Aloe vera

scientific name: 
Aloe vera (L.) Burm.
Aloe barbadensis Mill
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Acaulescent or short-stemmed stoloniferous plant.  Leaves lanceolate, 30-60 cm in length, 

long-acuminate, spiny-serrate.  Inflorescence on scape of up to 1.2 m long, with sharp lanceolate or ovate bracts; yellow flowers, 2.5 cm long, in dense 10-30 cm long racemes.  Dehiscent capsules (fruit), with black seeds.


Jiménez,1525,JBSD Mejía,12,MAPR Faujour,5,BAR Delaigue,1,NHTT


"crystal", in cataplasm1


“crystal”, liquefied, decoction or infusion, administered orally1,69

cuts, bounds:

fresh pulp, applied locally2,67,70


“crystal”, liquefied, decoction or infusion, administered orally1,69

skin rash:

“crystal”, in cataplasm1

note: "crystal" is the term used in Puerto Rico to refer to the transparent, gelatinous gel found in the internal part of the leaf.

When cutting out the gelatinous part of the leaf, avoid contact with the yellow juice.  This juice can cause reactions of skin hypersensitivity or, if swallowed, it can have laxative effects.

Use for asthma or colds:

Peal the leaf and blend 15-30 grams (1-2 spoonfuls) of the “crystal” (gel, pulp, mesophyll) with 250 mL (1 cup) of water.  Drink 1 cup 3 times a day.

Prepare a decoction or infusion with 15-30 grams of gel in 250 mL (1 cup) of water.  For decoction, boil for at least 10 minutes in covered pot.  For infusion, add boiling water to 15-30 grams (1-2 spoonfuls) of gel, cover, and let cool.  Drink 1 cup 3 times a day.

For baldness, cuts, bounds and skin rashes:

Wash and peal the leaf, cut 15-30 grams (1-2 spoonfuls) of gel and apply to affected area of skin or scalp, twice a day.

According to published and other information:

Use for asthma, colds, baldness, cuts, bounds and skin rashes is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented inthe TRAMIL surveys, toxicity studies, scientific validation, and published scientific information.

Due to the health risks related to asthma, an initial medical evaluation is recommended.  The use of this plant remedy should be considered complementary to medical treatment.  There is no available information about its use for asthmatic crisis.

For topical application, strict hygiene measures should be observed in order to avoid contamination or additional infection.

Not for oral administration to  pregnant or lactating women or to children under 5 years of age.  The use of this resource should be avoided in cases of diabetes mellitus.

The gel can cause reactions of hypersensitivity.  It should not be used if it has turned a reddish color.

TRAMIL Research23

In a preliminary placebo-controlled (15 mL syrup per day) clinical study with 50 grade I and II asthma patients, the aqueous extract (50%) of liquefied leaf mesophyll (previously frozen for 72 hours in relative darkness, protected from light with black polyethelene), administered orally over a period of 90 days, did not produce any signs of toxicity, intolerance, or rejection.

A lyophilized aqueous extract of leaf did not produce mutagenic effects in any of the following three different models: induction of mutations (suppressors) in the Meth G1 locus of Aspergillus nidulans (0.05 and 5 mg/mL), mitotic division into a heterozygote diploid of A. nidulans (0.04-1 mg/mL), and induction of micronuclei into bone marrow of mice (0.5, 1, and 2 g/kg/day)58.

Aloe vera gel caused neither cellular damage nor genotoxicity in the in vitro model of Aspergillus nidulans D-30 (0.09-1 mg of total solid/mL), nor in the study of micronuclei induction into the bone marrow of mice59.

Oral administration of an ethanolic extract (95%) of dried aerial parts of the plant (100 mg/kg) induced general toxicity in mice.  After 3 months of treatment, alopecia, degeneration and necrosis of sexual organs, spermatic alteration, and decrease in erythrocytes occurred60.

The ethanolic extract (50%) from the leaf, administered intraperitoneally to mice, revealed an LD50 of 250 mg/kg and a maximum tolerated dose of 100 mg/kg61.

The hidroalcoholic extract (1:1) from the leaf administered intraperitoneally to mice revealed an LD50 greater than 1 g/kg62.

The ethanolic extract (3:1) from the dry leaf, administered orally to Swiss albino mice (18 a 22 g)showeda LD50 = 120.65mg/kg, by OECD-1987method68.

