Aloe: Biological Sources, Morphological features, Medicinal Uses and MCQs


1. Biological sources:

• The botanical name of aloe is Aloe barbadensis miller.
• The biological source of aloe is dried latex of leaves of it.
• It is also known as curacao aloe, cape aloe and socotrine aloe.
• It belongs to the liliaceae family.

2. Morphological features:

• It is a succulent plant.
• It is an evergreen perennial plant.
• It is an stem less or short stemmed plant.
• It grows upto 60-100 cm of height.
• Its leaves are thick and fleshy.
• They may be green to grey- green in color.
• Margin of leaves are serrated and it has small white teeth.
• The shape of leaves are rosette shape.
• Large amount of pulp is present in the parenchyma of leaves.
• The width of base is 10 cm.
• The size of flowers are 90 cm.
• Flowers have a yellow tubular corolla which is upro 2-3 cm.
• The color of flower is ranging from white to yellow to orange to near-red.
• Seeds are held in dry capsules.
• It has no calyx.
• Roots grow wide and not too deep in soil.
• Roots forms a arbuscular mycorrhiza.
• Fruits of aloe are triangular capsules.
• Seeds are winged.

3. Chemical constituents:

• The chief chemical constituent of aloe is aloe-emodin ,which occurs in free form .
• It is present as a glycoside in the various species of aloe.
• The amount of emodin present in curacao aloe is two and half times less than the amount present in cape-aloes.
• They also composed of anthrones and anthranols, which may be present in free or combined form as glycoside.
• It also contain isobarbaloin and resins.
• The active resin present in aloes is also known as aloesin.
• Other chemical constituents are volatile oil to some extent which is responsible of its characteristic odour.
• Gama- coniceine (piperidine) is also present in some species of aloe.
• It also contain amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
• Sugars and hormones and salicylic acid is also present in aloe.
• Steroids are also present in aloe.

4. Uses:

• It has purgative property.
• It is used to treat painful inflammatory manifestations.
• It is used as an ingredient in the preparation of compound tincture of benzoin or friar’s balsam.
• Aloe gel is used to treat and cure radiation burns to get immediate relief from itching and pains.
• It is usually applied with carminatives.
• It is an ingredient of lotions,yogurt and beverages and some desserts.
• It is used to treat skin wounds.
• It helps to reduce psoriasis and rosacea, warts.
• It also helps to reduce ageing and wrinkles.
• It also reduces eczema.
• It helps to improve flexibility.
• It also have body cell regeneration ability.
• It generate movement of bowel in the condition of constipation.
• Helps to heal insect bites, rashes, sores and fungal infection.
• It is used to treat herpes and urticaria and conjunctivitis.
• It is used to treat vaginal infection and allergic reactions.
• Its boiled juice is used to treat hair fall.

5. Adulteration:

Common adulterants of aloe are maltodextrin, glucose, sucrose and glycerin.
It is also adulterated by malic acid.


1. What is the botanical name of aloe?
(a) Monarda didyma
(b) Gaillardia aristata
(c) Liatris spicata
(d) Aloe barbadensis miller

2. Aloe used as an ingredient in the formulation of
(a) Lotion
(b) Beverages
(c) desserts
(d) all of the above

3. Match the following with respect to the chemical constituents of plant.
I. Opium                                            A. Anthranol
II. Ephedra                                       B. protopine
III. Cascara                                       C. ephedrine
IV. Aloe                                             D.emodin

4. Choose incorrect statement with respect to the medicinal uses of plants.
i. Cascara is used to treat constipation.
ii. Digitalis is used to treat congestive heart failure.
iii. Aloe is used to treat syphilis.
iv. Ipecac has emetic property.

(a) Both i and ii
(b) Only iii
(c) Both iii and iv
(d) Only ii

5. What is the chief chemical constituent of aloe?
(a) Vincristine
(b) Strychnine
(c) Protopine
(d) Emodine

6. Which of the following is an adulterant of aloe?
(a) Malic acid
(b) Glucose
(c) Indigo dye
(d) Both a and b

7. Leaves of aloe are
(a) Rosette shape
(b) Thick
(c) Fleshy
(d) All of the above

8. Aloe belongs to which plant family?
(a) Apocynaceae
(b) Liliaceae
(c) Rubiaceae
(d) Solaneacae

9. Aloe is used to treat
(a) Vaginal infection
(b) Allergic reaction
(c) Herpes
(d) All of the above

10. What are the chemical constituents of aloe?
(a) Amino acids
(b) Enzymes
(c) Minerals
(d) All of the above


1. (d)
2. (d)
3. (b)
4. (b)
5. (d)
6. (d)
7. (d)
8. (b)
9. (d)
10. (d)

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Evans W.C, Editors. Trease and Evans Pharmacognosy. New York, Saunders Elsevier; 2009, p. 246,491.

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