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Aloe Vera: The Miracle Plant Its Medicinal and Traditional Uses in India

Authors:
ISSN 2278- 4136
ZDB-Number: 2668735-5
IC Journal No: 8192
Volume 1 Issue 4
Online Available at www.phytojournal.com
Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
Vol. 1 No. 4 2012 www.phytojournal.com Page | 119
Aloe Vera: The Miracle Plant Its Medicinal and Traditional
Uses in India
R. Rajeswari1, M. Umadevi1*, C. Sharmila Rahale1, R.Pushpa1, S. Selvavenkadesh1, K. P. Sampath Kumar2, Debjit Bhowmik2
1. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, India
2. Department of Pharmaceutical sciences, Coimbatore medical college, Coimbatore, India
Aloe vera
is the oldest medicinal plant ever known and the most applied medicinal plant
worldwide. Extracts of Aloe Vera is a proven skin healer. Aloe Vera help to soothe skin injuries
affected by burning, skin irritations, cuts and insect bites, and its bactericidal properties relieve
itching and skin swellings. It is known to help slow down the appearance of wrinkles and
actively repair the damaged skin cells that cause the visible signs of aging. Aloe is a powerful
detoxifier, antiseptic and tonic for the nervous system. It also has immune-boosting and anti-viral
properties. Research has proven that adding Aloe Vera to ones diet improves digestion. As a
general health tonic. Aloe Vera is a useful source of vitamins. Aloe Vera Gel contains a large
range of vitamins even vitamin B12, Vitamin A, contains B-Group vitamins, Vitamin C,
Vitamin E and folic acid. Aloe Vera Gel contains important ingredients including 19 of the 20
amino acids needed by the human body and seven of the eight essential ones that just cannot be
made.
Keyword: Aloe Vera, Nervous System , Immune-Boosting , Anti-Viral Properties. Skin Healer.
INTRODUCTION: Aloe vera has been used
externally to treat various skin conditions such as
cuts, burns and eczema. It is alleged that sap from
Aloe vera eases pain and reduces inflammation. It
has antiseptic and antibiotic properties which
make it highly valuable in treating cuts and
abrasions. It has also been commonly used to
treat first and second degree burns, as well as
sunburns and poison oak, poison ivy, and poison
sumac infections, and eczema.
Corresponding Author’s Contact information:
M. Umadevi *
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, India
E-mail: debjit_cr@yahoo.com
It can also be used as a hair styling gel and works
especially well for curly or fuzzy hair. It is also
used for making makeup, moisturisers, soaps,
sunscreens, shampoos and lotions. Aloe vera gel
is useful for dry skin conditions, especially
eczema around the eyes and sensitive facial skin.
Its juice may help some people with ulcerative
colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. Aloe has
been marketed as a remedy for coughs, wounds,
ulcers, gastritis, Diabetes, Cancer, headaches,
arthritis, immune-system deficiencies, and many
other conditions when taken internally. However,
the general internal use is as a laxative. The
lower leaf of the plant is used for medicinal
purpose. If the lower leaf is sliced open, the gel
Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
Vol. 1 No. 4 2012 www.phytojournal.com Page | 120
obtained can be applied on the affected area of
the skin. Aloe (Aloe vera) is an important and
traditional medicinal plant belonging to the
family Liliaceae. It is indigenous to Africa and
Mediterranean countries. It is reported to grow
wild in the islands of Cyprus, Malta, Sicily,
Carary cape, Cape Verde and arid tracts of India.
This is a hardy perennial tropical plant that can be
cultivated in drought prone areas and is one of the
crops whose potential is yet to be exploited,
despite being identified as 'a new plant resource
with the most promising prospects in the world'.
In India, it is scattered in the wild, along the coast
of southern India.
Chemical Constituents:
Aloe contains two classes of Aloins : (1)
nataloins, which yield picric and oxalic acids with
nitric acid, and do not give a red coloration with
nitric acid; and (2) barbaloins, which yield aloetic
acid (C7H2N3O5), chrysammic acid (C7H2N2O6),
picric and oxalic acids with nitric acid, being
reddened by the acid. This second group may be
divided into a-barbaloins, obtained from
Barbadoes aloes, and reddened in the cold, and b-
barbaloins, obtained from Socotrine and Zanzibar
aloes, reddened by ordinary nitric acid only when
warmed or by fuming acid in the cold. Nataloin
forms bright yellow scales. Barbaloin forms
yellow prismatic crystals.