Oral administration of the fresh leaf in rats (925 mg/kg) produced no apparent signs of toxicity63.

The aqueous and ethanolic extracts (95%) from the fresh leaf, administered orally (150 mg/kg), and the extract from the fresh leaf in petroleum ether, administered orally (100 mg/kg), did not induce embriotoxicity or miscarriage in rats64.

The aqueous extract of whole plant, administered orally (125 mg/mL) in pregnant rats, was teratogenic65.

One case of a patient with hypersensitive reactions to both topical and oral administration of the leaf gel was reported66.

There is no available information documenting the safety of use in children or in pregnant or lactating women.

The gel has been widely studied.  It contains, among other components: lipids (lauric acid, methyl laurate, linoleic acid, ethyl linoleate, myristic acid, methyl myristate, octadeca-7-enoic acid), methyl octadeca-10,13-dienoate, methyl octadeca-6,9-dienoate, methyl octadeca-9,12-dienoate, ethyl oleate, methyl oleate, 8-methyl oleic acid, palmitic acid, ethyl palmitate, methyl palmitate, palmitoleic acid, pentadecanoic acid, methyl 13-methylpentadecanoate, margaric acid, methyl margarate, stearic acid, ethyl stearate, methyl tricosanoate and methyl 12-methyltridecanoate);  benzenoids (dibutyl phthalate, diheptyl phthalate, dioctyl phthalate, monooctyl phthalate, 1,1-bis-(2-hydroxy-3,5-dimethyl-phenyl)-2-methyl propane); alkanes (n-octadecane, n-nonadecane, 4,4-dimethyl-3-(2,4,5-trimethoxy-phenyl) pentanoilethanolic acid); alquenes (nonadeco-1-ene, trans-nonadeco-5-ene, octadeco-1-ene); polycyclic compound (9-propanoil-methoxy-methyl phenantrene); monoterpene (p-3,3’-bis-mentano3); polysaccharides ( glucomannan3-4, acetylglucomannan5, galactogalacturane6-7  glucogalactomannan8, galactoglucoarabinomannan9, acetylmannan10-11; and minerals (aluminum, barium, boron, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, sodium, phosphorus, silicon, strontium)12.

The leaf contains the following components: quinones (aloe-emodin13-14, aloin15, 7-hydroxy-6’-O-p-coumaroyl aloin A, 7-hydroxy-6’-O-coumaroyl aloin B16, crysazine17 , and chrysophanic acid13); chromone (aloesin14 ); polycyclic compound (anthranol13);steroids (campesterol18-19, cholesterol19-20, b-sitosterol18-20); triterpene (lupeol18-19).

The juice of the leaf contains the following quinones:  barbaloin18,21, b-barbaloin21, chrysophanic acid18, aloe-emodin18,21; polycyclic compound: anthranol18;phenylpropanoids: p-coumaric acid18; quinolizidine alkaloid: cystine18.

The pulp of the leaf contains carbohydrates (oligosacharides7, galactan4, glucomannan22).

TRAMIL Research23-24

In a preliminary placebo-controlled (15 mL syrup per day) clinical study with 50 grade I and grade II asthmatic patients, the aqueous extract (50%) of the liquefied leaf mesophyll (previously frozen for 72 hours and kept in relative darkness, protected from light with black polyethylene), administered orally over a 90-day period, improved patients’ functionality and decreased the amount of anti-asthmatic medications taken.

The gel of Aloe sp. showed activity against the freezing of tissues, which was attributed to a reduction in the levels of thromboxane25.

The lyophilized aqueous extract of leaf (10 and 50 mg/mL) in vitro was inactive against

Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginos, andCandida albicans26.

The aqueous and ethanolic (95%) extracts fromleaf were inactivein vitro as antibacterial agents against Escherichia coli andStaphylococcus aureus27.

The tincture (10 g of plant in 100 mL ethanol) of dried leaf (30 mL/disc) was inactive as an antibacterial agent against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, andStaphylococcus aureus28.

The gel of the leaf applied to burns on rats slowed the inflammatory process and accelerated the recuperation period for first- and second-degree burns, but not for third-degree burns29.  In another study, the aqueous extract (10%) from the leaf and the juice of the fresh leaf applied to rats were active for the treatment of third-degree burns30.

The leaf, administered orally (100mg/kg/day) or topically (cream 25%) to rats, decreased the diameter of experimental wounds by 62.5% and 50.8%, respectively31.

