Aloe vera is commonly known as Medicinal aloe, Chinese Aloe, True Aloe, Indian Aloe, Barbados Aloe, First aid plant, Burn Aloe, Babosa, Barbados aloe, Bitter aloes, Burn Plant, Coastal aloe, Common aloe, Curaçao aloe, Jaffarabad aloe, Mediterranean aloe, Musambra Aloe, Star cactus, Unguentine cactus, West Indian aloe, Aloe gel and Aloe leaf. It belongs to family of succulent plants in genus Aloe. Aloe vera is originated in Arabian Peninsula and Sudan. In these present days, species is cultivated widely in Near East, Northern Africa, Southern Mediterranean region and Asia. The plant is grown in subtropical regions of Mexico, United States, coastal regions of Venezuela and Dutch Antiles.
The natural range of Aloe vera is not clear though the species is cultivated widely in the world. It is naturalized in Arabian Peninsula through Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Sudan and also Cape Verde, Canary and Madeira Islands. The distribution is identical to Pistacia atlantica and Euphorbia balsamifera. In 17th century, this species was brought in to China and various parts of Southern Europe. It is naturalized in tropical and temperate regions of Australia, Belize, Barbados, US, Paraguay and Nigeria. It is considered that the distribution of species is the result of human cultivation so the taxonomy could be questionable.
It is cultivated widely as an ornamental plant. It is well known as putatively medicinal plant with modern gardeners. The succulence set up the species to survive in areas having low natural rainfall and make it optimal for rockeries and other water use gardens. Though the species is strong in zones 8 to 11, it does not tolerate snow and heavy frost. This species is antagonistic to insect pests but also scale insects, mealy bugs, spider mites and aphid species causes deterioration in health of plant. Aloe plants should be protected from rain and direct sun in very hot as well as humid tropical or subtropical climates but requires well-drained sandy potting soil as well as bright sunny conditions when planted in pots. Aloe vera is highly produced in Bangladesh, Australia, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, China, Jamaica, India, South Africa and Kenya.
Facts of Aloe vera
|Scientific Name||Aloe vera|
|Native||Aloe is originated in Sudan and Arabian Peninsula. It is widely distributed in India, Africa and other arid areas.|
|Common/English Name||Medicinal aloe, Chinese Aloe, True Aloe, Indian Aloe, Barbados Aloe, First aid plant, Burn Aloe, Babosa, Barbados aloe, Bitter aloes, Burn Plant, Coastal aloe, Common aloe, Curaçao aloe, Jaffarabad aloe, Mediterranean aloe, Musambra Aloe, Star cactus, Unguentine cactus, West Indian aloe, Aloe gel, Aloe leaf|
|Name in Other Languages||India: Korphad, Kattar vazha;
Indonesia: Lidah Buaya;
Thailand: Crocodile Tail;
Vietnam: Nha Đam
Latin America and Philippines:Savia, Savila, Sabila;
Arabic: nub átussibi, sabb ára;
Catalan: Atzavara vera, Sèver, Àloe vera;
Chinese: Lúhuì (芦荟);
Finnish: aaloe, laeaekeaaloe, Lääkeaaloe;
French: aloès amer, aloès vulgaire, Aloës, mazambron;
German: Aloe barbadensis, Echte Aloe, Tiger-Aloe;
Hindi: Gheekumari (घीकुमारी), Kumari, kunvar (कुवार), ghrt kumaaree (घृत कुमारी);
Italian: aloe commune, aloe di Barbados, Aloe variegate, sucameli;
Malayalam: Chotthu Kathalai;
Portuguese: Aloe maculate, aloés de Barbados, azebre vegetal, Babosa;
Russian: aloe nastojaščee, Aloe nastoyashcheye (Алоэ настоящее), aloye nastoyashcheye (алое настоящее);
Sanskrit: Catevala, Kumari;
Spanish: acíbar, Aloe maculate, aloja, Atzavara, flor de deserto, lináloe, loto de deserto, maguey morado, penca sábila, pita zabila, pitera amarelo, sábila, sábila do penca, toots amarelo, zabila, áloe de los Barbados;
Tamil: Kathalai (கதலை);
Japanese: aroe (アロエ);
Korean: allo-e (알로에);
Malay: pohon gaharu;
Nepalese: ghiu kumara;
Polish: aloes zwyczajny;
