Aloe vera

Aloe vera

Aloe vera (Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f.) is a succulent plant of the family Aloeaceae (Xanthorrhoeaceae according to the classification APG III), which prefers hot, dry climates.

Systematic –
According to the Classification Cronquist, Aloe vera belongs to the Domain Eukaryota, the Kingdom Plantae, Division Magnoliophyta wing, the Class Liliopsida, Liliales Order, the Aloeaceae Family, the Gender and Aloe species A. true.

Etymology –
The etymology of this word is not very clear. It may derive from a word of oriental origin (Arab probably) which means “bitter” or the greek “ALS-alos” meant “salt”, to remember her bitter taste similar to that of seawater. Whatever its etymology is certain that it is a plant known since ancient times for its many therapeutic abilities. The first records were found on a clay tablet found at Nippur near Baghdad and dated 2200 BC.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The aloe plant, also known as aloe vera or medicine, is a species of succulent plant in the genus Aloe which is believed to have originated in the Sudan. L ‘Aloe vera grows in arid climates and is widely distributed in Africa, India and other dry regions. The species is frequently cited for use in herbal medicine. Many scientific studies have been undertaken on the use of aloe plant extracts, some of which are contradictory. Despite these limitations, there are some preliminary evidence that Aloe vera extracts may be useful in the treatment of wounds and burns, minor skin infections, sebaceous cysts, diabetes and lipids in the blood of humans. These positive effects are thought to be due to the presence of compounds such as polysaccharides, mannans, anthraquinones and lectins.
The natural distribution range of aloe plant is not clear, given that the species has been widely cultivated around the world. Naturalized specimens of the species are found in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula, through North Africa (Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt), as well as the Sudan and neighboring countries, as well as the Canary Islands and Cape Verde, Madeira Islands.
This distribution is somewhat similar to that of ‘Euphorbia balsamifera, Pistacia Atlantica, and a few others, suggesting that a dry forest once covered large areas, but has been drastically reduced due to the desertification of the Sahara, leaving these little isolated areas. Several closely related species (or sometimes identical) can be found on the two extreme sides of the Sahara: Dragon and Aeonium trees are some of the most representative examples. The species was introduced in China and in various parts of Southern Europe in the 17th century. The species is widely naturalized elsewhere in temperate and tropical regions of Australia, Barbados, Belize, Nigeria, Paraguay and the United States. E ‘has been suggested that the distribution of the actual species is the result of human cultivation, and that the taxonomy of the aloe plant may be doubtful.

Description –
The aloe plant is a plant with no stem or a very short fat shank extending peri ca. 60-100 cm from the ground. The leaves are thick and fleshy, ranging from green to gray-green, with some varieties showing white spots on the upper and lower stem surfaces. The margin of the leaf is serrated has small white teeth. The flowers are blooming in summer with tall spikes of up to 90 cm, each flower is pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2-3 cm long. Like other species of aloe, the aloe plant creates a symbiosis that allows better access to nutrients and minerals in the soil.
Aloe vera contains numerous compounds, active and nutrients: it seems that if more than 150 count, and all combine to give benefits to the whole human organism.
Let’s see in detail its composition:
• vitamins: A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, folic acid (B9) and niancina (vitamin PP or vitamin B3);
• minerals: iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, chromium, sodium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, copper and zinc;
• several types of enzymes;
• amino acids: 7 of 8 essential amino acids are present and in most other non-essential amino acids useful as building blocks for the various functionalities;
• complex sugars called polysaccharides (glucomannan or muco-polysaccharides);
• mucilage and organic acids: aloetic acid (antibiotic), cinnamic acid (antiseptic and germicidal effect), salicylic acid (anti-inflammatory);
• sterols and plant hormones.
Having regard to its composition, its properties are so numerous and linked to many benefits to the whole organism, and they are:
Anti-aging of the skin and body in general: it is an exceptional antioxidant that drastically reduces the harmful effect of free radicals. For anti-aging function is taking at least 50 ml of fresh juice daily and if necessary also the regular use of cosmetic products containing aloe directly topical gel.
Antibiotic and antibacterial: thanks to the presence of anthraquinone glycosides as aloeina and aloetic acid, we will have antibiotic action, bactericidal and germicidal: together they become capable of a strong antibacterial capabilities, antifungal and antiviral. In fact, numerous studies have shown that aloe vera is active against bacteria, fungi and viruses: taken daily, the juice creates an unfavorable terrain to any microbiological attack, although the targeted use when the need for drinkable juice is always a good remedy of emergency. There are products such as creams disinfectant and antibiotic for topical use.
Immunomodulatory: its active ingredients strengthen the immune system.
Anti-inflammatory: it reduces inflammation particularly of muscle tissue and joints.
Purifying and detoxifying: its mixture of components is able to regulate body functions and helps eliminate waste and harmful substances from the body.
Cicatrizing: for its stimulation activity of fibroblasts precursors of epithelial cells, is useful both externally to the internal injury and ulceration of the esophagus and of the whole stomatal tract mucosa, intestinal and excretion. In case of burns it is very refreshing and helps to soothe the pain and to regenerate tissue epiteliare.
Digestive and beneficial for the gut: thanks to the presence of mucopolysaccharides, promotes intestinal motility and activates the lazy bowel. It is a purgative, but a facilitator that normalizes the bacterial flora, relieves inflammation of the intestinal mucosa and enhances the activity of the colon and pancreas, regulates the pH of the stomach and intestines, and reduces internal putrefaction situations.

