Cape Aloes (Aloe ferox) is a plant related to the more common Aloe vera, growing on the Cape Horn of South Africa. The leaf juice is dried into a dark brown to black crystalline powder, called aloes. This very bitter substance acts as a tonic, purgative, emmenagogue, and anthelmintic.
Cape aloes powder is available in capsule forms, as the taste is extremely bitter. Not to be confused with the leaf gel (see Aloe vera).
At 400-450mg/day, aloes acts to purge the bowels in 6-24 hours.
Aloes has an "Approved" therapeutic monograph for constipation by the German Commission E. To be used for short-term constipation (1-2 weeks).
Nursing infants will also be purged if the mother takes these same dosages. Pregnant women should not consume cape aloes, as they may stimulate the uterus to contract.