The plant “crystal,” applied topically to rats (300 mg/kg), showed anti-inflammatory activity, and the subcutaneous administration (300 mg/kg) showed healing activity33.

The gel of Aloe sp. preserving its original color, applied topically for 7 days to rats, produced faster healing compared to gel that had become reddish33.

An ethanolic extract (95%) of the aerial parts of the plant, administered orally to rats (500mg/kg), showed analgesic and antipyretic activity34.

The freeze-dried aqueous extract of leaf, administered orally (500 mg/kg) using the hot plate technique and the experimental model of acetic acid-induced contortions, showed significant analgesic effects35.

The lyophilized leaf extract (1.67%), applied topically to mice, showed immunostimulant activity36.

The juice of the fresh leaf administered orally to rabbits (2 mL/kg) showed hypoglycemic effect (27% reduction)37.

The leaf juice (1%), applied topically38 and subcutaneously (10 mg/kg) to the inflamed ears of rats, reduced inflammation by 67%39.

In the model of mustard-induced edema in mice, the gel of the leaf reduced edema by 44%-70%, and decreased the infiltration of polymorphonuclears into skin blisters by 58%40-41.

The gel (leaf juice) applied to burns on guinea pigs induced more rapid healing of the skin and decreased the bacterial count by 60%, compared to the control group42-43.

A decoction of the leaf, administered intravenously to guinea pigs (1.5 mL/animal), was inactive as a bronchodilator44.

The aqueous extract and the juice of the leaf, applied to the wounds of mice45, rats46, rabbits47, cats, dogs48, and humans49-50 all showed cicatrizing activity.

The extract of fresh leaf administered orally to humans showed anti-asthmatic activity and stimulated phagocytosis51.

Topical application of the fresh leaf mesophyll to humans (6.8 mL/day) stimulated hair growth and inhibited hair loss.  The latter activity has been patented52.

A group of 60 patients with severe hemorrhoidal crisis and 52 patients with anal fissures were treated in proctologydepartment with rectal ointment made from aloe leaf, and a significantly more favorable evolution was reported as compared to the ointment Proctocain®(dibucaine chlorhydrate, prednisone, and allantoin).  Both ointments were applied locally 3 times a day after a warm sit bath53.

In a study of 27 patients with burns, the mesophyll of the leaf had a significant healing effect, compared with Vaseline54.

Topical application of undiluted juice of the fresh leaf was active in humans with burns and abrasions55.

In a double-blind controlled study, the extract of the leaf gel applied topically 3 times a day for 5 days to 30 patients with psoriasis showed significant activity, compared to the placebo effect on 30 people.  Furthermore, no evidence of toxicity was recorded56.

The methanolic extract from the dried leaf, applied topically, showed antiviral activity against Herpes simplex 1 and H. Simplex 2 in humans.  These biological activities were patented57.


1 BENEDETTI MD, 1994 Encuesta TRAMIL. Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

2 FAUJOUR A, MURREY D, CHELTENHAM-CORBIN B, CARRINGTON S, 2003 TRAMIL survey. enda-caribbean, IICA & UAG, Saint Thomas, Barbados.

3 DELAIGUE J, 2005 TRAMIL survey. UAG & PRDI, Tobago House of Assembly, Scarborough, Tobago.

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5 GOWDA DC, NEELISIDDAIAH B, ANJANEYALU YV, 1979 Structural studies of polysaccharides from Aloe vera. Carbohydr Res72:201-205.

6 MANDAL G, DAS A, 1980b Structure of the glucomannan isolated from the leaves of Aloe barbadensis Miller. Carbohydr Res 87:249-256.

7 MANDAL G, GHOSH R, DAS A, 1984 Characterization of the polysaccharides of Aloe barbadensis Miller: part III. Structure of a acidic oligosaccharide. Indian J Chem Ser B22:890-893.

8 HAQ N, HANNAN A, 1981 Studies on glucogalactomannan from the leaves of Aloe vera Tourn. (ex Linn.). Bangladesh J Scient & Ind Res16:68-72.

9 HART LA, VAN DER BERG AJJ, KUIS L, VAN DIJK H, LABADIE RP, 1989 An anti-complementary polysaccharide with immunological adjuvant activity from the leaf parenchyma cells of Aloe vera. Planta Med 55(6):509-512.

