Aloe vera, Barbadensis vel Socotrina, Aloe Soccotrina
Family: Jussieu [vegetable substance] – Hexandria monogynia, L.
Mode of preparation: A tincture is made from the fiery red gum of the plant by trituration.
The essential features
This is a remedy that primarily affects the digestive system and more especially the end of the large intestines. Its tendency is to produce an engouement of the veins causing fullness throughout the body, but more especially in the liver region, an abdominal, rectal and intestinal fullness. The main pathology in which you will find Aloe to be indicated is spastic or ulcerative colitis.
I have found, however, that the great characteristic of this remedy is a preoccupation that the patient has with his pathology, that is to say with the whole cycle – eating to excreting. Aloe is easily disturbed by the intake of food, its digestion and its expulsion.
If you should have such a case, and treat it for a long time before recognising it, you will find that the patient takes on a hypochondriacal attitude towards his “stool” and the disturbances that accompany it. The patient may complain constantly about being unable to have a normal stool, and though there may be several stools a day he remains unsatisfied.
Actually Aloe can produce a state where the intestines work intensely, as if inflamed for a few days, where the patient may have several stools a day, and then for a certain period of time there may be total inactivity. Stool is not diarrhoic, but soft, unformed and can come several times in the morning, for several days, and this in a crescendo, e.g. three times the first day, four times the second, five times the fourth etc. This can then be followed by an obstinate constipation for two or three weeks, during which there may be no stool, or very little, passed with great difficulty.
Together with this or a similar situation the patient may feel an uncertainty concerning the rectum. He may often pass some flatus, and accompanying this, or instead of it, a little bit of a soft stool. The patient knows this and tries to control it, but there is excessive flatus in the abdomen and a lot of rumbling and gushing; much gas is evacuated with stool, but he gets little relief and you will tend to prescribe Podo. or Lyc. with little or no effect.
This syndrome seems to annoy the patient tremendously. He may become angry against his disease and almost constantly preoccupied with his stool. Why can’t I have a normal stool? Where is this condition going? Am I going to have a normal stool or not? Today I did not have any stool, and so on and so forth. He is so preoccupied with it that he will give you the impression that he is very anxious about his health. If you ask him directly whether he is afraid of having cancer he will deny it but he will accept that this whole situation annoys him tremendously and makes him somewhat anxious.
There seems to be a disturbing feeling originating from the rectum; this may be due to a number of causes, namely: an intense itching deep in the rectum, a sense of fullness as from the presence of stools that cannot come out, deep pain from hemorrhoids, the fact of having mucus in the stool, or some involuntary discharge of stool or mucus. Whatever the cause, the result is always the same: tremendous annoyance that leads the patient to despair, and sometimes leads him to put his finger right into his rectum to relieve the itching or whatever other feeling may be there.
Your final observation will be that “his stool and his rectum” preoccupy his mind so much that he cannot think of anything else; this at least is the impression that he will give you.
A grand keynote of Aloe that can always guide you to this remedy is the lack of control he has over the sphincters of the anus in both acute and chronic conditions. Kent describes this beautifully for the acute state: “Dysenteric and diarrhoic troubles. In the attack of diarrhea there is gushing of thin, yellow, offensive excoriating faeces, which burn like fire, and the anus is sore. He holds the stool with difficulty, does not dare take his mind off the sphincter because as soon as he does so the stool will escape. He cannot let the least quantity of flatus escape, because with it there will be a rush of faeces. With the Aloe diarrhea the abdomen is distended with gas, causing a feeling of fullness and tightness, and he must go often to stool.
Little ones soon after they begin to walk, will drop all over the carpet, involuntarily, little yellow drops of mucus and faeces. There is a lack of control of the sphincter. This state is not always confined to diarrhea because sometimes children will go around dropping involuntarily little hard, round, marble-like pieces of stool. They do not even know the stool has passed… ”
I had a case of chronic spastic colitis with a lot of rumbling and flatus and distension, with little pain in the abdomen and an amelioration in the evening and I prescribed Lycopodium in different potencies with very little effect, then I gave Gambogia and Podophyllum and waited but no effect. I took the case again and again until I learned, out of a direct question, that sometimes the patient would have a little involuntary stool thinking that it was flatus; she confessed further that at least three times during the last few years she had had an involuntary stool during sleep that passed out unnoticed, a complete evacuation. She was too shy to tell me all that from the very beginning, and did not think that it was that important as it happened infrequently. Aloe brought about a relief not only of the spastic colitis but of her mental state as well.
