Therapeutic uses of Aloe L. (Asphodelaceae)

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


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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    • "Recent studies have reported the modification of chemical and physical properties of BC through incorporation of active substances in the culture medium (Stumpf et al. 2013; Berti et al. 2013). Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) is a perennial succulent, originated from South Africa, belonging to the Asphodelaceae family (Grace et al. 2008). The mucilaginous inner gel of Aloe vera is composed of over 25 % polysaccharides (dry matter) and has the greatest range of biological activities, such as antiinflammatory , immunomodulating, antibacterial as well as accelerating healing processes, reported in the literature (Reynolds 2004; Grindlay and Reynolds 1986. "
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial nanocellulose (BC) and Aloe vera composites were synthesized in situ by Gluconacetobacter hansenii using mannitol-based medium supplemented with 60 % (v/v) of three different Aloe vera portions (Aloe vera gel pulp, Aloe vera gel extract and polysaccharide fraction) under static conditions. The chemical interactions, morphology, crystallinity and mechanical properties influenced by aloe supplementation into BC medium were characterized. The interactions between BC and Aloe, characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, revealed the presence of nitrogenous compounds and aliphatic chains into BC–Aloe composites (BCAC). Moreover, Aloe portions reduced the crystallinity and crystallite size of BCAC, as shown by X-ray diffractometry. The Aloe vera compounds deposited onto BC fibers disrupted the hydroxyl interactions, decreasing the Young’s modulus as well as the tensile strength and water uptake of BCAC. However, aloe incorporation of aloe fractions promoted an increase of the extensibility of BCAC (elongation at break), allowing fiber movement. Live/Dead® cell viability assays revealed a strong adhesion between L929 cells and the surface of BC and BCAC. The results indicated that this material could be successfully applied as a biomaterial for several biomedical applications, a scaffold for skin substitution and regeneration, and cell culture substrates.
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    • "A. ferox is one of the most cited Aloe species and mainly wildharvested in South Africa. Its laxative and cathartic effects led to its adoption by colonists in the Cape of Good Hope and exported it to Europe in the late eighteenth century (Grace et al., 2008). Due to its widespread healing properties, it has become a highly sought after medicinal plant both locally and internationally. "
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    • "(family: Xanthorrhoeaceae) is one of the most widely used species in the genus Aloe. The diverse use of the species in traditional medicine has been known for centuries (Grace et al. 2008;Grace 2011). Consequently , A. arborescens has been subjected to extensive studies geared towards enhancing its huge potential and to improve its conservation status. "
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