Scientific name: AloeVera(L.) Burm.f.
Common name: aloe Vera
Conservation status: Not considered to be threatened.
Habitat: AloeVera is acultivated plant but naturalised
populations occur in dry, often rocky and exposed areas.
Key Uses: Food, food supplements, herbal remedies and
Known hazards: The bitter yellow leaf exudates can be
harmful and should not be taken by children, or by pregnant
or breastfeeding women. The colourless leaf parenchyma
(gel) can occasionallycause skinirritation.
What is Aloe Vera?
The Aloe Vera plant is a succulent perennialand a
species of plantbelongingto theLily family which is
part of a larger familyof plants known as "Xeroids". Of
the known medicinalAloes, Aloe Barbadensis Miller
has theGreatest medicinal activity and is theonly Aloe
bearing the botanical name Aloe Vera, Vera meaning
true in Latin,Thus "True Aloe" or "Aloe Vera".
AloeVeraisa short-stemmedshrubby aloe,frequently
suckering andformingdense clumps.Theleaves are
succulent,erect,forminga denserosette.Theleaves are
greyish green,growing toabout50 cmlong,withmarginsthat
are pinkishwith manysmallspines.The leafsurfacesare
yellow,tubular, andup to3 cm long,with anthersand stigma
protruding.Theflowersare borne in cylindrical racemesona
branched panicleup to90cm tall.
AloeVerawas formerlyclassifiedas partofthe
Asphodelaceaefamily,but thisis now includedin
AloeVerais easy to cultivate, withno special
requirements.It should be grown in a well-draining
gritty mix.The compost should be soaked when
wateringduringthegrowing season, and allowed to
dry out between waterings. It can be grown in a
cool/warm glasshouseand put outside for the
summer.Plants can offsetprofusely, so propagation is
by pottingup offsets.
AloeVerahas been used for centuries and it is more popular today
than ever. Itis cultivated around the world as a crop for its colourless
jelly-like leaf parenchyma known as 'aloe gel'. It is used for a variety of
purposes in food, food supplements, herbal remedies and cosmetics.
AloeVeraleaf parenchyma (aloe gel) may beeffective when used on the
skin against psoriasis, burns, frostbite, and sores caused by the Herpes
Thegreen outer layer of the leaves of AloeVerayields a bitter, yellow
exudates which has very different properties from those of the
colourless parenchyma. However, research has indicated that the active
constituents may have harmful effects and can interact with other
medicines and herbal remedies.
Aloe Vera contains many vitamins including A,C, E, folic acid, chorine,
B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6.
Aloe is known to soothe and cleanse the digestive tract and help
Becauseof aloe’s well-known healing properties for the skin, aloe is one
of the primary compounds used in the cosmetic industry.
Aloe Vera contains 12 substances, including B-sisterole, which can help
to slow downor inhibit inflammation.
Aloe Vera is incredibly medicinal, yet there are somecautions against
Aloe is also an immune enhancer because of its high level of anti-
oxidants, which helpcombat the unstable compounds known as free-
radicals, contributing to the aging process.