Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Aloe vera (Babosa)
Aloe is the genus and vera the species. This is another one of these medicinal plants found everywhere here but not native of Brazil. As I best remember, it's originally from Africa. In Portuguese, it's better known as "babosa", which refers to slobber or foam at the mouth. I call it a "live-tube-of-medicine" because when a cut leaf is squeezed, the gel or semi-liquid material comes out just like from the opening of a metal or plastic tube. It has to be the freshest tube of medicine on the market! The plant is used for many different ailments but it is better known for treatment of inflammations and burns, including sunburn. Whenever I look at the plant, I always remember a Swedish guide, Hakan Franden (spelled without all the Swedish diacritical marks), who brings 6-8 Tema groups to Santarem and the Bosque every year. As he finishes up his rather methodical tour of the Bosque, he asks for a knife to cut off one of the big fat leaves. On the bus, he removes all his jungle clothes. Then he proceeds to treat his legs and feet with the gel and passes the "tube" on to his clients. I'm willing to bet that he never has problems with mosquito and chigger bites!