Aloe arborescens (Aloe arborescens Mill., 1768) is a succulent plant of the Aloe family, used both as an ornamental plant in gardens and as a medicinal plant with strong regenerating and detoxifying powers.
From a systematic point of view, Aloe arborescens belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Liliopsida Class, Liliales Order, Aloaceae Family and then Aloe Genera and Species A. arborescens.
The term Aloe comes from the Latin al’e (in Pliny), perhaps from the Greek ἁλς, ἁλός hals-halós sea or, most likely, from aluat bitter berry, for its bitter juice. The word arborescens: (Artemisia, Colutea, Crassula, Viola, Heliotropium, Heteromorpha, Aloe, etc.) comes from tree dwarf: it becomes tree, shrub.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Aloe arborescens is a present species and in the tropical range of Eurasia, Africa and America. We find it in South Africa and Madagascar. It grows in pre-desert and desert areas, arid but develops well throughout the temperate and warm Mediterranean climate.
Today, however, the plant is practically spread all over the world, mostly near the sea, and is highly cultivated for its cosmetic and medicinal properties. In Italy, the plant is very present on the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Tyrrhenian coasts, and in any case in areas where temperatures do not drop below zero.
Aloe arborescens is a succulent herbaceous perennial plant, which can grow up to 4 meters wide, branched; In natural formations it expands into large, branched bushes with large inflorescences.
The leaves are up to 50 cm long with protruding dentures of about 5 mm. The flowers are arranged in bunch of red / orange.
It is an autosteroid plant: it is reproduced only with cross-pollination, as the male and female flowers of the same plant do not cross between them.
It should be said that among the more than 350 species of Aloe, Aloe Arborescens is the one that best suits our temperatures. It can withstand the nighttime frosts, with no temperature problems even some degrees below zero. However, Aloe Arborescens can be cultivated safely on the ground, on your garden, if you live in southern Italy, or in the coastal areas of the Center-North, where winter temperatures are not very stiff. In northern regions and in general in mountainous areas, vine growing is recommended, so that the plant can be sheltered during the colder months.
Whether on the ground or in a pot, the Aloe Arborescens likes exposure in the sun. Scientific studies show that the amount of gel, the size of the plant and the length of the leaves are directly proportional to the amount of sunlight received from the plant throughout its life.
As for irrigation, Aloe arborescens, like many other succulents, tolerate drought very well, while not tolerating water stagnation in any way, so water use should be weighed against its real needs vegetative. Indeed, in their natural habitats, the Aloe always grows in the well-drained slopes and hardly downstream, or in places where water stagnation may occur.
In warmer periods of the summer, Aloe Arborescens is watered down with some persistence, even 1-2 times a week, taking care not to wet the leaves. This prevents the water from depositing between leaves, with the danger of the formation of dangerous rotations.
Then water abundantly and let the soil dry until the next irrigation.
Upon the fall of autumn and even more than the winter, the Aloe watering is gradually diminished, until it is completely suspended throughout the winter. With the spring, the watering takes place gradually.
If Aloe Arborescens is cultivated for therapeutic purposes, it is best not to irrigate 7-8 days before harvesting for active ingredients to be more concentrated.
Aloe Arborescens prefers a well-drained soil, where water can flow without creating stagnation. They are plants that do not have special requirements for land.
The ideal is a mixed ground with three parts of river sand and one of the universal soil, plus the addition of drainage material, such as pumice stone, or volcanic lapillo.
At the bottom of the jar, or at the bottom of the ground whenever you want to plant Aloe on the ground, always take care to deposit two fingers of expanded clay, or pieces of clay, or of the normal gravel. It’s an easy way to improve water drainage and avoid the radical rotations I spoke to.
If grown in pots, the Aloe Arborescens reverberation should be carried out every year in spring, gradually increasing the size of the vessel.
Not having a very deep root system, it is better to opt for a wider than deep vessel and with proper drainage holes, as, as I have repeatedly repeated, Aloe does not like water stagnations
The Aloe Arborescens need no fertilizer. In any case, if you want to fertilize it, this should be done once a month, starting from the beginning of spring until the end of the summer.
I totally disapprove the use of chemical fertilizers. Much better opt for homemade natural preparations, such as the common macerated nuts or herbs, which produce nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, without affecting the soil with toxic substances, both plant and man.
The Aloe is not worth it. Simply eliminate the basal leaves that dries in time to prevent becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.
