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Aloe , also Aloë, is a containing over 500 of .The Plant List (2010). Version 1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed July 2013) The most widely known species is , or "true aloe", so called because, though probably extinct in the wild, it is cultivated as the standard source of so-called "aloe vera" for assorted pharmaceutical purposes. Other species, such as , also are cultivated or harvested from the wild for similar applications.

The genus is to Africa; species are found in southern Africa, the mountains of tropical Africa, various islands off the coast of Africa including Sardinia, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula.

The (2009) places the genus in the family , subfamily . In the past, it has also been assigned to families and or lily family. The plant , which is sometimes called "American aloe", belongs to the , a different family.

The genus is native to tropical and southern Africa, Madagascar, and Jordan to the Arabian Peninsula.


Description
Most Aloe species have a of large, thick, fleshy . Aloe are tubular, frequently yellow, orange, pink, or red, and are borne, densely clustered and pendant, at the apex of simple or branched, leafless stems. Many species of Aloe appear to be stemless, with the rosette growing directly at ground level; other varieties may have a branched or unbranched from which the fleshy leaves spring. They vary in color from grey to bright-green and are sometimes striped or . Some aloes native to South Africa are tree-like (arborescent). ξ1


Systematics
The (2009) places the genus in the family , subfamily . In the past it has also been assigned to the families and Aloeaceae, as well as the family Asphodelaceae, before this was merged into the Xanthorrhoeaceae.

The of the genus has varied widely. Many genera, such as Lomatophyllum, have been brought into . Species at one time placed in Aloe, such as , have been moved to other genera.


Species
Over 500 species are accepted in the genus Aloe, plus even more synonyms and unresolved species, subspecies, varieties, and hybrids. Some of the accepted species are:


Uses
Aloe species are frequently cultivated as ornamental plants both in gardens and in pots. Many aloe species are highly decorative and are valued by collectors of succulents. Aloe vera is used both internally and externally on humans, and is claimed to have some medicinal effects, which have been supported by scientific and medical research. They can also be made into types of special soaps.


Historical uses
Historical use of various aloe species is well documented. Documentation of the clinical effectiveness is available, although relatively limited. ξ2

Of the 500 species, only a few were used traditionally as a , Aloe vera again being the most commonly used species. Also included are A. perryi and A. ferox. The Ancient Greeks and Romans used Aloe vera to treat wounds. In the Middle Ages, the yellowish liquid found inside the leaves was favored as a . Unprocessed aloe that contains is generally used as a laxative, whereas processed juice does not usually contain significant aloin.

Some species, particularly Aloe vera, are used in alternative medicine and first aid. Both the translucent inner pulp and the resinous yellow aloin from wounding the aloe plant are used externally to relieve skin discomforts. As an herbal medicine, Aloe vera juice is commonly used internally to relieve digestive discomfort.

Relatively few studies about possible benefits of aloe gel taken internally have been conducted. Components of Aloe have shown the possibility of inhibiting tumor growth in animal studies, but these effects have not been demonstrated clinically in humans. Some studies in animal models indicate that extracts of Aloe have a significant antihyperglycemic effect, and may be useful in treating Type II diabetes, but these studies have not been confirmed in humans.

According to , a potentially deadly product called T-UP is made of concentrated aloe, and promoted as a cancer cure. They say "there is currently no evidence that aloe products can help to prevent or treat cancer in humans".


Aloin in OTC laxative products
On May 9, 2002, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule banning the use of aloin, the yellow sap of the aloe plant, for use as a laxative ingredient in products. Most aloe juices today do not contain significant aloin.


Chemical properties
According to W. A. Shenstone, two classes of aloins are recognized: (1) nataloins, which yield and with , and do not give a red coloration with nitric acid; and (2) , 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 Barbados Aloe, and reddened in the cold, and b-barbaloins, obtained from Socotrine and Zanzibar Aloe, reddened by ordinary nitric acid only when warmed or by fuming acid in the cold. Nataloin (2C17H13O7·H2O) forms bright-yellow scales, barbaloin (C17H18O7) crystals. Aloe species also contain a trace of volatile oil, to which their odour is due.


Heraldic occurrence
Aloe rubrolutea occurs as a charge in , for example in the Civic Heraldry of Namibia.

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See also


External links


References
    ^ (2019). 9780520256507, University of California Press.
    ^ (2019). 9780415306720, CRC Press.

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