Aloe vera is a popular succulent species and is widely grown as both a houseplant and commercially as a medicinal plant. For years now Aloe vera has been lauded as a miracle plant, although scientific evidence for the cosmetic and therapeutic effectiveness of aloe vera is limited and frequently contradictory.
|Aloe vera illustration|
t is also prescribed as an oral medication for patients suffering with osteoarthritis, the regulation of bowls, epilepsy, depression, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and a host of other ailments.
Aloe vera is an ancient medicinal plant. If fact, early records of Aloe vera use appear in the Ebers Papyrus from the 16th century BC, in both Dioscorides' De Materia Medica and Pliny the Elder's Natural History written in the mid-first century AD.
Bizarrely, Aloe vera species do not exist in nature, but this is probably due to centuries of over-collection and selective breeding.
There are naturalised stands of Aloe vera in the southern half of the Arabian Peninsula, through North Africa (Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt), as well as Sudan and neighbouring countries, along with the Canary, Cape Verde, and Madeira Islands. Its success in these countries certainly proves the suitability of the climate and may well be an indication to its lost origins!
As a succulent, it is able to survive in areas of low natural rainfall, making it ideal for rockeries and other low water-use gardens, although it is intolerant of very heavy frost or snow. As a species it is relatively resistant to most insect pests, although spider mites, mealy bugs, scale insects, and aphid species may take a hold under protected environments.
Aloe vera gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
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