It is very important that the tool used for cutting is clean and disinfected on flame, to avoid infecting the inner tissues.
The multiplication of aloe arborescens occurs by suckling or cuttings, although, like the other species of Aloe, they can be reproduced for seed. Being autosterter plants, that is, the male and female flowers of the same plant can not cross between them or with plants of the same variety, plants of different varieties of Aloe are needed to be able to obtain fertile seeds.
The multiplication of the Aloe through the cake is certainly the simplest and fastest way. Cuttings are nothing more than a “branch”, which is cut off from the mother plant with a sharp cut, or simply rooting it out with your hands, if the cuttings are not very large.
It’s an operation to do in the spring. Aloe Arborescens plant from the base of the algae that normally form. They have to be cut with a sharp knife, clean and disinfected and left in a shaded and ventilated place for a week to facilitate the latex spill that would prevent rooting.
After that it is succulent to plant the herb in a soil made up of river sand and a bit of soil (the ratio 3: 1 is optimal). Aloe Arborescens cuttings do not require radical powder. It is a rooting plant that is extremely easy, once grounded enough to wait, soaking the ground as little as possible. The rooting time varies from 2-3 to several months, depending on the climatic conditions.
As soon as they have grafted, they can be replanted and treated like adult aloe plants.
Among the parasites and illnesses, one remembers that of leaves with loss of scars.
If aloe leaves present this symptom and become completely green, it means that lighting is poor. The remedy is simply to move the plant to a brighter place.
When the leaves begin to yellow, they appear yellow and brown. After these manifestations the leaves crumble, they look almost powdery and fall. Observing carefully, you also notice the thin webs especially on the bottom of the leaves. With this symptom we are most likely in the presence of a red spider attack, a very annoying and damaging mite.
The remedy is to increase the frequency of hair sprays (lack of moisture promotes their proliferation) and, if necessary, use home-made (never chemical) garlic based insecticides, or using ever-effective neem oil. It is a cold extracted oil from grinding Neem plant seeds, with antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antiseptic and antifungal properties and repulsive to many types of insects and parasites, including the red spider.
Finally, if the Aloe plant is not particularly large, you can also try to clean the leaves to mechanically eliminate the parasite by using a wet cotton wadding and soap. After that the aloe is rinsed very well to remove all the soap.
For leaf harvesting, it is important to collect the leaves from a biologically grown Aloe Arborescens plant, possibly away from sources of pollution (roads, factories, landfills, etc.) and have at least 4 years of life. An older plant has more properties than a young plant.
Choose leaves too too high, because they are too young or too low because they are too old, they will be yellowed, half dried or dried.
It is important that the plant is cultivated with sun exposure, since it is sunlight to increase the healing properties of Aloe. A shady plant will have less gel, fewer active ingredients, its leaves will be smaller and consequently the cure will be much less effective.
Collection of Aloe Arborescens leaves must be carried out in compliance with two fundamental rules.
First rule. Before harvesting leaves it is important that the plant has not been watered for at least 7-8 days. In this way, when we go to collect the leaves they will have a greater concentration of active ingredients, effectively improving the compound’s effectiveness.
Second rule. Harvesting should take place when the sun is low (dawn-sunset), or when it is completely absent. Sunlight quickly destroys the active ingredients contained in the leaf, so it is important to work when solar irradiation is poor, or even better absent.
Uses and Traditions –
Aloe arborescens is a plant known since ancient times, also cited by Christopher Columbus, who, when returning from his travels, described it as a plant with great healing powers. The plant is known for its many phytotherapeutic properties.
Evidence of the use of Aloe already from remote times comes from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, where it was called “the plant of immortality”, in fact also used in mixtures used for mummification (probably due to its natural antioxidant effect).
Then we pass to Hippocrates (460-337 AD), father of today’s Medicine. In his many books of medicine he praises his anti-inflammatory, regenerating and antiseptic properties.
He talks about Discoride (20-70 d.C.) in the “De Medico”, listing the properties of Aloe as healing, anti-inflammatory and useful in skin infections.
Pliny the Elder, in the treatise “Historia Naturalis,” describes Aloe’s therapeutic properties.
Also in several passages of the Bible is quoted: in the book of Numbers, in the Song of Songs and in the Gospel of St. John (19.3) as part of the mixture used to anoint the body of Jesus after the descent from the cross.
Tibetan medicine that Ayurvedic use it today for their preparations.
The Templars used aloe as an ingredient of a special drink called “Elisir of Jerusalem”.
