This is an old Cape remedy for all sorts. Of great value in birds' drinking water.

Identification

Aloe Ferox is a fairly common aloe, with readily recognisable thorny bumps on the top and bottom of the leaves, including the familiar row of tooth-like thorns on each edge as is common for almost all aloes.

Harvesting

The leaves grow fairly quickly, and die off within a year or two. This gives the Aloe Ferox the shape of a short palm, with a bare stem and clump of leaves on top. The bottom layer of leaves, therefor, can be safely removed without harming the plant. A firm twist will suffice on ‘ripe’ leaves ready to start drying out, but stronger leaves can be carefully cut away without slicing the next layer. Put your harvest where the copious juices leaking from the open end of the cut leaf can be caught.

Preparation

Fresh aloe is usually stripped of the outer layer. The thin translucent skin usually has a layer of coloured gel under the skin. The core flesh is almost totally clear jelly. This jelly is the product of interest. For preservation, the leaves are stacked in a pyramid circle, bleeding ends inward, dripping into some container. This liquid is then boiled off and crystallised into dark greenish black solid, crushed into crumbs for easier dosage.

Uses

Aloe Ferox is one of the best bitters we know of. It also contains some magic ingredient that puts health into birds’ drinking water. Bitters, of course, are what you use for  better digestion and to appease upset stomachs.