Aloe Vera
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Aloe Vera
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Aloe vera, Medicinal aloe, Burn plant • Hindi: Gheekumari घीकुमारी • Marathi: Khorpad • Tamil: கற்றாழை Kathalai • Malayalam: Kattar vazha, Cherukattazha • Nepali: घ्यु कुमारी Ghyu Kumaari • Punjabi: ਕੁਆਰ ਗੰਦਲ Kuaar Gandal • Telugu: కలబంద Kalabanda • Assamese: ছাল কুঁৱৰী Chaal Kunwari • Mizo: Awle-lei • Kannada: ಲೋಳೆಸರ Lolesara, ತರಣ Tarana, ಮುಸಾಂಬ್ರ Musaambra, ರಕ್ತಪವಳ Raktapavala, ರಕ್ತಬಾಳೆ Raktabaale, ಸೀಮೆಕತ್ತಾಳೆ Seeme kattaale
Botanical name: Aloe vera    Family: Asphodelaceae (Aloe family)
Synonyms: Aloe barbadensis, Aloe indica, Aloe vulgaris

Aloe, a popular houseplant, has a long history as a multipurpose folk remedy. Commonly known as Aloe vera, the plant can be snapped off and placed on cuts and burns for immediate relief. Aloe vera is a clump forming succulent whose fleshy gray-green leaves are arranged in a vase shaped rosette atop a very short stem. The leaves are up to 18 in long and 2 in wide at the base, slightly grooved on top, and terminating in a sharp point. The leaves have small grayish teeth on the margins. The main rosette gets up to about 2 ft high, and the plant continually produces little offset rosettes. In winter and spring, medicinal aloe bears small tubular yellow flowers on branched stalks up to 3 ft tall. The real Aloe vera has yellow flowers, but many of the clones available have orange flowers. Although Aloe Vera is a member of the Lily family, it is very-cactus like in its characteristics.
Medicinal uses: Aloe Vera contains over 20 minerals, all of which are essential to the human body. The human body requires 22 amino acids for good health -- eight of which are called "essential" because the body cannot fabricate them. Aloe Vera contains all of these eight essential amino acids, and 11 of the 14 "secondary" amino acids. Aloe Vera has Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E. In India, Aloe vera is believed to help in sustaining youth, due to its positive effects on the skin. Hence it is called ghee kunvar or ghee kumaari.

Identification credit: Thingnam Girija Photographed in New Delhi

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