Fig1: Aloe vera
The plant produces at least 6 antiseptic agents
such as lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen,
cinnamonic acid, phenols and sulphur. All of
these substances are recognized as antiseptics
because they kill or control mold, bacteria,
fungus and viruses, explaining why plant has the
ability to eliminate many internal and external
infections. Lupeol and salicylic acid present in
the juice are two very effective pain-killer.
It contains at least three anti-inflammatory fatty
acids, cholesterol, campersterol and β-
sitosterol.These are highly effective in treatment
of burns, cuts, scrapes, abrasions, allergic
reactions, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatic fever,
acid indigestion, ulcers, plus many inflammatory
conditions of the digestive system and other
internal organs, including the stomach, small
intestine, colon, liver, kidney and pancreas. β-
sitosterol is also a powerful anti-cholestromatic
which hlps to lower harmful cholesterol levels,
helping to explain its many benefits for heart
patients.
About 23 polypeptides are present in Aloe juice
which helps to control a broad spectrum of
immune system diseases and disorders. The
polypeptids plus the anti-tumor agents, Aloe
emodin and Aloe lectins, are now also used in
treatment of cancer.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES
Aloes have long been in use for several diseases,
particularly connested with the digestive system;
they have also been used for wounds, burns and
skin problems. The term Aloes stand for the dried
juice, which flows from transversely cut bases of
its leaves. It is the best herbal answer to suppor
the health and healing mechanisms of the body
because it does not heal, rather it feeds the bodies
own systems in order for them to function
optimally and be healthy.
Pharmacologically it is an immunity booster and
detoxifies the system. It is recommended in
adjuvant therapy with antibiotics, NSAIDs ) Non
steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) and
chemotherapy to eliminate drug induced gastritis
Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
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and other adverse effects. Useful in various
diseases such as typeII diabetes, arthritis, eye
disease, tumor, spleen enlargement, liver
complaints, vomiting, bronchitis, asthma,
jaundice and ulcers. Relieves constipation,
maintains a good gastric pH, helps in
inflammatory bowel diseses, non-ulcer dyspepsis,
gastric and duodenal ulcers. A dietary supplement
in pre and post-operative patients,
postmenopaysal women and in cases of
osteoporosis.
CULTIVATION
Soil
It is grown successfully in marginal to sub
marginal soils having low fertility. The plants
have tendency to tolerate high pH with high Na
and K salts. However, it is observed that its
growth was faster under medium fertile heavier
soilssuch as black cotton soils of central India.
Though well drained loam to coarse sandy loam
soils with moderate fertility and pH upto 8.5 are
preferred for its commercial cultivation.
Varieties
Several species of the genus have been in use
under the common name of Aloe, viz. Aloe vera
Linn., A. barbadensis Miller, A. ferox Miller, A.
chinensis Baker, A. indica Royle, A. perryi
Baker, etc., belonging to family iliaceae.
Among these, A. vera Linn. syn. A. barbadensis
Miller is accepted unanimously as the correct
botanical source of Aloe. In most reference
books, A. barbadensis Miller is regarded as the
correct name but as per the WHO monograph , A.
vera linn is accepted as the legitimate name for
this species.
Land preparation
The soil should not be disturbed too deep as the
root system of Aloe does not penetrate below 20-
30 cm. Depending upon the soil type and agro-
climatic condition, 1-2 ploughing followed by
leveling may be done. Field may be divided into
suitable sized plots (10-15 m × 3 m) considering
the slope and source of irrigation available.
Propagation
It is propagated by root suckers or rhizome
cuttings. For this purpose, medium sized root
suckers are identified and carefully dug out
without damaging the parent plant at the base and
directly planted in the main field.
Planting time
Suckers should be planted in July August
during monsoon season to get better field survival
and subsequent growth of the plants. However,
under irrigated condition, planting can be done
alround the year except in winter months
(November – February).