Looking upon the case in this way we notice the great annoyance which the patient suffers from the stool and rectum. The patient becomes irritable and hateful, dissatisfied, discontented and his conduct repels others. The Aloe case may become cross and peevish, without any reason, but especially in cloudy weather. Dissatisfied and angry about himself. In the text it says loathing of life during pain, irritability during pain. All this seems to be connected with the functioning of the digestive cycle.
Sometimes the patient may become particularly angry if somebody expresses a different opinion; he then has to restrain himself not to hit the other person, not to be violent. All this turmoil upsets him enormously however, and he starts having pains in the abdomen, and more distention and more flatulence and more irritability. He knows that by becoming so angry inside he will have to suffer.
Aloe appears to be a rather calm and stoic individual in spite of such inner irritations. To others he looks calm and serene and takes up a rather philosophical attitude. He looks content. Aloe individuals appear to be phlegmatic and indolent. Underneath there is actually a state of indifference. Indeed I have often found a state of resignation from life, an attitude such as: “I know there is no hope. I will die soon, but it does not matter really”. A loathing of life is apparent, where it seems as though he were not interested in continuing to live, though the pathology does not at all justify such an attitude. In the books we read: “Tranquility, serenity, reconciled to fate.” Further on we read: “predicts the time of death“, but this symptom, if you should find it, is only expressed in this way in the acute states.
There is a strong fear on seeing blood which may cause Aloe to faint, also fears of doctors, of hospitals, of being alone and of high places. Aloe people seem to be rather closed up and do not establish deep relationships.
The Aloe organism is one that goes up and down easily, and has alternating states. For instance he can be excited easily, the face becoming flushed, heated up, the mind racing with thoughts crowding each other, and then a change can take place leading him to a state of lassitude and indifference. The mind can be very active for a certain time, followed by periods of exhaustion and indolence with an aversion to mental work. Mental exertion makes him feel worse.
This kind of functioning of the mind, for instance discontent in the morning followed by contentedness in the evening, is similar to the one we see in rectum: a lot of successive stools and then a period of constipation.
In remedies we must try to see patterns rather than symptoms; be aware, however, and make sure you see the real ones and not imaginary ones. Once you understand the pattern you can recognise it with greater ease in a case than a keynote which can often be misleading.
A usual time of aggravation for Aloe is undoubtedly the time after eating. Immediately after eating his mood changes, he wants to be by himself, wants to remain silent, immersed in his own thoughts. Many times he becomes anxious or indifferent. He may have fainting spells, vertigo or headache. A similar condition will appear in case of abnormal or inefficient stool.
What is important for you to remember is that his mood changes once the process of digestion starts and will not stop until it is finished. Of course this is an exaggeration, but the underlying idea, the pattern, is correct.
It is an organism that labours under the effort of processing food and expelling the waste. It is aggravated with irritability before stool, or if the stool is insufficient, but we do not see the real amelioration after stool characteristic of Natr-s., or Calc-carb. On the contrary we see a general weakness, a faintness after stool, and in severe acute cases Aloe may fall into unconsciousness during stool.
The time of amelioration of this remedy is in the evening, the anxiety, the irritability, the discontent, the sadness are all better in the evening.
Suitable for obese people with sedentary habits, of a lymphatic or hypochondriacal temperament. Phlegmatic, indolent.
We must stress also the portal congestion, the portal stasis and the propensity of this remedy to manifest haemorrhoids which protrude like “a bunch of grapes”. Weakness with perspiration; entering a warm room; after vomiting; from sour food.
Fainting after diarrhea, also after stool.
Desire for cold air.
Sensation of congestion and fullness all over the surface of the body.
There is orgasm of blood with anxiety and restlessness.
Sensation of a plug internally.
Aggravations: There is a general aggravation from heat; after eating; from oysters; in warm season; in a warm room; in the morning at 5 or 6 a.m. Aggravation of colitis symptoms with beans and peas.
Amelioration in cool open air, with cold applications, passing flatus, after tea. Needs stimulants
Aloe has a reputation for clearing a case after a lot of medication. I have not been able to understand this reputation or to justify it.
Vertigo – head
There is a peculiar vertigo as if elevated higher than he actually is, as if he is sitting in a very high chair, which is felt mostly after meals.
Vertigo while reading; after fright; from stooping; rising from a seat; after congestion; from sun; from suppression of menses; from concussion.
A child during teething turns suddenly red and falls unconscious.
Head congestion due to venous stasis. He has to sit up. The head feels hot and he wants something cool on it.
Burning headache as of brain agitated by boiling water.
Hyperemia of the head during stool. Pain in the head before stool. Headache from insufficient stool. Dull headache across the forehead with heaviness in eyes and nausea.
