Ghrita-kumari is a common medicinal plant which is well-known to the people for its jelly like mucilage substance. The coarse-looking plant with a short stem 1-2 feet high has fleshy leaves (about 15 inches long and 4 inches broad) with sharp spines which are full of this substance. This plant is a native of north Africa, Canary Islands and Spain and has gradually spread to East and West Indies, Bangladesh, India China and other countries. Many of the forms of this species are naturalized and are found in a semi- wild state in almost all areas of our country. Botanical name of Ghrita-kumari is Aloe vera, Linn.
Medicinal Properties: The plant is sweet, biter; cooling; purgative, alterative, fatening, tonic, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, alexiteric; useful in eye diseases, tumours, enlargement of spleen, liver complaints, vomiting, fever due to bronchitis, erysipelas, skin diseases, biliousness, asthma, leprosy, jaundice, strangury, ulcers. The flowers are anthelmintic; useful in biliousness and ” vata” (Ayurveda ). The plant has a biter bad taste; purgative, carminative, tonic, digestive; useful in inflammation of the spleen, lumbago, pain in the muscles, inflammations, opthalmia. The leaves are good for piles and biliousness (Yunani). Aloes is emmenagogue, purgative, and anthelmintic. It is used in constipation, dyspepsia, menstrual suppressions, and piles. The fresh juiceof the leaves is cathartic and cooling. It is used in fever, spleen and liver troubles, also in eye diseases. The extract is quite ineffective as an anthelmintic against hook worm (Indian Medicinal Plants, Kirt and B.D.Basu, Vol.- IV,2505 )
Aloes (Mosabbar ) is used as a stomachic, purgative and emmenagogue. It is regarded as valuable in the treatment of piles and rectal fissures. The mucilage is cooling and is used to poultice inflammations (The Wealth of India, Raw Materials,Vol-1, 61,62 ).
The fresh juice from the leaves is said to be cathartic, cooling, and useful in fevers, spleen and lever disease, enlarged lymphatic glands, and as an external applicant in certain eye diseases. The pulp of the leaves is, in native practice, applied to boils, and is regarded as acting powerfully on the uterus, and useful as an emmenagogue. It is also largely used in veterinary medicine. The root is supposed to be efficacious in colic ( Dictionary of the Economic Products of India,Vol.-1, 188 ).
This plant is a species of Aloe vera found in a semi-wild condition in Bangladesh and India specially in West-Bengal. It has beautiful reddish and orange flowers, with the bases of the leaves purple- coloured and so dilated as to have in all probability suggested the name A. perfoliata , given by popular writers to this and many other species of Aloe.
Medicinal Properties: ” In cases of chronic fissures and ulcers about the rectum, indigenous aloes have been largely used by the natives both internally and externally. It acts also as an emmenagogue and anthelmintic. It is a favourite medicine for intestinal worms in children. As an aperient it is generally given in combination with turkud or scammony. dissolved in utar of roses it is used in various affections of the eye. Mixed with bartung it is said to be very useful in chronic discharges from the nose or ears. Dissolved in spirit it is used as a hair dye, and it is said that it also stimulates the hair to grow. Dissolved in warm water and spread over a betle-leaf and applied hot to the belly of a child, it is said to act as an aperient” ( Asst Surgeon Gholam Nabi. ) ” A sweetmeat, halwa,is prepared from the pulp of the leaves and given in cases of piles, and apparently with very good effect” ( Surgeon-Major C.W. Calthrop, M.D., Morar. )
” The resinous extract obtained from this plant is applied to swellings in the form of paste to cause absorption. It is used internally by native practitioners in melancholia and brain diseases, complicated with gastric symptoms.
It produces griping, to correct which is added confection of roses and mastich. Given as a night pill in haemorrhoids. A paste of fresh aloes and turmeric relieves the pain of contusions.” (Surgeon G.A.Emerson. Calcuta.) ” The pulp with a solution of alum is very extensively used by native practitioners in every form of ophthalmia, but especially in catarrhal and purulent ophthalmia,” ( Ast Surgeon Jaswant Rai, Mooltan. )
” The inspissated juice, in combination with gum asafoetida, is applied as a warm plaster in colic and the pneumonia of infants. It is also given internally in these cases in doses of one grain with borax in the same quantity with the mother’s milk.” (Lal Mahomed, Hoshangabad, Central Provinces.) ” It is applied over the abdomen for constipation and tympanitis.” (Surgeon-Major Robb, Ahmedabad.) ” I have seen the juice administered powdered turmeric by village native practitioners in enlarged spleen.” ( Assistant Surgeon Shib Chunder Bhutacharji, Chanda, Central Provinces.) ” Aloes have been found useful in piles, mixed in small quantities with sulphur. It is applied by natives externally in the form of lep -paste- in pleurisy.” (Assistant Surgeon Bhugwan Das, Rawal Pindi. ) ” a sort of pickle, prepared with aloe, salt, and ajowan, is very useful in colic and dyspepsia.” Surgeon J.C. Penny, M.D. Amritsur.)
” Inspissated juice, mixed with sugar, frequently given in gonorrhoea with great advantage” (Brigade Surgeon S.M.Shircor, Moorshedabad.) ” The fresh juice of the leaves is taken with milk and water as a remedy for gonorrhoea and methritis. It acts as a mild purgative, emollient, and demulcent” (Brigade Surgeon J.H.Thornton, Monghyr). ” Hospital Assistant Gopal Chunder Gangooli of the Noakhali dispensary, reports that he has used the fresh pulp of the leaves, mixed with sugar, in cases of gonorrhoea, with good results; it acts as a demulcent” ( Surgeon Anund Chunder Mukerji, Noakhali.) ” The fresh juice from the leaves is cooling, diuretic; largely used by the natives in gonprrhoea. The tender pulp is eaten in rheumatism.” (Assistant Surgeon J.N. Dey, Jeypore.)
“I have used it as a stomachic purgative in veterinary practice with much effect It makes a good adjunct to sulphur, for internal use, in bad cases of mange. In the human subject, in cases of chronic cough due to dyspepsia, and in cases of foul evacuations I have given it in 5- grain doses with ghi, in the former with sulphate of iron, in the later two or three times a day, with much benefit” (Surgeon K.D.Ghose, Khulna.) ” The indigenous drug, Known in the bazaars as Musabbar, has all the properties of the Socotrine or Barbadose aloes.” ( Surgeon R.D. Murray, M.d., Burdwan.)
“A piece of the fleshy pulp ( peeled ), about two inches square, with 4 grains of turmeric, and 10 grains of burnt borax, is a favourite remedy for the enlargement of the spleen associated with constipation of the bowels.” ( Surgeon -Major E.C. Bensley, Rajshahye.) ” One grain of bazaar aloes, with 1 grain of bazaar sulphate of iron and 1 grain of asafoetida, is often used by natives in the form of a pill for spleen enlargement” (Surgeon K. D. Ghose, Bankura.)
Source: The New Nation