Portuguese: aloés, babosa, aloé vera, aloés de barbados, azebre vegetal, erva-babosa;
Swedish: barbados aloe, aloe;
Telugu: chinna kalabanda;
Thai: hang ta khe (หางตะเข้), wan fai mai (ว่านไฟไหม้ ), wan hang chora khe (ว่านหางจระเข้);
Turkish: ödağacı., sarýsabýr, sarısabır;
Vietnamese: cây lô hội , cây aloe vera, cây nha đam;
Maori (Cook Islands): ‘āroe, ‘āroe, ‘āroe, ‘āroevera, ‘āroe, ‘arovera;
|Plant Growth Habit||Stemless or very short-stemmed succulent|
|Plant Size||60 to 100 cm (24 to 39 in) tall|
|Leaves||Alternate, rosulate to distichous, 10 to 50 × 10 to 70 cm, green to grey-green|
|Flowering Season||All year round|
|Flower||Spike: 90 cm (35 inches) tall, Bright yellow|
|Fruit shape & size||Capsular, trigonous, 15-17 x 7-8 mm|
|Major Nutritions||Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 9.1 mg (10.11%)
Carbohydrate 9 g (6.92%)
Iron, Fe 0.36 mg (4.50%)
Calcium, Ca 19 mg (1.90%)
Sodium, Na 19 mg (1.27%)
|Calories in 8 fl oz (240 gm)||36 Kcal.Aloe vera Scientific Classification|
Scientific Name: Aloe vera
|Rank||Scientific Name & (Common Name)|
|Infrakingdom||Streptophyta (Land plants)|
|Division||Tracheophyta (Vascular plants, tracheophytes)|
|Genus||Aloe L. (Aloes)|
|Species||Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f. (Barbados aloe, acíbar, aloe vera, áloe de los Barbados, aloès amer, aloès vulgaire, atzavara, aloja, burn plant, coastal aloe, common aloe, Curaçao aloe, flor de deserto, Indian aloe, Jaffarabad aloe, lináloe, loto de deserto, maguey morado, mazambron, medicinal aloe, Mediterranean aloe, penca sábila, pita zabila, pitera amarelo, sábila do penca, star cactus, toots amarelo, true aloe, unguentine cactus, West Indian aloe)|
|Aloe vera Quick Facts|
|Scientific Name:||Aloe vera|
|Origin||Aloe is originated in Sudan and Arabian Peninsula. It is widely distributed in India, Africa and other arid areas.|
|Major nutrients||Vitamin C (10.11%)
|Health benefits||Hydrates body, Treat diseases, Oral mucosal diseases, Prevent hepatitis, Acts as antioxidant|
Aloe vera has been described in writings in various cultures and as far back as Egyptians, Greek and Roman eras. In writings of Chinese and Indian early cultures, references have been found. Ancient records have shown the advantages of Aloe vera which is known for centuries having its therapeutic benefits and healing properties existing over 4000 years. Aloe vera is presented on Sumerian tablet which dates back from 2100 BC.
The antiquity was discovered firstly in 1862 in an Egyptian papyrus which dates back 1550 BC. Egyptian Queens used it for their physical beauty. It was used by Roman and Greek physicians. The research has also shown the use of Aloe vera by ancient Indian and Chinese. In Philippines, aloe vera is used with milk for treating kidney infections. The legend suggests that Alexander the Great defeated the island of Socotra in Indian Ocean to protect supplies of Aloe vera for treating battle wounds of the soldiers.
The plant is very short stemmed succulent or stemless which grows from 60 to 100 cm high with spreading offsets. It has fleshy and thick leaves which color varies from green to grey-green. Some varieties might show white flecks on lower and upper stem surfaces. The serrated leaf margins have small white teeth. Flowers bloom in summer on a spike up to 90 cm tall. Each flower is pendulous having yellow tubular corolla measuring 2 to 3 cm long. Aloe vera forms a symbiosis, arbuscular mycorrhiza, which allows the plant to access better of mineral nutrients in soil.
Flower and Fruit
An inflorescence is 60 to 90 cm high. Raceme is cylindrical, dense and narrow towards top. Terminal raceme is 40 cm high and lower ones are shorter. Bracts are white and flowers are orange, yellow or red measuring 3 cm long. A capsule like fruit is trigonous, splitting into three segments and measures 15-17 x 7-8 mm.
