Aloe Vera is a medicinal herb. It belongs to the family 'Asphodelaceae' genus 'Aloe'. The other species included in this genus are aloe parvula, aloe peglerae and aloe dichotoma. But the most common and most useful among these is aloe vera. Aloe vera is also called as 'True Aloe' for this reason. The species name 'vera' means 'true'. Aloe vera is a native plant of Africa. It is most commonly found in Africa, Northern America, Egypt, India and Sudan.
Aloe Vera is one of the succulent plants or succulents. Succulent plants are those that retain water in their stem and leaves. These plants are fleshy and store lots of water in their cells. They are also called as flesh plants. They are capable of surviving in harsh climatic conditions without water. They can also survive in deserted areas. Cactus is also one of the succulent plants.
Some aloe vera plants also blossom in summer season. The flowers of these plants have a long stem and their color is crimson red .Many of these plants have no stem or some of them may have a short stem. Their leaves are thick and fleshy and the flowers grow from the centre of the plant. The color of the leaves may vary from green to grey-green. Some verities of these plants have white spots on the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves. The margin of these leaves is serrated and they have small white teeth on the margin. In Thailand it is known as 'Crocodile Tail' plant, since it looks like a crocodile's tail.
This plant is resistant to insect pests. It is used as herbal medicine since ancient times. It is also used in culinary. Aloe Vera is cultivated throughout the world because of its medicinal importance. This plant does not require any extra care for its proper growth. All the leaves of this plant grow from a common point in the ground.
This plant is included under 'Arbuscular plants'. Because, on the surface of this plant grows a fungus named 'Arbascular Mycorrhiza' which penetrates into the plant and helps increase the extraction of potassium and other useful minerals from the soil. Because of this the plant has so much of medicinal importance.
The sticky substance inside the aloe vera leaves is called as aloe latex. It has a very high content of 'Aloe Emodin' which is a very strong and very good laxative agent and can be used to induce proper bowel movement. When it is taken every day in the morning, it enhances digestion.
The Arabs call aloe vera as the 'desert lily' because the flowers that grow on aloe vera plant resemble lily flowers. The aloe vera plant is widely used for commercial purposes. They include aloe vera shampoo, aloe vera gel and aloe vera body wash. Aloe Vera is widely used in skin products and acne treatments. Aloe Vera has both internal as well as external uses. Aloe Vera when combined with glycerin acts as a very good cleansing agent.