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BASICS
INDEX


Why Aloe?
What is Aloe?
History
Nutrients Common Uses

What is Aloe?

What is Aloe Vera Barbadensis?
Aloe Vera Barbadensis is a species of Aloe, native to northern Africa. A succulent plant growing to 39 inches tall, spreading by offsets and root sprouts. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green with a serrated edge. The flowers are produced on a protruding stalk up to 35 inches tall, each flower, has a yellow tubular corolla 1 inch long.

Aloe Vera has been a popular houseplant, one would break off a leaf to treat a burn. Aloe Vera needs a warm and dry climate with a rich nutrient soil, it can sustain long periods without water, feeding itself from the gel inside the leaf. Aloe Vera is a member of the Lily family even though it looks somewhat like a cactus. There are around 200 species of Aloe, but it is the Aloe Barbadensis Miller (Aloe Vera or "true aloe") plant which has been of most use to mankind because of the medicinal properties it displays.

The lower leaf of the plant is used for medicinal purpose. If the lower leaf is sliced open, the gel obtained can be applied on the affected area of the skin. Leaves and seeds are the two edible parts of Aloe Vera.

The Aloe leaf structure is made up of four layers

  • Rind - the outer protective layer
  • Sap - a layer of bitter fluid which helps protect the plant from animals
  • Mucilage Gel - the inner part of the leaf that is filleted out to make Aloe Vera gel
  • Aloe Vera (inner gel) contains the 8 essential Amino Acids that the human body needs but cannot manufacture
Aloe Vera has a bitter taste in its raw state, but can be mixed with fruit juice to make it more palatable. Aloe is sold in two forms; juice and gel. The juice is made from a substance just under the skin of the leaf and the gel is fillet harvested from the leaf.