Cultivation –
For the cultivation technique, read the following sheet.

Customs and traditions –
The use of aloe is very old, as evidenced by the cuneiform text of a number of clay tablets found in the late nineteenth century by a group of archaeologists in the Mesopotamian city of Nippur, near Baghdad, Iraq, and dated around 2000 B.C The text reads “… the leaves looked like blades of knives.” Aloe was known and also used among the Egyptians (eg. Mentioned in the “Ebers Papyrus” in 1550 BC) for preparations for embalming (hence “plant of immortality”) or for the care and hygiene the body or as a healing, and mentioned several times in the Bible (eg. John 19, 39: “… and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight”) as aromatic plant or for the preparation of ointments before burial .
The systematic study of this plant began in 1959 thanks to Bill Coats, a Texas pharmacist, who developed a process to stabilize the pulp pioneering the commercialization of aloe without oxidation and fermentation problems. In parallel, the US government officially declared the healing properties of this plant for the treatment of burns. Since then sull’aloe studies are very active around the world.
From a chemical point of view we can distinguish three major classes of components in the aloe: the complex sugars, particularly glucomannans among which the acemannan, in the internal transparent gel with immuno-stimulating properties; anthraquinones in the green part of the leathery strongly laxative action leaf and then several other substances such as mineral salts, vitamins, amino acids, organic acids, phospholipids, enzymes, lignins and saponins.
Scientific evidence for the cosmetic and therapeutic efficacy of aloe plant are limited and when present are often contradictory. Despite this, the cosmetics industry and alternative medicine regularly make claims regarding the soothing properties, moisturizing and therapeutic of the aloe plant, especially via Internet advertising. Aloe vera gel is used as an ingredient in creams on the market, yogurt, beverages (including natural foods) and some sweets. The aloe plant juice is used for consumption and relief of digestive problems such as heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome, although it carries a significant potential for toxicity when taken orally. And ‘common practice for cosmetic companies to add sap or other derivatives from Aloe vera to products such as makeup, tissues, moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens, incense, shaving cream and shampoo. Other uses for aloe plant extracts include the dilution of semen for artificial insemination of sheep, use as fresh food preservative, and use for water conservation in small companies agricole.I alleged therapeutic uses of Aloe vera , they are not exclusive of the species and are found in greater or lesser degree in all aloe gel, and in fact are shared with a large number of plants belonging to the family Asphodelaceae. Frutescens Bulbine, for example, is widely used for the treatment of burns and a series of affections of the skin. The aloe plant has a long history of interaction with herbal medicine, although it is not known when its medical applications were implemented.
The first documents on the use of aloe plant appear in the Ebers Papyrus from 16th century BC; regarding medical, both in Dioscorides De Materia and Pliny the Elder written in the mid-first century AD Natural History as well as in the Juliana Anicia Codex written in 512 AD.
L ‘aloe vera is not toxic, and no known side effects, provided that the’ aloin has been removed during processing. Take aloe vera that contains aloin in high amounts has been associated with several side effects. However, the species is widely used in traditional herbal medicine of China, Japan, Russia, South Africa, United States, Jamaica, Latin America and India. The aloe plant can be effective in the treatment of wounds. The evidence on the therapeutic effects of its sap on wound healing, however, is limited and contradictory. Some studies, for example, show chela aloe plant helps cure rates, while, on the contrary, other studies show that wounds to which aloe vera gel was applied were significantly slower to heal than those treated with traditional medical preparations. A more recent review (2007) concludes that the cumulative evidence supports the use of aloe vera for the healing of first to second degree burns. In addition to topical use in the healing of wounds or burns, the aloe vera inner intake has been linked in prior research to improved blood sugar levels in diabetics, and with lower amounts of blood lipids in hyperlipidemic patients, but also in cases of acute hepatitis.
In other diseases, preliminary studies have suggested that the oral use of aloe planted can reduce symptoms and inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis. The compounds extracted from aloe vera have been used as immunostimulants, helping to fight cancer in dogs and cats; However, this treatment has not been scientifically tested in humans. The topical application of aloe vera may be effective for genital herpes and psoriasis. However, it is not effective for the prevention of lesions induced by radiation. Although anecdotally useful, it has not been shown to offer protection against sunburn from sun exposure. In a double blind clinical trial, is the group that used a toothpaste containing aloe vera and the group using a fluoride toothpaste, it ended up being a reduction in gingivitis and plaque, but no statistically significant difference was found between the two extracts aloe plant that showed effectiveness in ‘antibacterial and antifungal activities, which perhaps could help treat minor skin infections.