In the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance, the medicinal use of the Aloe spread to the northern regions of Europe.
One of the best estimators of this plant was the Mahatma Gandhi. These are his words in an interview: “Do you wonder what secret forces would support me during my long fasts? Well, they were my unshakeable faith in God, my simple and frugal lifestyle and the aloe of which I discovered the benefits At the end of the 19th century when I arrived in South Africa. ”
This plant mainly has laxative effects (mainly due to its content in anthraquinones) and cicatrizing (with topical use). Indigenous people (eg Mexico or Brazil) used it mainly to protect themselves from sunlight for its soothing, moisturizing and protective powers as well as having a mild anti-inflammatory effect. A precautionary measure should be recommended to those suffering from intestinal problems (for the irritant action that the substances contained in the plant can cause on the intestinal walls) and diabetics who use insulin because aloe lowers the glycemic index And this is to be calculated in the use of insulin.
Its use has been suggested as a coadjuvant for chemotherapy in cancer treatment. Research on these aspects is however at the beginning and in the future its qualities will be increasingly evident.
The numerous properties of Aloe Arborescens are in fact studied today, but recent research on this plant has allowed to shed light on many of the benefits of using and consuming its leaves, particularly for the content of aloin . Alanine, in addition to the known laxative effects for which it is widely used for pharmaceutical purposes, has antitumor and cytoprotective action.
After the 1940s, in the wake of the increasingly frequent positive results obtained from the use of this plant, an intense research activity has begun which has allowed science to accurately determine the physicochemical characteristics of Aloe Arborescens. This research has grown steadily to reveal any secret about the complex composition of organic molecules and the individual active ingredients of this plant.
At present, we know that the active ingredients contained in the Aloe Arborescens’ leaves are more than a hundred.
In addition to water, which represents 96% of the content, the main chemical constituents are: carbohydrates: glucose, mannose, acemannan, pectine, lignin, etc., anthraquinones and phenolic substances, mineral salts; amino acids; Organic acids; Lipids and enzymes in particularly significant concentrations.
Of these active principles are particularly important:
The acemannan, which has bactericidal, germicidal, antifungal activity, is also able to form a protective patella of the gastric and intestinal mucous membrane against various agents such as hydrochloric acid in stomach juices.
Alanine, aloemodine, aloetic acid, anthranol, chrysophonic acid, salicylic acid and resistanol. They are all anthraquinones with strong laxative activity, whose intake may, in particularly sensitive subjects, lead to diarrheal episodes. Good after a few days from the beginning of Aloe consumption, this phenomenon tends to be attenuated, until it disappears altogether.
In addition to the laxative properties, these compounds have other very important properties: antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, cytotoxic, purifying, diuretic, eupeptic and tonic.
Among the molecules of phenolic nature we find derivatives of cinnamic acid, tocopherols, flavonoids and other polyfunctional organic acids with strong antioxidant properties. These compounds play a crucial role in counteracting the action of free radicals and hence cellular aging.
Aloe Arborescens also contains acetylsalicylic acid, a substance known for its many activities, ranging from anti-inflammatory action to the protective action of the heart muscle and vascular system.
In the Aeroe Arborescens are also contained enzymes, or molecules of protein nature, with important phytotherapeutic properties. Among them, bradykinase, an enzyme that has the property of stimulating the immune system, improves its function and has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Catolase, another enzyme that performs cleansing action against burns and ulcers, and promotes cicatrization by inducing the production of fibroblasts.
Aloe Arborescens is particularly rich in nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals that make this plant comparable to a true nutritional supplement. In its leaves we find: calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, sodium, manganese, copper, cobalt, chromium, and a very rare organic mineral that is sought after for its antioxidant and antitumor properties, germanium. Organic germanium is found to be essential to improve cellular oxygen. Precisely for this reason it is considered a potent antioxidant. Germanium also favors the removal of toxic metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury, and counteracts the effects of ionizing radiation. In the Areee Arborescens we find end-vitamins of group B (B1, B2, B3 and B6), vitamin C, choline, folic acid, bicarotene, and vitamin E.
These and many other compounds contained in the Areee Arborescens, whose list would require a separate chapter, explain why this plant is so effective in the fight against cancer.
Aloe Arborescens has a lower gel content than Aloe Vera, but this does not adversely affect the properties of the plant as some might think. At equal weight, Aloe Arborescens contains three times the active ingredients contained in the Aloe Vera. The reason is soon explained: most of the active ingredients of the plant are contained in the outer cuticle and not in the gel, which is instead made up of 99% pure water.