Headaches are aggravated by heat and ameliorated from cold applications.
Headaches before and after menses, ceases during menses.
Sensation as if air is passing through the head. Sensation as if the head is enlarged. Pain in the temples extending to eyes.
A great peculiarity of this remedy is the alternation of symptoms of the head with different other symptoms.
Head symptoms alternating with abdominal or uterine symptoms or with back pain, lumbago. Headache alternating with hemorrhoids. Dandruff.
Congestion of eyes. Lacrimation.
Closes the eyes partially from pain in the forehead.
Twitching of eyelids during day time, more of the left. Pain deep in the orbits.
Flickering before the eyes. Colours before the eyes; yellow rings moving in front of the eyes. Dim vision while writing. Scotoma.
There is a peculiar sensitivity towards sounds, mostly musical, which can make her tremble. She hates it (in hysteria). On pressing the teeth together a sensation of numbness behind the ears.
Tearing pain in left and then in right ear.
Noises and pain in ear while chewing. Cracking noise while moving the jaw.
Coldness of the tip of nose.
Redness of nose in the cold open air while the rest of the face is not red. Bleeding after waking. Dryness of the nose.
Burning pain during coryza.
Heat of the face during excitement and during headache.
Lips dry and cracked. Dry and scaly, continuously licks them with the tongue. Lips red, cracked and bleeding.
Yellow white discoloration of tongue.
Sensation of coldness of the left side of the tongue.
Sore spots inside cheeks. Difficult to protrude the tongue, causes pain. Yellow ulcers in the mouth and tongue. Taste like ink or iron in the mouth. Metallic taste.
Tongue and mouth dry.
Accumulation of saliva in the mouth.
Sensation as if the palate was swollen.
Thick lumps of jelly like mucus in the throat which come out easily early after rising. Rough, as if burnt. Pain in the throat as if soft palate and uvula were swollen.
In the stomach in general we observe an immediate association between the appetite and eating and the functions of digestion. There is definitely an imbalance which appears in different ways like :
Increased appetite in the evening, also in the morning after stool.
While having diarrhea the appetite is increased.
After eating there is pulsation and sexual irritation.
Hungry after stool. Empty feeling in stomach after stool.
The stomach is disordered from beer and from wrong diet.
Desires juicy things, fruits, especially apples; salty things. Aversion to meat or desire for meat.
Thirsty during eating. Thirsty after supper.
Bitter eructations and pains after drinking water. Pains after breakfast.
Eructations ameliorate a feeling of heaviness in the stomach.
Sour things disagree with him, cause indigestion and a general feeling of weakness.
Pain in the pit of stomach from a mis-step.
The stomach pains are worse from jar and motion and usually extend upwards towards the chest and throat.
Vomiting of thick mucus on going to stool, or after drinking water.
Distension of epigastrium and both hypochondria.
Fullness in epigastrium with great desire for stimulants.
In the abdomen we see a lot of characteristic symptoms as this is the area of special action of this remedy. The fullness, the distension, the dragging down sensations prevail.
There is fullness due to portal stasis, irritation of the mucous membranes of the intestines with a lot of mucous discharge and weakness of the muscular structure especially of the sphincters of the anus.
The abdomen feels full and bloated with gurglings before stool. There is heaviness in lower abdomen with dragging down sensation. Prolapse of rectum.
Distress and a kind of anxiety felt in the abdomen before stool.
The pains in abdomen tend to extend to different directions. It is one of very few remedies that have this tendency. Pain in the hypochondria extends to the chest. Pain extends from the inguinal region down to the legs and knee. Pressing pain from the sides extends to the navel.
Pain from the umbilucus or the lower abdomen extends downwards, to the anus. The peculiar thing is that this pain will appear immediately after the stool or in the effort to have an unsatisfactory stool. The pain is better lying on abdomen or bending forwards.
Dull pain, uneasiness, tension in the liver region, worse when standing, has to bend forwards. Discharge of flatus relieves pain in the abdomen.
Sensation of pulsation during night in bed.
Constant rumbling in abdomen, with a feeling as if they must have a stool, but no evacuation following (in cases of severe gastroenteritis).
Sense of insecurity in the rectum, he is not sure whether stool or flatus will pass. Stool escapes with the flatus or even during urination. It seems that the least pressure on the sphincters will make them give in. Before stool, much rumbling in the bowels, accompanied by the escape of large volume of wind.
Involuntary stool during sleep, after eating, during urination, on walking. The stool is formed and can also be hard. Stool passes unnoticed in little children.
Has to rush to the toilet otherwise feels that he will loose stool Sensation of paralysis in the rectum.