Leaves, Stem and Root
Stems are 50 cm which possess twenty five leaves in an upright dense rosette. Leaf lanceolate is fleshy, thick 6 to 7 cm wide and 40 to 50 cm long. An upper surface is graygreen, concave with reddish tinge which appears in patches in young plants. The margin of leaves have pale pink edge and 2 mm long pale teeth.
Health Benefits of Aloe vera
Aloe vera plant has thick leaves having gel like substance. It provides soothing and cooling effect when applied to the skin. It is used to treat skin wounds and burns. It has been used for centuries due to its healing properties. Besides skin benefits, it helps to strengthen hair and maintains healthy scalp. Rub Aloe vera to the scalp as well as hair to condition and improve dry and damaged hair. It helps to lower blood sugar levels, eliminates ulcers, cure nausea, reduces oxidative stress, prevent diabetes, heal side effects of radiotherapy treatments, inhibits cancerous growth, promotes hair growth and soothe acid reflux symptoms. It improves cardiovascular functions, lower cholesterol, triglycerides, cure gum diseases, enhance lifespan and alleviate joint and muscle pain.
Aloe vera plant is rich in water which helps to treat as well as prevent dehydration. Hydration assists in detoxification of body which provides way to flush out and purge impurities. It is loaded with rich amount of nutrients that upgrades body’s organ output. It is essential because liver and kidneys are responsible for detoxification of blood and produce urine. So it should be healthy. After heavy workout, body requires rehydration with an intake of extra fluids. Body needs more fluids to flush out the build up of lactic acid from exercising.
Though synthetic drug treatment effectively prevents diseases, this treatment is expensive as well as shows some adverse effects. The use of natural products for preventing and treating diseases are widely increasing especially in developing countries due to its affordability as well as fewer side effects. Some studies shows safe dose level and mechanism of actions of Aloe vera to prevent and treat disease. Further studies in detail are required to know the therapeutic safety, potentiality and mechanism of action of Aloe vera for managing diseases.
Oral mucosal diseases
Aloe vera is popular for its medicinal properties which treats various diseases with its application. Though the treatment of oral lesions has not been documented in literature, the systematic reviews have been made earlier on aloe vera and its extracts on oral diseases. The systematic review was made to evidence the effectiveness of Aloe vera to treat various oral diseases. Aloe vera possesses unique properties which act as a promising agent to treat oral lesions. Still further trials are needed in association of dosage to know its effectiveness as a cure for oral diseases.
APAP persuade hepatitis with an increase in oxidative stress, liver injury, hepatic GSH depletion and liver histopathology. With the presence of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and curing wound properties, Aloe vera helps to prevent these situations and is used as an adjunctive therapy for APAP-induced hepatitis.
Acts as antioxidant
The study was conducted on beneficial effects of methanol extract of leaf, flowers and skin of Aloe vera. Its antimycoplasmic and antioxidant activities was mainly focused on. The study reported that leaf and flower extracts possess antioxidant properties. The extract of leaf skin showed antimycoplasmic property which eliminates these bacteria. It has been concluded that extracts of Aloe vera from flowers and leaves skin is a natural antioxidant source.
Speed up healing process
Aloe vera is used as a topical medication which is rubbed onto skin rather than consumption. It has been used to treat burns and sores. It is effective when used as a topical treatment for first and second degree burns. Since thousands of years ago, it has been used as a natural healer. Its external use is an effective option for dressing wounds. The juice seals wound stopping flow of blood to wound. It enhances the wound healing process. The study have shown its effectiveness to treat third degree burn victims and restores burned skin faster. The large amount of aloe vera gel could heal wounds of tissue injuries and gunshots.
Prevent digestive issues
Aloe vera has adaptogenic properties which is helpful to maintain digestive health. It promotes better absorption of nutrients and eradicates toxic elements through smooth excretion. Healthy digestive process promotes overall health and affects actions as well as thoughts. It manages irritable bowel syndrome, piles, constipation and other gastrointestinal conditions that damages system. Aloe vera contains polysaccharides which help to cure ulcers and digestive problems. Ulcers are the prominent result of digestive problems that could be cured with the use of this plant extract. The studies show that it is able to cure peptic ulcers, Crohn’s disease and other digestive tract problems.
