of the muscular coat of the intestines, increasing peristalsis, especially of the colon. It causes soft dark colored feces. It is not to be used when there are hemorrhoids, or when there is irritation or inflammation of the colon, or pelvic organs, nor should it be freely used in pregnancy.
It increases the secretion of the liver, pancreas, and intestinal glands; also the mucous glands of the intestines. It causes some griping when given as a laxative, but belladonna, colocynth, or hyoscyamus will correct this colic.
Specific Symptomatology—Homeopathic indications for this remedy are headache across the forehead and over the eyes, nausea, gastro-intestinal irritation with coldness of the lower limbs; there is a bitter, sour or metallic taste in the mouth, the tongue yellowish white, somewhat dry, with thirst; bitter or sour eructations; heaviness over the liver; pulsation in the navel region; distention of the abdomen with gas with the above conditions. Gloomy patients suffering from constipation can take aloes to advantage.
Therapy—If administered to a nursing mother it will produce a cathartic effect upon the infant. It is a constituent of the larger proportion of the carthartic pills on the market.
If the liver is acting normally a much less dose will produce a cathartic effect than when there is a torpid or an inactive liver.
The agent should be used, if at all, with much care in inflammatory conditions, especially in those of the intestinal canal, as it is an irritant to the lower bowel. It increases the heart's action and the circulation of blood and raises the temperature.
The agent is emmenagogue and abortive in its action and should not be given during pregnancy. It will produce a full menstrual flux in some cases of suppression.
It may be given in simple jaundice with lack of tone; in constipation depending upon weakness of the intestinal tract; where there is plainly deficient peristaltic action, where the tongue is coated, the breath foul, the abdomen full and tumid; where there is inclination to impaction of the colon. It may be given in conjunction with nux vomica and hydrastis, or other good stomach tonics to excellent advantage when these are correctly indicated.
One one hundred and twentieth grain of aloin once every day or two will be of material benefit to those who eat too much, especially of starchy foods and sugar; those of phlegmatic temperament and beer drinkers.
The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.