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Aloe vera

Type Categories Useful Parts


Aloaceae Family

Aloe Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Barbados aloe, Curacao aloe, Medicinal Aloe, Chinese Aloe, Indian Aloe, True Aloe, Barbados Aloe, Burn Aloe, First Aid Plant, Wand of Heaven and Miracle Plant


Aloe vera is a perennial plant, which grows wild in eastern and southern Africa. The natural range of A. vera is unclear, as the species has been widely cultivated throughout the world. It is cultivated in the West Indies and has been found in the Zapata area of Texas

Physical Description
Aloe vera is a perennial, succulent plant (meaning its leaves hold large quantities of water). The plant can grow up to 4 feet tall. The plant's tough, fleshy, spear like leaves can grow up to 36 inches long. The plant has a thick fibrous root which produces large basal leaves. The leaves are one to two feet long, two to three feet wide, gradually tapering to a point. They are whitish green on both sides and bear spiny teeth on the margins. Red, yellow, purple, or pale striped flowers are present most of the year, growing in a long raceme at the top of the flower stalk which originates from the center of the basal leaves. The flower stalk can grow up to four and a half feet in height. The fruit is a triangular capsule containing numerous seeds

General Information

Man has used aloe for over 5000 years. Egyptians first wrote of the healing powers of the plant on their ancient papyrus texts calling it the plant of immortality. Cleopatra and Nefertiti bathed in aloe juice to retain their youth and beautiful looks. Aloe is mentioned several times in the Bible. It was used in the burial of Jesus. History and legend tells that Aristotle convinced Alexander the Great to conquer the island of Socotra in order to collect aloe plants to use as medicine for his soldiers. Greek writer Dioscorides made detailed accounts of aloe’s uses. Aloe’s influence spread far and wide. Aloe was also employed as an embalming ingredient.

Medicinal Uses: Aloe vera is thought to have "biogenic stimulators" and wound healing hormone activity. Externally, the juice has been used to treat skin diseases, burns, and bruises, having both soothing and healing properties. When the soft, pulpy leaves are cut or broken, the clear juice flows freely and should be applied to the affected area as quickly as possible. Liquid aloe vera also helps prevent scar tissue from occurring inside the body at the site of an incision. If the gel is applied frequently just after surgery, the incision will heal more rapidly and leave less scar tissue.

Food Uses: Used in small amounts as a flavoring agent in many foods. The nutritional value comes from the 18 amino acids, minerals, and vitamins it contains.

Leaves - cooked. Very bitter, they are an emergency food that is only used when all else fails. A gel in the leaves is sometimes used as an ingredient of commercial jellies. Seed. An emergency food used when all else fails

Other Notes: In the East Indies, aloes are used as a varnish, to preserve wood from worms and other insects; and skins from insect bites, and even living animals are anointed with it for the same reason. The havoc committed by the white ants in India first suggested the trial of aloe juice, to protect wood from them; for which purpose the juice is either used as an extract, or in solution, by some solvent.

Aloes have been found effectual in preserving ships from the ravages of the worm and the adhesion of barnacles. The resinous part of this juice is not soluble in water so the ship's bottom, for this purpose, is smeared with a composition of hepatic aloes, turpentine, tallow, and white lead, (equal parts). In proof of the efficacy off this method, 2 planks of equal thickness, and cut off the same tree, were placed under water, one in its natural state, and the other smeared with the composition. On taking them up, after being immersed 8 months, the latter was found to be perfect as at first, while the former was entirely penetrated with insects, and in a state of absolute rottenness

The leaf extracts are used in skin-care cosmetic products. Plants have been grown indoors in pots in order to help remove toxins from the atmosphere. It is also unusual in that it continues to release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide in the dark, making it very suitable for growing in bedrooms

Lore, Life, or Legend: One legend tells us that Alexander the Great was urged to conquer the island of Socotra just so his troops could have a steady supply of this wound remedy.
From the Bible's mention of removing Christ from the cross and wrapping his body in aloes and myrrh, (John 19:39), we find Aloe Vera mysteriously appearing in every phase of history, with many testimonials to its great medicinal values. The earliest documented use of Aloe Vera comes from the ancient Egyptians, but it was also grown and used by King Solomon, who was said to have valued it highly

During his fabled travels in the Orient, among the many marvels recorded by Marco Polo were his descriptions of the many applications of the Aloe Vera plant. The Spanish Conquistadors discovered various herbal medicines in use in Tenochtitlán. At the heart of many of the Aztec cures, it is known that Aloe Vera was the effective agent. These Aztec herbal medicines were transported back to Europe by the Spanish, during the sixteenth century, where they became the foundation for modern Western medicine.

Cleopatra’s famed beauty is also attributed to the natural goodness of Aloe Vera. While the Arabs have a tradition of placing it at graves as a symbol of regeneration and resurrection, the African hunters used its gel as a deodorant


Comment: Aloe , Aloe vera

Page Posts: 1

June 30, 2010
Probably one of the best plants to know!


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