Manuring
The crop responds well to the application of farm
yard manure and compost. During the first year
of plantation, FYM @20 t/ha is applied at the
time of land preparation and the same is
continued in subsequent years. Besides
vermicompost @2.5 tonnes/ha can also be
applied.
Spacing and Planting
Suckers are planted in about 15 cm deep pits
made just at the time of planting at 60 × 60 cm
apart. After planting of suckers, the soil around
the root zone must be firmly pressed and drainage
must be made proper to avoid water stagnation.
About 28000 – 34000 suckers are needed for one
hectare planting.
Irrigation
Aloe can be successfully cultivated both under
irrigated and rainfed conditions. Provision of
irrigation immediately after planting and during
summer season will ensure good yield. However,
the plants are sensitive to water logged
conditions.
Plant protection
Not much problems of insect pests and diseases
have been observed in this crop from any part of
the country. However, mealy bug, anthracnose
and leaf spots have been reported from some
parts of the country. Sometime termite problem
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has also been observed which can be easily
managed by giving a light irrigation.
It can also be propagated through rhizome
cuttings. In this case, after the harvest of the crop,
the underground rhizome is also dug out and
made in 5-6 cm long cuttings which has atleast 2-
3 nodes on them. Rooting is done in specially
prepared sand beds or containers and after it starts
sprouting, transplanting is carried out. On an
average, about 25000 suckers are required for a
nursery of 1 ha size (10000 for 1 acre nursery).
Harvesting and Yield
Leaving the fresh and young leaves from the top,
older outer leaves are generally harvested. The
plants can be removed manually or with the help
of a tractor-drawn disc harrow or cultivator. New
leaves grow from the center upward. Offshoots
are grown spontaneously next to the mother plant.
Crop is ready to harvest after 18 months of
sowing. Economic yields are obtained in 5 years
after that it needs replanting. In India, the average
yield for organically grown Aloe is about 12
tonnes/ha (on fresh weight basis).
Post-harvest management and Processing
Aloe should be processed within a couple of
hours of harvest so as to prevent oxidation. The
Aloe leaf consists of three layers, a. the outer
thick green rind , b. viscous, jelly-like mucilage
layer into which the vascular bundles, attached to
the inner surface of the rind, protrude and c. the
fillet consisting of hexagonal structures
containing the fillet fluid. The pericyclic cells
located at the top of the vascular bundles contains
the "Yellow Sap" or "Latex". This sap is rich in
aloin and similar anthraquinones having laxative
properties. Aloe leaves are processed either by
the traditional hand filleting method or by whole
leaf method. The traditional hand-filleting
method of processing of aloe leaves was
developed to avoid possible contamination of the
fillets with the yellow sap. In this method, the
lower one inch of the leaf base (the white part
attached to the large rosette stem of the plant), the
tapering point (2-4") of the leaf top, and the
spines located along the leaf margins are removed
by a sharp knife. The knife, is then introduced
into the mucilage layer below the green rind
avoiding the vascular bundles and the top rind is
removed. The bottom rind is similarly removed,
and the rind parts, to which a significant amount
of mucilage remains attached, are discarded.
Another portion of the mucilage layer
accumulated on the top of the filleting table is of
critical concern because of the highest
concentration of potentially beneficial aloe
constituents in this layer. The materials of the
mucilage layer, subsequent to their synthesis, are
distributed to the storage cells (cellulose-
reinforced hexagons) of the fillet which is
extracted in this process. The hand-filleting
method is very labour intensive and therefore
machines have been designed and employed
which attempt to simulate the Hand-Filleting
technique. In the whole leaf method, the base and
tip are removed as previously delineated and then
the leaf is cut into sections and ground into a
particulate slurry. The material is then treated
with chemicals which breaks down the hexagonal
structure of the fillet releasing the constituents.
These constituents are filtered by means of a
series of coarse and screening filters, or passage
through a juice press to get rid of the rind
particles. The expressed juice is passed through
various filtering columns which remove the
undesirable laxative agents. This process,
performed properly, can produce a constituent
rich juice, virtually free of the laxative
anthraquinones.