The reason why Aloe Vera is the one most used for purely commercial purposes is because of its high gel content of its large leaves and the ease of processing for pulp processing, to be consumed as a drink or for topical use in products Cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
The main activity of this plant is the antitumor activity that takes place in three phases:
1) By stimulating the body’s immune defenses (immunostimulant action).
2) Through induction of apoptosis (ie suicide) of neoplastic cells.
3) Finally, Aloe Arborescens carries out anti-proliferative action, which blocks the advancement of cancer and metastases. The chemical compounds that are involved in this triple action are different. The most important are undoubtedly polysaccharides and anthryinones.
For both indoor and outdoor use, Aloe Arborescens has a strong anti-pain effect, reducing inflammation and altering the sensitivity to pain. For this reason it can be useful in case of wounds, burns, insect bites, but also to better endure the side effects of radio and chemotherapy.
Aloe Arborescens for its high content of mineral salts and vitamins, it has excellent antioxidant properties. In particular, vitamin C, E B2, B6, organic germanium and non-essential amino acids, cysteine, are powerful antioxidants capable of fighting cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Acemannan, a polymeric sugar present in the gel and the Aloe leaf, has significant antiviral activity against several viruses. Particularly against HIV-1 virus, Herpes Simplex and Paramyxovirus virus (Morbillo virus).
The active ingredients contained in the Aloe Arborescens, in addition to the already mentioned immunostimulant action, offer direct help to the body against numerous pathogenic bacteria and fungus, including the dreaded Escherichia coli and Candida albicans.
The polysaccharides and plant hormones contained in the Aloe are able to accelerate the repair of the damaged tissue and the formation of new epithelial tissue
The active ingredients contained in the Aeroe Arborescens allow you to solve the most common gastrointestinal disorders such as abdominal spasms, stomach burns, abdominal pain and abdominal swelling. Aloe normalizes intestinal secretions, improves intestinal bacterial flora, stabilizes pH in the stomach and intestines, improves pancreas function and colon restricts the proliferation of pathogens by reducing putrefactive phenomena.
Aloe can also help in some forms of gastritis (peptic ulcers) and intestinal inflammation (irritable colon); Its effectiveness is attributed to its healing, anti-inflammatory, analgesic action and the ability to coat and protect the walls of the stomach.
The leaves of Aloe Arborescens perform a purifying action in the gastrointestinal tract that represents a district particularly suitable for the accumulation of toxins.
The cleansing activity is mainly related to polysaccharides, which thanks to their particular composition and viscous consistency, are able to bind and eliminate the toxic substances produced during the metabolic processes, thus decreasing the contact time of the slime with the mucous membranes. The laxative action is instead made by the aloin.
Preparation Method –
Aloe Arborescens is now in any garden center, or nursery. Even supermarket sells Aloe seedlings, but you have to be very careful about product quality, especially if your intention is to use the plant for the preparation of home-made extracts.
In such a case, it will be of fundamental importance to weigh the purchase well. The plant will have at least 4-5 years of age, so that the content of active ingredients is at the highest levels. Also, since it is a nutritional supplement, the plant will have to be 100% organic and cultivated in the sun, as it is mainly due to the sun that develops its anti-tumor properties.
Among the known preparations, we recall the recipe of Father Romano Zago, which is very simple to prepare. It’s nothing more than a simple blend of three ingredients: Aloe Arborescens, honey and grappa.
The ingredients needed to prepare the shake, according to the original recipe of Father Romano Zago, are these three:
350 g of Aloe Arborescens leaves: the plant must be at least 4 years old;
500 g (half a pound) of organic honey;
40-50 ml (about a cup of coffee) of Grappa (also good Whiskey, Tequila and Cognac).
It is not essential to be precise with the quantities, a few grams more or less do not make a difference. If you prefer, you can put the same amount of Aloe and honey.
If you prefer, you can choose to decrease the amount of the three ingredients, with the obvious benefit of getting a fresher, more efficient preparation each time. All you have to do is reduce all the ingredients in proportion.
The simplest thing is to halve the amount of all the ingredients, so:
175 g of Aloe Arborescens leaves;
250 g of organic honey;
20-25 ml of grappa.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Caution: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they are not prescription-related in any way; Therefore, no liability is accepted for their use for any aesthetic or food purpose.