Therapeutic uses of Aloe L. (Asphodelaceae) in southern Africa.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 08/2008; 119(3):604-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.07.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ethnopharmacological relevance: The African-Arabian succulent genus Aloe L. (Aloaceae/Asphodelaceae) is represented by approximately 120 infrageneric taxa in southern Africa, including A. ferox Mill., a species long used in commercial natural products.
Aims of the study: To assess the documented ethnobotanical knowledge and biocultural value of utility in the genus in southern Africa.
Materials and methods: A survey of over 350 multidisciplinary publications was undertaken.
Results: Local uses for medicine and wellbeing were identified for over half the species of Aloe occurring
in the Flora of Southern Africa region. The most frequently cited medicinal uses were the treatment of infections and internal parasites, digestive ailments and injuries. Numerous species were recorded for their social uses, notably as ingredients in tobacco snuff.
Conclusion: The exceptional infrageneric diversity of Aloe, and extensive therapeutic uses in southern Africa, indicate its cultural importance in the subcontinent. These factors highlight the need for the conservation of the species as well as their potential as a source of natural products.

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    ABSTRACT: To formulate and optimize a herbal gel of Aloe vera extract containing Carbopol 934 as gelling agent and to investigate the effects of topical application of Carbopol 934 gel containing Aloe vera extract on the healing of skin wounds surgically induced in Wistar rats. Different concentrations of viscosity enhancer Carbopol 934 were tried and finally gel that showed good spreadability and consistency was selected for wound healing property of herbal gel of Aloe vera. Excision wound model was used for the study. The optimized gel was evaluated for different physicochemical properties and wound healing property. Differences in wound healing were observed between the various treatments when compared to the control group. Tissue hyperplasia was lower in the control group compared to the other treated groups. In animals group treated with gel, 80.14% healing was observed up to 14(th) day. While in untreated group I (control) animals showed 52.68% healing of wounds on 14(th) day. On the other hand, control group animals also showed inflammation and pus formation up to 5(th) day of study, while treated animals did not showed any observable inflammation and pus formation. Results shows prepared gel has promising effect on the wound healing process.
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