Native of Arabia, A.barbadensis Succulent perennial herb up to 160 cm tall, without stem or with a short stem up to 30 cm long, freely suckering and forming dense groups. Leaves 16–20 in a dense rosette, erect to slightly spreading; stipules absent; petiole absent; blade linear-lanceolate, 40–50 cm × 6–7 cm, apex acuminate, margins slightly pinkish, with deltoid, firm teeth 2 mm long, pale, 1–2 cm apart, fleshy, upper surface rather flat, grey-green to pale green, lower surface convex; leaf sap yellowish.
Used in Herbal medicine preparation, the dried exudate is used as a laxative, purgative and vermifuge. The fresh leaf exudate is also taken as a laxative or purgative, and is externally applied as a refrigerant, to treat acne or cuts. Mixed with other ingredients to mask its bitter taste, it is taken against asthma and to treat coughs. Similar mixtures are taken to cure dysentery, kidney problems or against dyspepsia. It is furthermore used as a hair wash to promote hair growth and against dandruff, and as a general cosmetic to improve the complexion and to smooth the skin. The peeled leaves are eaten to relieve sore throat and coughs and as a mild laxative. As a food supplement, Aloe vera gel is said to facilitate digestion, and to improve blood and lymphatic circulation, as well as kidney, liver and gall bladder functions. loe vera gel in combination with the immunomodulating neurohormone melatonin may produce some therapeutic benefits, at least in terms of stabilization of disease and survival The concentration of the immune stimulant acemannan is variable in the natural plant, as well as gel and juice products, but it is also available in a purified, standardized, pharmaceutical grade form. An injectable type is used in veterinary medicine to treat fibrosarcoma and feline leukemia , a condition caused by a virus in the same family as AIDS.
The exudate is used as a bittering agent for food and beer. Aloe veragel used in a coating on grapes lengthens the shelf life considerably and this patented method could also be applicable in other high-value fruits and vegetables. Aloe vera is often grown as an ornamental in gardens or pots. The gel is used in the manufacture of commercial jellies, drinks and ice-cream.
For common topical use, keeping an Aloe vera plant at home is one of the easiest ways to get the freshest and most concentrated gel. It is easy to cultivate, requiring only good drainage, mild temperatures, and occasional watering. Bring the plant inside if outside temperatures are less than 40°F (4.4°C). It will tolerate either full or partial sunlight, but will require more frequent watering in full sun. Water it only when the soil has become dry.