Scientific & Common Name:
Aloe vera, commonly known as Chinese aloe, Indian aloe, true aloe, burn aloe, first aid plant
The natural range of aloe vera is unclear, as the species has been widely cultivated throughout the world; however, it is believed to have originated on the Mediterranean coast of Africa.
Aloe thrives in climates such as the Caribbean as well as Central and South America. It has large, fleshy, grayish-green, strap-like leaves close to the ground edged with spines and a pointed tip. Aloe vera grows to about 24 to 39 inches tall. The aloe vera flowers in the summer on a spike up to 35 inches tall, each flower being pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla about an inch long.
In the Virgin Islands, the external uses are numerous. It is used as an emollient, a bath, hair conditioner, and sunscreen. When stewed, aloe has immense benefits to the hair, nails, and especially skin. In South America, it is often worn as a mosquito repellent, and whole plants hung upside down to repel insects.
Aloe is used frequently in the treatment of burns, cuts, and sores. Internally, it has been used for the treatments of colds and fevers, coughs, and intestinal worms. Aloe vera juice is also marketed to support the health of the digestive system.