Aloe barbadensis: how a miraculous plant becomes reality

Abstract

Aloe barbadensis Miller is a plant that is native to North and East Africa and has accompanied man for over 5,000 years. The aloe vera plant has been endowed with digestive, dermatological, culinary and cosmetic virtues. On this basis, aloe provides a range of possibilities for fascinating studies from several points of view, including the analysis of chemical composition, the biochemistry involved in various activities and its application in pharmacology, as well as from horticultural and economic standpoints. The use of aloe vera as a medicinal plant is mentioned in numerous ancient texts such as the Bible. This multitude of medicinal uses has been described and discussed for centuries, thus transforming this miracle plant into reality. A summary of the historical uses, chemical composition and biological activities of this species is presented in this review. The latest clinical studies involved in vivo and in vitro assays conducted with aloe vera gel or its metabolites and the results of these studies are reviewed.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Empresa, Junta de Andalucía (Project P10-AGR5822).

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Correspondence to Francisco A. Macías.

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Chinchilla, N., Carrera, C., Durán, A.G. et al. Aloe barbadensis: how a miraculous plant becomes reality. Phytochem Rev 12, 581–602 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-013-9323-3

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Keywords

  • Aloe vera
  • Phytochemistry
  • Acemannan
  • Bioactivity