Aloe vera

Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f.

Family       : Liliaceae

Common Name : കറ്റാർ വാഴ (Mal)

             Indian aloe  (Eng)


Perennial succulent herbs; stem short, producing suckers at the base. Leaves radical, aggregated, to 30 x 2-4 cm, ensiform, fleshy, sparsely dentate on margins. Racemes terminal; peduncles to 1 m long; bracts to 1.5 cm, ovate, scarious. Flowers reflexed, reddish; pedicels to 1 cm. Perianth tube, 2.5-3 cm, lobes 6, almost equaling the tube. Staminal tube 3 cm. Ovary 8 mm, ovoid 3-loculed; ovules many in each locule; style elongated, stigma obscurely 3-lobed. Capsule about 1.5 cm long.

Aloe, a popular houseplant, has a long history as a multipurpose folk remedy. Commonly known as Aloe vera, the plant can be snapped off and placed on cuts and burns for immediate relief. Aloe vera is a clump forming succulent whose fleshy gray-green leaves are arranged in a vase shaped rosette atop a very short stem. The leaves are up to 18 in long and 2 in wide at the base, slightly grooved on top, and terminating in a sharp point. The leaves have small grayish teeth on the margins. The main rosette gets up to about 2 ft high, and the plant continually produces little offset rosettes. In winter and spring, medicinal aloe bears small tubular yellow flowers on branched stalks up to 3 ft tall. The real Aloe vera has yellow flowers, but many of the clones available have orange flowers. Although Aloe Vera is a member of the Lily family, it is very-cactus like in its characteristics.


Aloe Vera contains over 20 minerals, all of which are essential to the human body. The human body requires 22 amino acids for good health eight of which are called "essential" because the body cannot fabricate them. Aloe Vera contains all of these eight essential amino acids, and 11 of the 14 "secondary" amino acids. Aloe Vera has Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E. In India, Aloe vera is believed to help in sustaining youth, due to its positive effects on the skin. Hence it is called ghee kunvar or ghee kumaari.


Mediterranean Canary Islands; naturalised in Florida, West Indies, Central America and Asia

Flowering & Fruiting : September-November