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Friday, January 1, 2010

aloe vera and aloe ferox continued

Department of Utter Confusion is - Aloe vera and Aloe ferox on the Internet. According to some of the ads, a.vera is the second coming in medicine. It’s reputed to cure acid reflux, burns, sunburn, gastric distress, irritable colon, cracked, dry feet. AND improve your love life.  The claim is made that Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know about this. ……Too late Big Pharma..

Aloe ferox, also known as Bitter Aloe is a purgative. It may well work on burns. A. arborescens (remember him?) also performs just fine on burns. Many of the aloes seem to create a sort of Liquid Skin effect if you rub the burn with the gelatinous part of the leaf. Aloes have a bitter yellow sap under the skin, then a gelatinous layer.

In S. Africa, a.ferox is made into a conserve--- something you’d serve with meat or poultry the way we use cranberry sauce. The bitter sap is drained off, and the gelatinous part of the leaf is used. Since ferox grows rapidly with water, and the leaves are thick, harvesting the plant for jam is not as mad as it sounds. Where would tequila be without agaves? What would have happened to Isaak Dinesen if she’d grown aloes for jam? No Out of Africa, no fame and fortune, but a prosperous farm?
The recipe is found on p. 129 of Aloes in Southern Africa – by two S. Africans, Gideon Smith and Braam van Wyk.  (See  Aloe Preserve.) This may not be the definitive book on aloes, but it’s close.