It is medicinal and cosmetically important plant species. Aloe vera is short-stemmed shrub, sometimes described as a “wonder plant. Aloe vera is flowering succulent plant. Many Aloes occur naturally in North Africa.

By Aimn Jabeen, Athar Mahmood

There are more than 300 species of Aloe vera but Aleo barbadensis is most common species of Aloe vera. In Pakistan its common name is quargandal belong to family liliaceae. The species of this family distributed in North Africa, Southern Europe, and Canary Islands.

Now a day’s Aloe vera cultivated in tropical climates throughout the worldwide. They have short stem and mostly plants are stem less. The species of this plant have thick and flashy green leaves and their margins look like white small teeth. Each plant generally has 16 to 18 leaves. The use of herbs and medicinal plants is a universal phenomenon. Plants possess components, which render beneficial properties. Use of plants as a source of medicine has been inherited and is an important component of the health care system. The biological inhibitions by different natural substances, such as essential oils and plant extracts have been investigated widely against cancer.
Meanwhile olden days, plants are used to treat many ailments. In india, 45,000 plant species are present and several thousand medicinal properties have been claimed.

Aloe vera derives its name from the Arabic word “Alloeh” which means “shining bitter substance” because of the bitter liquid found in the leaves and Vera which means “true” in Latin. This species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. Aloe vera is a cactus like plant, although is related to the onion, garlic and asparagus. The earliest record of a human use for Aloe vera comes from the Ebers Papyrus (an Egyptian medical record) from the16th century BC. According to a  study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, the ancient Egypt, called this plant is “plant of immortality.” There are three main layers of the Aloe vera leaves.

 Inner jel or juice
 Yellow sap
 Outer thick layer

Vitamins A, C and E present in Aloe vera gel and 99.3% water, remaining 0.7% is made up of solids with glucose and mannose. Aloe vera juice is useful for the treatment of dengue. Species of Aloe vera selected for their commercial exploitation and healing benefits because it is easily available and distributed everywhere. About 80% of world population use herbs to treat disease and wounds due to their antibacterial properties. Researchers now believe that 90% of all diseases begin in the digestive tract. Therefore, proper digestion, absorption and assimilation of nutrients are necessary for optimum and good health. Lining blocks by toxins so it reducing the effectiveness of absorbing nutrients and vitamins, and they pass straight through your system without getting absorbed. Toxins are those substances that accumulate in the body and causes harm to the body. When your body do not get the nutrition from your body suffers deficiencies then it resulting the diseases. When Aloe vera consumed it helps to remove the toxins from the digestive tract or it has the ability to loosen and gently dispose of these toxins clearing the lining and enabling the body to absorb full benefits of the nutrients from the foods we eat.

Aloe vera uses in medicine

Now a days Aloe vera used in medicines, capsules, tablets, ointments, gel preparations and cosmetics. Aloe vera commercially available in food and drink products. Aloe vera is used as a natural flavring substance. This plant is most important because it is useful for antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral effects on human health. Due to their historical importance of healing wounds Aloe plays an important role in the formation of collagen and lubricate the joints. It cleanses and detoxifies the body metabolism. Old age people face the dental problem. Due to lack of awareness they do not clean their teeth properly. So Aloe vera gel is useful for oral hygiene because it has significant antimicrobial properties without any side effect. Worldwide study shows that Aloe vera has act as a tonic for immune system and helpful for every type of illness. Aloe vera juice or gel is act as a laxative because it is use for treatment of constipation or diarrhea within a few days. Aloe juice is used for treatment of diabetes because it help to lowers the blood sugar level. Aloe vera is only one herbal plant source which protect lung cancer and it can help long time survival of cancer patient. Juice of Aloe vera is useful for ulcer, heartburn and it overcome the problem of obesity.

Aloe vera uses in cosmetics

Commercially it is also used in cosmetics. It used for its cooling and soothing effects. It is not only used in humans, it is also used as well as in animals, it is also used as a sunblock and moisturizer. Mudaro says “In general, Aloe can be used to reduce skin irritation and inflammations such as acne and eczema”. Many products are available in market for whitening but they have many side effects. But Aloe barbadensis is natural product which have no side effect because it contains vitamins, minerals and protein. So its extract is produce good whitening, anti-wrinkle and sunscreen effect on skin. Pulp of Aloe vera is good for nourishment of hairs because it is rich in nutrients and it help in remove dandruff due to antibacterial properties. Aloe can be used as an aftershave to prevent razor burn. Aloe vera gel is used in makeup remover.

Authors: Aimn Jabeen, Athar Mahmood University of Agriculture, Faisalabad