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Aloe Vera 0708

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Aloe Vera

By Stacey Haskell



Description and Rationale


Aloe Vera is not originally from the Philippines but from the Mediterranean region and the native plant of Somalia. It was found in 4th century BC. It is a medicinal plant that is known for its soothing feeling and excellent moisturizing properties. It is now spread widely across the world as healing, moisturizing, conditioning, anti-aging, and healthier skin growth.


What is aloe vera’s impact on the ecology system of the tribes? Can it save lives or prolong one’s life? Does it really soothe your skins and burns? If it is such an easy usable medicinal plant, why isn’t it used in hospitals, if not regularly? Why do you not hear about this in the poverty areas of Manila? Why is this plant confined to the people that don’t have the availability of hospitals? If it helps the people who can’t have the up-to-date technology and up-to-date hospitals can’t it help the ones who can pay? Is there a way for this to prove that it is legitimate and that it helps the people, especially when it’s a lot more affordable?


Maybe this will be the new product in the hospitals? Staying in the provinces, I’ve noticed that whatever province I am in, whenever someone hears about a skin problem, an itch, a burn of any kind, aloe vera is always close by and someone runs to go and get a leaf. Why is this plant so treasured in the provinces of a developing country and not acknowledged in the center of the country? Is this all just superstitions and assumptions or is it also based on experience and scientific observations? If it was to be proven that aloe vera is all that it is said to be, then how can we incorporate this into hospitals or even to the squatters in central Manila?


The initial purpose of this project will be to research the biology and ecology of aloe and through a search of literature as well as firsthand observations and interviews with people using aloe vera and those who don’t use it (with the assistance of a native speaker) find out the difference between the two. These findings will help guide the experimental phase, where key variables in the aloe vera’s usefulness will be explore.

It is hoped that this environmental challenge will help the poverty of Manila see how they can have an affordable medicinal plant in their own place if only they have water and sun. To improve the livelihood of the people living in the slums by improving of how they think of themselves and just to keep them more healthy from protecting them from the sun, or scars from burns, or soothing the itch of being stung or touching poison ivy.


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Common Names and Synonyms


The word aloe means a succulent plant with a rosette of thick tapering leaves and bell-shaped or tubular flower on long stems. Aloe Barbadensis means “true aloe” in modern Latin. It is often called aloe for short. Its household names are “burn plant”, “lily of the desert”, and “elephant’s gall”. In the Philippines, it is just known as Aloe vera which is the other name for the plant which is also commonly used worldwide.




Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta (Flowering Plants)

Class: Liliopsida (Monocot Seed)

Order: Asparagales (Crown)

Family: Asphodelaceae (Succulent)

Genus: Aloe (Transparent Gel)

Species: Barbadensis (Medicine)


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Morphology and Physical Description



Aloe Vera has very short stem it may be considered stem-less. It is a succulent plant that can grow up to 80-100 centimeters tall. The leaves are thick and fleshy, with serrated margin; the color ranges from green to grey-green. The edges of the leaves have sharp pointy and prickly notches. They are so sharp they could easily cut through skin.


Aloe Vera’s flowers are arrow-shaped; they come in clusters and can grow up to 90 cm tall. Each flower is pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla two to three centimeters long. The color of the flowers ranges from yellow to red.


The Aloe Vera’s leaf structure comes in four layers. The outer most layer is its protective layer called the rind. The second layer contains a sap of bitter fluid which protects the plant from animals; the third layer contains the mucilage gel which is used to make Aloe Vera gel. The inner most layer, which in inside the mucilage gel, contains the 8 essential amino acids that the human body needs but cannot manufacture itself.


The solid structure of the Aloe Vera holds up to 75 different ingredients. They include minerals, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids.



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Getting Food


Like all other plants, Aloe Vera is autotrophic or a self-feeder. It makes

its own food from the sunlight. It photosynthesizes by water and light.


6CO2 + 12H2O + Light -> C6H12O6 + 6O2+ 6H2O the photosynthesis formula of how the plants take in carbon dioxide and turn it into food and oxygen. We breathe in oxygen. Photosynthesis is a necessary respiratory cycle.


Aloe vera is best grown in sandy loam soil; however it will be grown in a wide range of soils. The soil has to be slightly acidic and supplemented with a cheap nitrogen form. Also, soils with high clay content are not recommended.


Water and sun is always a necessity to plants but sometimes, even more so to aloe vera because it is mostly water. It needs the sunniest and warmest spots in the garden and protection from the cold.




Aloe is a long-lasting plant; it can live up to 25 years and keep on reproducing. It flowers in spring time. It reproduces easily by its seeds. The wind can offset the seeds; carry them up to six feet away from the “mother plant.”


Seeds of the Aloe vera usually germinate between one to six months at 16 degrees Celsius. The seedlings are pricked out when they are large enough to handle and put into individual pots of well-drained soil.


Offsets of the plant are distributed quite freely throughout the year and can be divided at any time as long as it is warm enough to spring fresh root growth and allow re-establishment of the plants.


Environmental Factors


An Aloe Vera plant contains more than 95% percent water. It pH averages at 4.5. Because its consistent is mostly water, it could freeze after a few hours of being under cold temperature.

Aloe vera has little nutrient density in it so large predators are not interested.


There are always a few pests and/or diseases. One of the pests is the mealybug which sucks sap out of plants. Phytophthora and Phythium are diseases that makes the roots rot. There also is Erwinia soft rot and a few slime molds.


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Origin and Distribution


Aloe Vera’s original habitat was the Mediterrean where the climate is warm and dry in the summer time. Because of its value to humans, Aloe Vera is widely cultivated in South America and Asia.


Aloe Vera’s nutrient density is low, large predators are not interested in them.


Importance to People


Four of the 75 ingredients in the Aloe Vera consist of vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and amino acids.