Preparation mode –
Aloe vera drink is one of the most effective natural remedies and useful for the welfare of the whole organism. The composition of the active ingredients, nutrients and phytosubstances is so wide that the benefits and its properties are virtually countless. Here’s how to prepare aloe vera drink homemade and some advice if you buy the products in the store to drink based on aloe vera.
We find on the market products based on aloe in different forms: as a supplement in single dose tablets, powders, creams. The most effective remedy is, however, the juice to drink, a drink made from aloe vera gel, usually referred to as the product cold-pressed from aloe gel and turned into juice 100% (cold stabilization process).
These aloe vera products to drink are not, however, usually fresh products as to keep in the refrigerator but packaged products to long conservation which usually have undergone pasteurization or the addition of additives and preservatives.
Read the label is required to choose a good product: make sure that the list of ingredients in the first place there is obviously aloe vera, no water and no more than one or two preservatives (the best is citric acid).
The decision to buy an aloe vera juice from organic farming is another guarantee for a high quality product.
The juice is obtained from the leaves of the aloe gel and its intake is recommended in the morning on an empty stomach, and even 30 minutes before meals, in doses of 20 ml of juice to a maximum of 60 ml per day.
When the label of the product is indicated “aloe vera juice” so it means that is obtained by centrifugation of whole leaf and subsequent chemical extraction dell’aloina; Instead the “aloe vera gel” is obtained by cutting the leaf, and taking only the gel without aloin.
The aloin is the active principle is laxative, which is located in the rind of aloe leaves. The inner part of the leaf where the gel therefore does not contain aloin. The dell’aloina laxative effect at high doses and a tonic to the gut at low dosages.
Usually purgatives aloe substances are removed or decreased in liquids to drink juice to control the laxative effect.
The preparation of aloe gel juice is a recipe that can be done even with the plant that we grow in our house if we respect the process and we are a bit ‘careful in cleaning and extraction process.
Collect the severing of aloe leaves with a sharp knife at the base of the leaf. The most healthy leaves and at the base of the plant are larger and easier to work with.
The leaves must be washed with water, rubbing and removing the earth and dust. Subsequently, thoroughly clean hands with sanitizing detergent or wear gloves to avoid contamination.
Cut to length on one side of the leaf and remove all the green and yellow part, retaining only the transparent viscous gel with a spoon will be enough to separate and immediately put it in the blender.
The oxidation that takes place in contact with the air does lose some beneficial substances thus faster work better. In blender we can add fruit juices such as citrus to 100% and then activate the appliance until obtaining the desired homogeneity juice.
The aloe juice can be eaten fresh or stored in the refrigerator up to a maximum of 15 days in a glass jar, preferably dark, previously cleaned and sterilized.
The aloe vera gel is an effective remedy also against hemorrhoids. You can use the gel extracted from the plant also to prepare a syrup. Here are the doses:
• 300 grams of aloe gel,
• 500 grams of honey
• 4 tablespoons of an alcohol such as whiskey, rum or brandy.
Frulliamo everything and keep in the refrigerator. It will have a much longer and perhaps more pleasant taste shelf life.
Recall that housewives self-productions are performed in a workmanlike manner by knowing the processes and taking great care to ensure the safety of the product. In particular aloe presents irritating or even toxic substances (such as aloin) which is located in the leaf to be excluded from the preparation.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health from the Pharmacy of the Lord, tips and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Please note: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgici uses are indicated for information purposes only, do not represent in any way a medical prescription; it accepts no liability on their use for therapeutic purposes, cosmetic or food.

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