Indoor cultivation
Generally, Aloe grows openly in the field, but it
can also be grown indoors in pots kept in sunny
southern or eastern window. Containers have to
be filled a quarter full with drainage material and
compost consisting of two parts loam and one
part coarse sand, broken bricks and crushed
limestone, with a bit of bone meal added. Plant
should be potted in the spring and watered
carefully until established. During the summer,
water can be given as soon as the soil is dry, but
from September to March very little water is
needed, just enough to prevent the leaves from
shriveling. Over watering will kill the plant.
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Well-rooted plant will benefit from occasional
applications of dilute liquid fertilizer in the
summer. Large plants, however, do need an
occasional top dressing of fresh soil in each
spring; any loose soil should be removed and
replaced with new. The drainage holes should be
plugged up. Once established, the mother plant
will send off shoots, which may be transplanted
when they are atleast 2.5 to 5.0 cm tall. In fact
aloes do ot need to be repotted often; plants in
large pots will flourish for many years without
being moved. The plants take four years to reach
the maturity and has a life span of about 12 years.
The leaves are harvested ahter four years when it
reaches maturity. The plants can be harvested
every 6-8 weeks by removing 3-4 leaves per
plant.
HEALTH BENEFITS
Helps digestion: Drinking aloe vera juice
naturally allows the body to cleanse the digestive
system. It encourages the bowels to move and
helps with elimination if a person is constipated.
And if you have diarrhea, it will help slow it
down.
Increases energy levels: Our diets include many
substances which can cause fatigue and
exhaustion. Taken regularly, aloe vera juice
ensures a greater feeling of well-being, allowing
energy levels to increase and also helps maintain
a healthy body weight.
Builds immunity: It is especially great for those
who have chronic immune disorders like
polysaccharides or fibromyalgia since the
polysaccharides in aloe vera juice stimulate
macrophages, the white blood cells that fight
viruses.
Detoxifies: Aloe vera juice is a great natural aid
to detox. With our stressful lives, the pollution
around us and the junk foods we eat, we all need
to cleanse our systems from time to time.
Drinking aloe vera juice provides a fantastically
rich cocktail of vitamins, minerals and trace
elements to help our bodies deal with these
stresses and strains every day.
Reduces inflammation:
It improves joint flexibility and helps in the
regeneration of body cells. It strengthens joint
muscles, which therefore reduces pain
and inflammation in weakened or aged joints.
MEDICINAL USES:
Scientific evidence for the cosmetic and
therapeutic effectiveness of Aloe vera is limited
and when present is frequently contradictory.
Despite this, the cosmetic and alternative
medicine industries regularly make claims
regarding the soothing, moisturising and healing
properties of Aloe vera, especially via Internet
advertising.
Aloe vera gel is used as an ingredient in
commercially available lotion, yogurt,
beverages and some desserts.
Aloe vera gel is used for consumption and
relief of digestive issues such as heart
burn and irritable bowelsyndrome.
It is common practice for cosmetic
companies to add sap or other derivatives
from Aloe vera to products such asmake
up, tissues, moisturizers, soaps,
sunscreens, incense, razors and shampoos.
Other uses for extracts of Aloe
vera include the dilution of semen for the
artificial fertilization of sheep, use as
fresh food preservative, and use in water
conservation in small farms.
Aloe vera has a long association with
herbal medicine, although it is not known
when its medical applications were first
discovered. Aloe vera is non-toxic, with
no known side effects, provided the aloin
has been removed by processing.
Taking Aloe vera that contains aloin in
excess amounts has been associated with
various side effects. However, the species
is used widely in the traditional herbal
medicine of China, Japan, Russia, South
Africa, the United States, Jamaica and
India. Aloe vera is alleged to be effective
in treatment of wounds.
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Evidence on the effects of Aloe vera sap
on wound healing, however, is limited and
contradictory.
Some studies, for example, show that Aloe
vera promotes the rates of healing, while
in contrast, other studies show that
wounds to which Aloe vera gel was
applied were significantly slower to heal
than those treated with conventional
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 wound or
burn healing, internal intake of Aloe
vera has been linked with improved blood
glucose levels in diabetes , and with lower
blood lipids in hyper lipidaemic patients,
but also with acute hepatitis (liver
disease).
In other diseases, preliminary studies have
suggested oral Aloe vera gel may reduce
symptoms and inflammation in patients .
