There are several varieties of aloe, but for the preparation of our tincture, which equals in drug power the 1x, the inspissated juice of the Socotrine Aloe is used.
The Socotrine Aloe is a product of Aloe socotrina, growing upon the shores of the Indian Ocean and the Island of Socotra, and has no reference to the fragrant wood of the Scriptures, which is not now looked upon as an Aloe.
“The ancients” used aloes “to purge off the bile” (Dunham) and the moderns of the old school use it principally as a purgative, its effects showing in from ten to twelve hours after swallowing.
Many of the cathartics on the market to-day contain aloes. Brandreth’s Pills are said to contain a little colocynth, more gamboge and twice as much aloes, while Carter’s Little Liver Pills consist of two parts of aloes, to one part of podophyllin; but whatever the contents, we, as Homoeopaths, can usually name the principal ingredient of a purge from the symptoms that it produces.
Aloe was first proved by Dr. Helbig, of Germany, in 1833, but Drs. Hering, Raue and others added a great deal to the first report.
The most pronounced action of Aloe is the engorgement of the pelvic viscera, increasing haemorrhoidal congestion and uterine haemorrhage, and the very characteristic diarrhoea an flatulence.
The abdominal symptoms are apt to be associated with pressure and fullness in the region of the liver, as well as with aching above forehead and heaviness in eyes.
Aloe has cured a chronic headache where the guiding symptom leading to the choice of the remedy was a pressure on the eyes from above, and a feeling as if it were necessary to contract the eyes and make them very small in order to see (from Dunham).
Hering gives first place to the symptom from Lippe that the “headaches are worse from heat and better from cold applications” (92).
There is always in Aloe, a great deal of flatus in the abdomen, with gurgling (11) from the motion of the flatus, which presses downward, with a feeling as if there were a plug between the symphysis pubis and coccyx (34).
Engorgement of the haemorrhoidal veins is one of the most constant effects noticed, and the haemorrhoids for which we prescribe the remedy (86) are sore, swollen and protrude at stool, which is usually a diarrhoea, and they are “relieved by cold water” (Lippe).
The diarrhoea of Aloe is characteristic and Allen adds the word, treacherous.
The stool is semi-fluid or watery, and associated with a good deal of flatus which passes easily.
When the desire for stool comes it must be attended to at once. The patient does not have a proper sense of the accumulation of faecal matter in the rectum and there is loss of power in the sphincter (62), so that the stool escapes without effort.
There is a sense of insecurity in the rectum, with a loss of confidence in the sphincter and one cannot decide whether it is flatus or faeces that wishes to pass; he will rush to the closet and find that the excitement has been caused by flatus; the next time he does not go and regrets it.
A pathogenetic symptoms states it broadly when it says, “weakness of sphincter, so that cleanliness was difficult,” The Aloe patient dares not urinate without being prepared for stool (62).
We have all been taught that we must not ask leading questions. If we do not in the case of an Aloe diarrhoea we will not be apt to prescribe the remedy, as out patients will not volunteer the information, as they look upon their condition as “too disgusting for anything.” You will find also that while the word eructation is considered a polite form of speech, the word flatus is taboo.
While Dunham says “the diarrhoea comes on early in the morning, say at 5 A.M.,” Allen said in his lecture,”there is no aggravation as regards time.” There is aggravation soon after eating (57).
The dysentery calling for Aloe has as its chief characteristic this feeling of insecurity of the sphincter, which Dunham refers to as “striking the patient between wind and water.” The stools are of jelly-like lumps, or may be of pure blood, not much tenesmus but intense pain, soreness and burning in rectum (61) after the stool (61).
In constipation it is to be thought of when there is heavy pressure in the lower part of the abdomen and especially a feeling of a plug in the pelvis (34).
There is a tendency towards engorgement of the uterus in Aloe and the uterus feels heavy with blood (202) and it is a valuable remedy in uterine haemorrhage, with great heaviness of the uterus and a sensation of a plug between the pubis and coccyx.