Strengthen immune system
The beverages prepared from Aloe vera juice contain detoxifying properties that helps to cleanse circulatory system and digestive system. When the absorption level of nutrients increases, it results in better circulation of blood and improves health. When the blood is rich in oxygen, it transports nutrients to cells efficiently. The healthy cells promote the ability of the body to counteract infections by strengthening immune system. It is able to neutralize harmful bacteria. The rejuvenating properties keeps the body fresh and active. The studies have shown immunomodulatory and antitumor activities due to aloe vera polysaccharides.
Aloe vera is used to treat skin problems since ancient times. The gel extracted from aloe vera leaf is a natural aid for skin abrasions and helps to lower symptoms of aging skin conditions. Aloe extract are included in cosmetics, toiletries, personal care products and skin care products. Apply the gel in raw form on face and is more effective in comparison to many expensive skin creams in the market. Drink its juice to enhance skin health. It also cures stings, acne, rashes and psoriasis.
Nausea occurs due to the consumption of contaminated food, due to chemotherapy treatments and having flu or virus. Though there are man-made medicines to treat nausea, even doctors are prescribing for natural options for treatment. Nausea might also occur due to disorders in stomach or digestive tract. The juice prepared from Aloe vera is helpful for sick stomach and makes feel better by providing calm feeling in the body which indirectly assists in alleviating the feelings of nausea.
- It is used to treat burns, wounds, minor skin infections, diabetes, Sebaceous cyst and elevated blood lipids.
- Aloe vera provides moisturizing, soothing and healing properties.
- Consume the juice of Aloe vera to provide relief from digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and heart burn.
- In India, Latin America, Jamaica, United States, South Africa, Russia, Japan and China, it is used as a traditional herbal medicine.
- Apply the sap to heal wounds.
- In diabetic people, its internal intake helps to improve levels of blood glucose.
- Aloe vera gel lowers the inflammation and symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
- Apply Aloe vera topialy for psoriasis and genital herpes.
- It provides protection from suntan or sunburn.
- It has antifungal and antibacterial properties that help to treat skin infections such as benign skin cysts and boils.
- Apply Aloe vera to prevent flaky scalp and skin in dry and harsh wealther.
- It could be applied as moisturizer for the people with oily skin
- Use the mixture of Aloe vera and raw cow’s milk for treating pneumonia, asthma, colds and biliousness.
- Externally apply the mixture of aloe vera, cattle tallow an grated cassava for treating acute dermatitis and ringworm.
- Apply the juice of leaf to stop bleeding from cuts.
- Rub the juice on skin to ease swellings, itches and worm afflictions.
- Leaves are used in NW Guyana to treat sores and abscesses also coughs, colds, pneumonia and malaria.
- In European folk medicine, it is used to promote digestion.
- In Chinese medicine, Aloe vera is used to treat fungal diseases.
- In Indian medicine, it is used as a cure for constipation, stomach tumors, amenorrhea, skin diseases, colic, infections and worm infestation.
- Use it internally for poor appetite, chronic constipation and digestive problems.
- In folk history, it is used to treat cancer.
- If used for long time period, it causes pigmentation in intestinal mucosa, hematuria and albuminuria.
- Longer term use also causes popular dermatitis, hypersensitivity and loss of potassium.
- Its prolonged use promotes chances of colon carcinoma.
- Pregnant women should not use it.
- It should not be used on children under 12 years of age.
- If used internally might cause diarrhea and cramping pain in gastrointestinal tract.
- Long term use of gel causes skin rashes.
- Adverse effects such as oedema, kidney damage and heart rhythm might be experienced.
- Not to be used by the patients with irritable bowel syndrome and haemorrhoids.
- Aloe vera juice increase the side effects of Cytochrome P450 3A4 and CYP2D6.
- The supplements of Aloe if used inappropriately cause acute hepatitis, thyroid dysfunction and perioperative bleeding.
How to Eat
- Aloe vera gel is used as an ingredient in beverages, yogurt and some desserts.
- In Tamil Nadu, curry of Aloe vera is served with rice or nan bread.
The sap or derivatives of Aloe Vera is used in products such as tissues, make up, soaps, moisturizer, incense, sunscreens, shampoos and shaving cream.