Compounds extracted from Aloe
vera have been used as an
immunostimulant that aids in fighting
cancers in cats and dogs; however, this
treatment has not been scientifically tested
in humans.
The injection of Aloe vera extracts to treat
cancer has resulted in the deaths of
several patients.
Topical application of Aloe vera may be
effective for genital herpes and psoriasis.
However, it is not effective for the
prevention of radiation-induced injuries.
Although anecdotally useful, it has not
been proven to offer protection from
sunburn or suntan.
In a double-blind clinical trial both the
group using an Aloe vera containing
dentifriece and the group using a
fluoridated dentifrice had a reduction of
gingivitis and plaque but no statistically
significant difference was found between
the two.
Aloe vera extracts have antibacterial and
antifungal activities, which may help in
the treatment of minor skin infections,
such as benign skin cysts.
Aloe vera extracts have been shown to
inhibit the growth of fungi that cause
tinea; however, evidence for control
beneath human skin remains to be
established.
For its anti-fungal properties, Aloe vera is
used as a fish tank water conditioner.
For bacteria, inner-leaf gel from Aloe
vera was shown to inhibit growth
of Streptococcus and Shigella species in
vitro. In contrast, Aloe vera extracts failed
to show antibiotic properties
against Xanthomonas species.
Aloe vera used to heal skin wounds, burn
and Helps in speeding recovery time after
surgery.
Aloe vera Plants are also helpful in
healing insect bites, rashes, sores, herpes,
urticaria, fungal infection, vaginal
infections, conjunctivitis, allergic
reactions.
Aloe gels are applied on dry skins to give
them glowing effect, reducing acne,
reduce sunburn, screening out x-ray
radiation.
Aloe vera helps to fight frostbite and
shingles, reduce psoriasis, reduce rosacea,
reduce warts and reduce ageing, reduce
wrinkles and also it reduce the eczema.
Seeing so many medicinal uses of Aloe
vera plant it is pretty easy to say that Aloe
vera is of great importance in our lives
and solves great purpose in medical field
as well. Apart from above mentioned
medicinal uses of Aloe vera there are
other more important points to be noted
about Aloe vera plant which are of more
importance and critical issues:
SIDE EFFECTS
Topical: It may cause redness, burning, stinging
sensation and rarely generalized dermatitis in
sensitive individuals. Allergic reactions are
mostly due to anthraquinones, such as aloin and
Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
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barbaloin. It is best to apply it to a small area first
to test for possible allergic reaction.
Oral: Abdominal cramps, diarrhea, red urine,
hepatitis, dependency or worsening of
constipation. Prolonged use has been reported to
increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Laxative
effect may cause electrolyte imbalances (low
potassium levels).
Contraindication: Contraindicated in cases of
known allergy to plants in the Liliaceae family.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Oral aloe is not
recommended during pregnancy due to
theoretical stimulation of uterine contractions,
and in breastfeeding mothers, it may sometime
causes gastrointestinal distress in the nursing
infant.
Interactions: Application of aloe to skin may
increase the absorption of steroid creams such as
hydrocortisone. It reduces the effectiveness and
may increases the adverse effects of digoxin and
digitoxin, due to its potassium lowering effect.
Combined use of Aloe vera and furosemide may
increase the risk of potassium depletion. It
decreases the blood sugar levels and thus may
interact with oral hypoglycemic drugs and
insulin.
Thus, though Aloe vera has wide spectrum of the
properties and uses, some of them could be myths
and some of them could be real magic. In future,
controlled studies are required to prove the
effectiveness of Aloe vera under various
conditions.
Cosmetic Values of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera stimulates the production of
collagen and elastin that prevents aging of
the skin.
Aloe vera is used in soaps, shampoos,
creams and lotions for beauty purposes.
Aloe vera gel lightens the dark spots on
the face and reduces the intensity of
pigmentation.
When applied topically, the gel acts as
best moisturizer, removes dead skin cells
and rejuvenates the skin.
Also it conditions the damaged hair. All
you need to do is mix aloe vera gel and
lemon juice. Apply this mixture on your
hair after shampooing it. Leave this for 4
5 minutes and then rinse thoroughly
with water.