10 McANALLEY BH, 1988 Process for preparation of Aloe products, produced thereby and composition thereof. Patent - USA: 4,735,935

11 MANNA S, McANALLEY BH, 1993 Determination of the position of the O acetyl group in a b(1®4) mannan (acemannan) from Aloe barbadensis Miller. Carbohydr Res 241:317-319.

12 YAMAGUCHI I, MEGA N, SANADA H, 1993 Components of the gel of Aloe vera (L.) Burm.F. Bioscience, Biotechnology, Biochemistry57:1350-1352.

13 MARY NY, CHRISTENSEN BV, BEAL JL, 1956 A paper chromatographic study of Aloe, aloin and cascara sagrada. J Am Pharm Assoc Sci Ed 45:229-232.

14 HOLDSWORTH DK, 1971 Chromones in Aloe species. Part I. Aloesin-A C-glucosyl-7-hydroxychromone. Planta Med 19:322-325.

15 PASZKIEWICZ-GADEK A, CHLABICZ J, GALASINSKI W, 1988 The influence of selected potential oncostatics of plant origin on the protein biosynthesis in vitro. Pol J Pharmacol Pharm 40(2):183-190.

16 RAUWALD H, 1987 New hydroxyaloins: the periodate-positive substance from cape aloes and cinnamoyl esters from Curacao aloes. Pharm Weekbl (Sci Ed) 9(4):215.

17 ZWAVING JH, ELEMA ET, 1976 A comparative investigation of two methods for the determination of 1,8-dihydroxyanthracene derivatives in vegetable drugs. Pharm Weekbl (Sci Ed) 111:1315.

18 WALLER GR, MANGIAFICO S, RITCHEY CR, 1978 A chemical investigation of Aloe barbadensis. Proc Okla Acad Sci58:69.

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22 MANDAL G, DAS A, 1980 Characterization of the polysaccharides of Aloe barbadensis Miller. part I. Structure of the D-galacatan isolated from Aloe barbadensis Miller. Carbohydr Res86:247-257.

23 MANDAL G, DAS A, 1980 Characterization of the polysaccharides of Aloe barbadensis Miller. part II. Structure of the glucomannan isolated from the leaves of Aloe barbadensis Miller. Carbohydr Res 87:249-256.

24 GUARDARRAMA I, HERNANDEZ M, DIAZ-ACOSTA A, CARBALLO A, 1993 Observaciones clínicas sobre el efecto delAloe barbadensis L. en el tratamiento de pacientes asmáticos. Estudio preliminar. Informe TRAMIL. Instituto Superior de Ciencias Médicas, Santa Clara, Cuba.TRAMIL VI, Basse Terre,Guadeloupe, UAG/enda-caribe.

25GUARDARRAMA I, TORRES ORLANDO, HERNANDEZ M, RUIZ MM, GOMEZ M, CLAVO Y, 1994 Prueba de hiperreactividad bronquial a la carbacolina en pacientes asmáticos tratados con Aloe barbadensis. Medicentro 10(1):93-101.

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28 GOTTSHALL RY, LUCAS E, LICKFELDT A, ROBERTS J, 1949 The occurrence of antibacterial substances active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in seed plants. J Clin Invest 28:920-923.

29 CACERES A, GIRON L, ALVARADO SR, TORRES MF, 1987 Screening of antimicrobial activity of plants popularly used in Guatemala for the treatment of dermatomucosal diseases. J Ethnopharmacol20(3):223-237.

30 BUNYAPRAPHATSARA N, JIRAKULCAIWONG S, THIRAWARAPAN S, MANONUKUL J, 1996 The efficacy of Aloe vera cream in the treatment of first, second and third degree burns in mice. Phytomedicine2(3):247-251.

31 ROWE TD, LOVELL BK, PARKS LM, 1941 Further observations on the use of Aloe vera leaf in the treatment of third degree X-ray reactions. J Am Pharm Assoc Sci Ed30:266-269.

32 DAVIS RH, LEITNER MG, RUSSO JM, BYRNE ME, 1989 Wound healing. Oral and topical activity of Aloe vera. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 79(11):559-562.

33 DAVIS RH, DONATO J, HARTMAN G, HAAS R, 1994 Anti-inflammatory and wound healing activity of a growth substance in Aloe vera. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc84(2):77-81.

34 DAVIS RH, AGNEW PS, SHAPIRO E, 1986 Antiarthritic activity of anthraquinones found in Aloe for podiatric medicine. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc76:61-66.

