Aloe vera

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Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f.

alt=Description of A.vera-suzana-1.jpg picture.
Order Asparagales
Family Asphodelaceae
Genus Aloe

2n = 14

Origin : North-East Africa


English Aloe vera
French aloès

Uses summary
  • medicinal :
    • exudate : laxative, purgative, vermifuge
    • gel : skin affections
  • gel used in the manufacture of jellies, drinks and ice cream
  • gel: food supplement
  • leaves and seeds are consumed as vegetables
  • ornemental


  • stemless or short-stemmed plant, stoloniferous
  • fleshy lanceolate leaves, 30 to 60 cm long, ending in a fine point, prickly toothed
  • inflorescence on a stipe up to 1.2 m, with lanceolate or ovate, pointed bracts
  • yellow flowers 2.5 cm long in dense clusters of 10 to 30 cm
  • fruit: dehiscent capsule
  • black seeds

Popular names

English aloe vera, Barbados aloe, coastal aloe, Curaçao aloe, Indian aloe, medicinal aloe, Mediterranean aloe, true aloe, West Indian aloe
French aloès, aloès vulgaire, aloe vera
Guyanese creole aloé [lalwès, lalowès] (Pharma. Guyane)
Palikur punamna arib (Pharma. Guyane)
Portuguese aloés, aloé vera, aloés de Barbados, caraguatá, erva babosa, babosa, azebre vegetal
Philippines sabila (Tagalog), dilang-buwaya (Bikol), dilang-halo (Bisaya) (PROSEA)
Indonesia lidah buaya (PROSEA)
Malaysia lidah buaya (Peninsular), bunga raja raja (Sabah) (PROSEA)
Thaïland waan faimai (northern), waan hang chorakhe, haang takhe (central) (PROSEA)
Vietnam lô hội, lư hội, nha dảm (PROSEA)


Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f. (1768) (between March 1st and April 6th)

basionym :

  • Aloe perfoliata var. vera L. (1753)

synonyms :

  • Aloe barbadensis Mill. (1768) (April 16th, after Burman)
  • Aloe indica Royle (1840), nom. nud.




In addition to its laxative properties, this species is employed for dyeing.

The harvest of the "aloes" is described in CHOPRA et al. (1960) : "après avoir pratiqué une incision sur une feuille tournée vers le bas, il s'en échappe un liquide jaunâtre qui forme, fréquemment, de petites masses vasculaires. Concentré puis solidifié, par refroidissement, ce liquide fournit le produit commercial appelé aloes". Translation : after making an incision on a leaf turned downwards, a yellowish liquid escapes from it, which frequently forms small vascular masses. When concentrated and then solidified by cooling, this liquid provides the commercial product called aloes

The "juice" from the leaves of this Liliaceae with anthracene heterosides is used in medicine as "laxative and purgative" (PARIS and DILLEMAN, 1960; PARIS and MOYSE, 1967). These properties of Aloe vera (ar. = Sabara) are also reported by LEMORDANT et al. (1977).

The leaves of "aloes" are possibly used in mixture with henna in the region of Zarzis in order to obtain a "dye" of wool of beige shade (COUSTILLAC, 1958).

Le Floc'h, 1983, Ethnobotanique tunisienne , 64

Since about 1650 it has been cultivated for drug production on Barbados isl. Frequently cultivated and locally naturalized in subtropical and tropical regions around the world. The drug is processed from the bitter, yellow leaf sap by drying. It is used in the human and veterinary medicine; it is also important as constituent of cremes, emulsions and shampoo. A dye is produced from the leaves which is used for staining clothes. The species plays a role in magic and religious rituals in several countries. Also cultivated as hedge plant and ornamental. Intensive studies are underway on its secondary metabolites, useful for medicine. This species had been used as drug already in the antiquity. It had been presumably brought into the New World by the Spaniards. Agarwal (1988) mentioned A. abyssinica, called "desi kwar", to be used in western parts of India. This is, indeed not this species but a variety of A. barbadensis.



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