Lu Hui (aloe)

Pinyin Name: Lu Hui

Alternate Chinese Names: Xiang Dan

Original Source: Yao Xing Ben Cao (Materia Medica of Medicinal Properties) by Zhen Quan in 600 A.D.

English Name: Aloe

Botanical Name: Aloe vera L. (Ku La Suo Lu Hui); Aloe ferox Mill (Hao Wang Jiao Lu Hui)

Pharmaceutical Name: Aloe

Part Used Medicinally: Stem

Properties: Bitter, Cold

Channels Entered: Liver, Large Intestine
Chinese Therapeutic Actions
1. Purges Downwards

Excess-type Constipation: Lu Hui (Aloe) is most effective if constipation is accompanied by heat attacking the Heart and leading to irritability and insomnia. The purgative action removes the source of the heat so that the Heart energy can settle.

• Constipation with irritability and insomnia: use Lu Hui with Zhu Sha (Cinnabaris).
2. Clears Liver Fire

Liver Fire: Excess fire is characterized by symptoms such as headache, hypochondriac pain, red eyes, dizziness, irritability, constipation and infantile convulsions.

• Liver Fire: use Lu Hui with Long Dan Cao (Radix Gentianae), Zhi Zi (Fructus Gardeniae) and Qing Dai (Indigo Naturalis). Exemplar Formula: Dang Gui Long Hui Wan (Tangkuei, Gentiana, and Aloe Pill).

• Infantile Convulsions with Liver Heat and Phlegm: use this herb with Dan Nan Xing (Arisaema cum Bile) and Chuan Bei Mu (Bulbus Fritillariae Cirrhosae).

• Hepatitis: use a small dose of Lu Hui as the guiding herb with other herbs that clear damp-heat from Liver, such as Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri) and Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae).
3. Kills Parasites

Intestinal Parasites: Lu Hui kills roundworm and ringworm to treat malnutrition caused by intestinal parasites in infants and children.

• Intestinal Parasites: use powdered Lu Hui and Shi Jun Zi (Fructus Quisqualis) in equal portions and serve with rice water.

• Gan ji (infantile malnutrition) with intestinal parasites and Spleen deficiency: combine it with Ren Shen (Radix Ginseng) and Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalse).

Lu Hui can also be used topically to treat itching due to parasites, or to chronic skin disorders that do not respond to other treatments.

• Itching due to parasites: apply powdered Lu Hui and Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae) topically.

• Hermorrhoids: apply Lu Hui and Bing Pian (Borneolum Syntheticum) topically.

0.6 to 1.5 grams in powder, capsules or pills. Decoction is not recommended, as Lu Hui is extremely bitter and has an unpleasant smell.

• Lu Hui is contraindicated during pregnancy, and in cases of deficiency and cold of the Spleen and Stomach.
Chemical Composition

Alon, aloe-emodin
Pharmacological Effects

Laxative: Alon has a marked laxative effect.

Antibiotic: Water extract of Lu Hui has various degrees of inhibitory action against pathogenic fungi and dermatophytes.

Antineoplastic: Alcohol extract Lu Hui has demonstrated preliminary ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Herb-Drug Interaction

Cardiac Glycosides: Overuse of Lu Hui many cause potassium depletion, leading to increased toxicity of cardiac glycosides, such as digoxin (Lanoxin).

No fatalities or bodily abnormalities were reported following intramuscular injection of Lu Hui continuously for six months (daily dosage was equivalent to 10 mg/kg of bulk herb). There was, however, necrosis of tissue at the injection site.

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