Sensation of a plug between the pubis and the coccyx with urging to stool.
Bowel motion every time he moves around.
Anus feels weak, mucus oozes out, soils the underpants and irritates the patient tremendously.
Hemorrhoids that protrude like a bunch of grapes.
Diarrhea: after eating unripe fruits, oysters; from been overheated; before menses; from vexation Diarrhea early in the morning about 5 or 6 am, driving him out of bed.
The diarrhea is better when lying on his abdomen and worse when standing and worse walking Diarrhea alternates with constipation.
Constipation of old people. Constant desire without effect. Can pass a stool only when urinating.
Intolerant itching in rectum, ameliorated by cold bathing, has to stick in his finger to ameliorate the distress.
Stool burning excoriates rectum
Pain in the rectum extends to abdomen.
Burning pain in the rectum after flatus. The burning is ameliorated by cold bathing. Cutting pain after stool.
Pulsation in rectum while sitting.
Sudden urging for stool on passing flatus; after eating; on rising; while standing; all symptoms pointing out again the basic weakness of the rectum. Stool: cream colored, first hard and then soft hot, burning excoriating the rectum lumpy and liquid sputtering watery, bloody, yellowish-greenish.
Involuntary urination in the aged, bearing down sensation and enlargement of the prostate gland. Dribbling with enlarged prostate. On passing urine feels that stool will escape.
Frequent urging with burning during urination.
Urination retarded, must wait for urine to start.
Sediment bran-like, granular.
Urine copious, offensive, putrid.
Genitalia – male
In the male we see either impotency with coldness of the scrotum and indifference, no desire at all, or easy excitement especially after the urethra has been stimulated with urination or involuntary emissions.
Penis shrunk, atrophied, testicles cold. Impotency. There is neither desire nor erections. They can be easily disappointed from their own performance in sex, they feel they cannot satisfy the partner, which makes them lose their desire and potency. In general the libido is not strong.
Erections in children.
Involuntary emissions during sleep at night, in the morning and during siesta, followed by sexual excitement and erections. Sexual irritability, erections without desire after eating. Sexual excitement after urinating. Seminal emissions from slight fright, from noises. Affections of the prostate gland.
Genitalia – female
The desire for sex is less than normal and the pleasure is local.
Fullness and heaviness felt in the uterus, feeling of congestion worse when standing.
Labour-like pains extending to the rectum or to thighs.
Menses early and profuse. Menses can easily be suppressed if she takes a cold bath, even washing herself locally the menses may stop. Leucorrhea of bloody mucus preceded by abdominal colic.
Cold feet during menses.
Hoarseness of voice on waking in the morning.
Tightness of chest, congestion. Bronchitis.
Cough which is better on lying on abdomen and worse standing.
Cough worse in the act of rising from a sitting position.
Winter cough with tickling.
Respiration difficult, impeded because of stitches on the left side of the chest.
Pain in chest from rising after stooping. Pain on the sides of chest on bending forwards. Pain in the heart extending to back. Pain on deep inspiration.
Pain in lumbar region alternating with headaches or hemorrhoids.
Pain in back on beginning of menses.
Pain from lumbar region extending to rectum.
Pain in sacral region worse sitting and better moving about.
Coldness and numbness of the extremities are very prominent symptoms in this remedy.
Cold hands alternating with cold feet. Cold hands with hot feet. Warm feet with coldness of the rest of the body.
Pains of the extremities of all kinds. Pains as if bruised, dislocated.
Drawing pains in the joints.
Soles painful walking on a hard surface.
Feet burning during fever, uncovers them.
Sleep is easily disturbed by joyful news, from coldness of hands or feet, after midnight until 5 a.m.
Wakes early at 5 or 6 a.m.with urging to stool.
Sleeplessness from itching of the anus
Dreams amorous; of stool, excrements, that he is soiling himself; of becoming insane. Dreams of monsters.
Heat in spots.
Succession of stages, heat and then sweat and then heat again.
Eruptions mostly in winter.
Spots that once scratched become painful and sensitive. Heat of the surface of the body.
Affection of anus. Constipation alternating with diarrhea. Gastroenteritis. Cholera. Dysentery. Hemorrhoids. Proctitis. Prolapsus uteri, anus. Affections of prostate. Lumbago. Pain in sacrum.
It is related to: Aeculus, Podoph., Sepia
It is complementary to: Sulphur
Remedies that follow well: Kali bichromicum, Sepia, Sulphur and Sulphurosum acidum
It is antidoted by: Sulphur, Mustard, Camphor, Lycopodium and Nux vomica.