It hastens the skin repair and hydrates
your skin resulting in healthy and glowing
skin.
People with oily skin can prevent
formation of pimples and acne by using
this gel
Scarring and scratch marks are some of
the signs of aging which can be prevented
by the antioxidants present in this plant.
The gel of the plant should be rubbed on
the scalp for 30 minutes and rinsed well
thereafter, in order to naturally treat dry
hair and dandruff.
CONCLUSION
Aloe Vera is a medicinal plant and due to its
extensive medicinal, nutraceutical and other uses
its enjoy a great demand in the market across the
globe. The major markets for Aloe Vera and its
extracts are Australia, US and the entire Europe.
Given the exponentially growing demand for it in
the international market, Aloe Vera presents the
finest commercial opportunity among the various
medicinal plants. India is among the few
countries gifted with the unique geographical
features essential for cultivation of Aloe Vera and
other high potential medicinal plants.
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[3] Jamir T. T., Sharma H. K., Dolui A. K. (1999). -
Folklore medicinal plants of Nagaland, India
[4] Barcroft and Myskja (2003) - Aloe Vera: Nature's
Silent Healer
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[5] BBCGardening,/Aloevera<http://www.bbc.co.uk/
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shtml>
[6] Kemper Center for Home Gardening: Aloe vera
[7] Vaibhav Varma. "India experiments with farming
medicinal plants"
[8] Reynolds, T. (2004) - Aloes: The Genus Aloe . CRC
Press
[9] Eshun, K., He, Q (2004) Aloe Vera: A Valuable
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Cosmetic Industries
[10] Miracle of Aloe -
<http://www.miracleofaloe.com>.
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for Dry Region
... Nataloins when treated with nitric acid gives us oxalic and picric acid while barbaloins give us chrysammic and aloetic acid when treated with nitric acid [12]. ...
... The Aloe Vera extract were also loaded with many important therapeutic vitamins like vitamin (F, C, A), niacin and riboflavin [19,20] Aloe Vera also contain vitamin B12 and folic acid and were considered as a useful source for vitamins [12]. ...
... Aloe Vera plant were also loaded with many antiseptic compounds some of them are suphur, cinnamonic acid, phenols, salicylic acid [12]. These compounds shows inhibitory responses against human and animal pathogens like viruses, bacteria etc [29]. ...
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Aloe Vera gel extracted from aloe Vera plant were most commonly used in cosmetics and other beauty related products. For the determination of its efficacy in human health and identification of active compounds in aloe Vera many trials had been done. Although it also had some clinical importance like it might be very effective for genital herpes, diabetes mellitus, and many other allergic reactions. Some studies also show that oral administration of aloe Vera gel or its syrup might be useful for lowering glucose level in the blood and might be effective in diabetic patientsthat are suffering from this disorder. Beside its beneficial properties aloe Vera were also being loaded with some carcinogen that causes cancer upon oral administration. This paper will review the naturally occurring ingredients found in aloe Vera and its therapeutic uses and we will also discuss its side effects.
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... e leaves of A. vera are triangular with serrated edges. A. vera is used as a traditional remedy for a variety of conditions. A. vera is a useful plant in treating various diseases such as arthritis, eye disease, type II diabetes, tumors, liver complaints, spleen enlargement, bronchitis, vomiting, asthma, jaundice ulcers, and wounds [18,19]. ...
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... 2 Means within a column followed by the same letter are not significantly at P≤0.05 by DMRT. 3 The number in parenthesis refer to percentage of increase (+) and decrease (-) compared to the control. 2 Means within a column followed by the same letter are not significantly at P≤0.05 by DMRT. 3 The number in parenthesis refer to percentage of increase (+) and decrease (-) compared to the control. (Shyamal et al., 1990;Hamouda et al., 2012;Rajeswari et al. , 2012;Chatterjee et al. , 2013;Tariq et al., 2015;Sahu et al., 2013) (Muhammad et al., 2009;Adetunji et al., 2012;Athmaselvi et al., 2013;Marpudi et al., 2013) อี กทั ้ งยั งสามารถช่ วยลดอั ตราการหายใจของผลไม้ ลงได้ (Muhammad et al., 2009) ...
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