35 MOHSIN A, SHAH AH, AL-YAHYA MA, TARIQ M, TANIRA MO, AGEEL AM, 1989 Analgesic antipyretic activity and phytochemical screening of some plants used in traditional Arab system of medicine. Fitoterapia 60(2):174-177.

36FURONES JA, MORON FJ, PINEDO Z, 1996 Acción analgésica de un extracto acuoso liofilizado de Aloe vera L. en ratones. Rev Cubana Plantas Med 1(2):15-17.

37 STRICKLAND FM, PELLEY RP, KRIPKE ML, 1994 Prevention of ultraviolet radiation-induced suppression of contact and delayed hypersensitivity by Aloe barbadensis gel extracts. J Invest Dermatol102(2):197-204.

38 ROMAN-RAMOS R, FLORES-SAENZ JL, PARTIDA-HERNANDEZ G, LARA-LEMUS A, ALARCON-AGUILAR F, 1991 Experimental study of hypoglycemic activity of some antidiabetic plants. Arch Invest Med22(1):87-93.

39 DAVIS RH, LEITNER MG, RUSSO JM, 1987 Topical anti-inflammatory activity of Aloe vera as measured by ear swelling. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 77(11):610-612.

40 DAVIS RH, LEITNER MG, RUSSO JM, 1988 Aloe vera. A natural approach for treating wounds, edema and pain in diabetes. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc78(2):60-68.

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44 KIVETT WF, 1989 Aloe vera for burns. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 83:195.

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46 DAVIS RH, DI DONATO JJ, JOHNSON RW, STEWART CB, 1994 Aloe vera, hydrocortisone, and sterol influence on wound tensile strength and anti-inflammation. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc84.(12):614-621.

47 LUSHBAUGH CC, HALE DB, 1953 Experimental acute radiodermatitis following beta irradiation. V. Histopathological study of the mode of action of therapy with Aloe vera. Cancer 6:690-698.

48 ROVATTI B, BRENNAN RJ, 1959 Experimental thermal burns. Induct Med Surg 28:364.

49 NORTHWAY RB, 1975 Experimental use of Aloe vera extract in clinical practice. Vet Med Small Animal Clinic70:80.

50 COBBLE HH, 1975 Stabilized Aloe vera gel. Patent - USA: 3,892,853.

51 FULTON JE, 1990 The stimulation of postdermabrasion wound healing with stabilized Aloe vera gel-polyethylene oxide dressing. J Dermatol Surg Oncol16(5):460-467.

52 YAGI A, SHIDA T, NISHIMURA H, 1987 Effect of amino acids in Aloe extract on phagocytosis by peripheral neutrophil in adult bronchial asthma. Jap J Allergol36(12):1094-1101.

53 KAVOUSSI H, KAVOUSSI HP, 1993 Saturated solution of purified sodium chloride in purified Aloe vera for inducing and stimulating hair growth and for decreasing hair loss. Patent - USA: 5,215,760.

54LEONJE, ROSALES V, ROSALES RA, PAVON V, 1999 Actividad antiinflamatoria y cicatrizante del ungüento rectal de Aloe vera L (sábila). Rev Cubana Plantas Med 4(3):106-109.

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57 SYED T, AHMAD S, HOLT A, AHMAD S, AHMAD S, AFZAL M, 1996 Management of psoriasis with Aloe vera extract in a hydrophilic cream: a placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Trop Med Int Health 1(4):505-509.

58 SYDISKIA RJ, OWEN DG, 1987 Aloe emodin and other anthraquinones and anthraquinone-like compounds from plants virucidal against Herpes simplex viruses. Patent - USA: 4,670,265.

59RAMOS A, EDREIRA AYMEE, VILLESCUSA A, VIZOZO A, MARTINEZ MJ, 1996 Evaluación genotóxica de un extracto acuoso de Aloe vera L. Rev Cubana Plantas Med 1(2):18-23.

60 VIZOSO A, RAMOS A, GARCIA A, PILOTO J, PAVON V, 2000 Estudio genotóxico in vitro e in vivo del extracto fluido de Cassia grandis L. y el gel de Aloe vera L. Rev Cubana Plantas Med 5(3):91-96.

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69 Zambrano LE, 2007 Encuesta TRAMIL en Guareguare, Miranda. UCV, Caracas, Venezuela.

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The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.