It contains vitamins A, C, E, F and some evident of B. These are all important antioxidant vitamins.


An important enzyme found in Aloe Vera is the carboxypeptidase. This enzyme de-activates bradykinis and produces an anti-inflammatory effect. During an inflammatory process, bradykinis is what causes pain sensation.


There are many different kinds of minerals found in the Aloe Vera plant, from calcium to copper and iron. But the more outstanding mineral is the magnesium lactate. Magnesium lactate inhibits histidine decarboxylase which prevents the formation of histimine from the amino acid histidine. Histimine is released in many allergic reactions that causes intense itching and pain.


Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. An Aloe Vera plant has 20 of the 22 amino acids the Aloe humans need. There are eight amino acids the human body cannot synthesize and the Aloe Vera contains seven of these eight amino acids.


Aloe Vera is also a natural moisturizer for the skin. Its gel can seep into the layers of skin easily and quickly, balancing the body’s natural pH level, a condition needed for smooth, healthy-looking skin.


Aloe Vera gel conditions the skin inside-out because its vitamins and nutrients can reached the innermost layers of the skin.


Aloe Vera’s natural anti-oxidants: vitamin A, C, and E, are widely used in the cosmetic industry for reduce the signs of aging and help improve and tighten the skin’s elasticity.


Aloe Vera also promotes healthy skin growth. Its natural enzymes have the capability of ridding the skin of dead skin cells and aid in the promotion of healthy, new skin cell growth, giving the skin a soft, healthy tone and texture.


Survivability and Endangered Status


Today, Aloe Vera is a worldwide cosmetic product and a convenient household remedy for burns and cuts. The plants grow widely and easily all over the Philippines. The Aloe Vera is a very sturdy plant, it is almost indestructible. It is in no way endangered. The warm and humid climate of the Philippines is very conducive to the plant.


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Potential Solutions

Aloe Vera has been found to contain seven of the eight essential and 11 of the 14 non-essential amino acids our body needs. This is not all; the plant contains 75 different nutritional compounds that benefit humans from head to heel, internally and externally too. Aloe vera is not only beneficial to human it also has value in veterinary medicine and the field of agriculture. Forever Living Products International, Inc. has been studying and producing products out of Aloe Vera for the last 30 years. It has over 5000 acres of Aloe Vera farms in the desert parts of the USA, Texas and Arizona, and South America.


Possibility 1

When my family moved to the current house we live in, the garden was overgrown with aloe vera! Unfortunately, my mother didn’t like the way the aloe vera was taking over the garden, she had them pulled out and gave some away. Today not one plant is left in our garden. But if we used to have aloe vera in our garden, couldn’t it be possible to grow aloe vera farm in the Philippines?



1. Aloe Vera thrives in hot weather. The plant is also resilient and requires little maintenance. It would be a good source of income for Filipino farmers to grow the plant and supply to Forever Living, Inc.


2. Today, Forever Living products are very expensive because the ingredients are from the USA. If Philippines can supply Aloe Vera to Forever Living, Philippines, it would surely lower the prices of the produces and provide jobs for countless Filipinos.


3. The areas in central Luzon covered by ashes from Pinatubo are not good for growing rice anymore. Instead of allowing massive land areas go to waste, maybe these former rice fields could grow aloe vera instead?




1. The aloe vera expert I interviewed said that the Philippines is too humid for the plant to grow in large quantity.


2. Forever Living International which is owned by this one American, Rex Maughn, might want to keep his profit margin high by keeping the aloe vera farms mainly in the USA.


3. To process aloe vera gel into the 100 different kinds of product line of Forever Living in the Philippines would mean setting up processing plants. This means a major investment and huge capitalization.



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Possibility 2


Without getting into big time production for Forever Living, why not start small as cottage industry?




1. This is in line with Philippine government encouraging Filipinos to start their own cottage industry.


2. Instead of high-end products such as nutritious health drinks and juices, cottage industry can start with low end production such as cleaning substances and natural insecticides.




1. Education is needed to get this kind of project started.


2. Unless people have farm lands, generally speaking, people don’t have parcels of empty land to grow enough aloe vera to make it viable.



In my new findings of the aloe plant, I contacted Dra. Ditas, a dermatologist by telephone. She wants to help Filipinos find an affordable way to help beautify themselves and cleanse their body inside and out. We talked about the benefits of Aloe vera to the body and the importance to humans and the many vitamins and minerals.



Aloe is a plant that is high in status in the Bible. It was always referred with myrrh and fine spices. It was considered a royal plant, in a way.


Psalm 45:7-9 says, "You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes, and cassi; from placaes adorned with ivory the music of strings makes you glad. Daughters of kings are among your honored women; at your right hand is the royal bride in the gold of Ophir.


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“Aloe Vera.” Herbs at a Glance. 2008. National Institutes of Health. 11 April 2008 <http://nccam.nih.gov/health/aloevera/>


“Aloe Vera.” Wikipedia.org. 12 April 2008. 12 April 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_vera>


Banvard, Elaine. “Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis.)” Earlham College. 2003. 10 April 2008 <http://www.earlham.edu/~banvael/aloevera.html>


Co, Grace. Personal Interview. 3 May 2008.


“Guide to Growing Aloe Plants.” The Garden Helper. 2000. 14 April 2008 <http://www.thegardenhelper.com/aloe~vera.html>


Lele, Satish. “Aloe Vera Gel.” 2008. 16 April 2008 <http://www.svlele.com/herbal.htm>


Samuels, Cristina and Issac, Jennifer. “Key Ingredients.” Mode, New York. 2008. 27 April 2008



“What is Aloe Vera?” Aloe Health UK. 2008. 15 April 2008. <http://www.aloehealthuk.com/content/print.asp?article=14>


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