ALOES SPECIES- A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW

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About Authors:
Krishn Kumar Agrawal*, Kishan Singh, Bhupesh Chander Semwal
Institute of Pharmaceutical Research GLA University,
Mathura-281403 (U.P.) India.
*Krishn.agrawal@rediffmail.com

ABSTRACT:
Medicinal plants have been a major source of therapeutic agents since ancient times to cure human disease. Aloes species (family-Liliaceae) is a widely used herbaceous, shrubby, arborescent, perennial or xerophytic succulents medicinal plant cultivated throughout India and popular in various indigenous system of medicine like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Tibb. Traditionally the juice of aloe is used as bitter, laxative, purgative and cathartic. They are also useful in jaundice, dyspepsia, piles, skin disease, abotificient, trophic ulcer, wounds healing and many more ailments. The present review is therefore, an effort to give a detailed survey of the literature on pharmacognosy, phytochemistry and pharmacological activities of the plant.

Reference Id: PHARMATUTOR-ART-1403

INTRODUCTION:
Medicinal plants have been a major source of therapeutic agents since ancient times to cure human disease. India is considered as botanical garden of the world and more than 2200 species of medicinal and aromatic plants have been identified after studies. The revival of interest in natural drugs started in last decade mainly because of the wide spread belief that green medicine is healthier than synthetic products. Now-a-days, there is manifold increase in the interest of use of medicinal plants throughout the world which are growing at a rate of 7-15% annually. Despite the major advances in the modern medicine, the development of new drugs from natural products is still considered important.

World Health Organization (WHO) has been encouraging countries to identify and exploit traditional medicine and phyto-pharmaceuticals. As per WHO, about 80% of the population in the world relays on the traditional medicine for the treatment of various disease1. Therefore, the evaluation of rich heritage of traditional medicine is essential. In this regard, one such plant genus is Aloe which is an herbaceous, shrubby, or arborescent, perennial, xerophytic succulents, found in tropical and South Africa, Malagasy and Arabica. The term ‘Aloe’, in medicine is stands for the dried juice which is mainly used in digestive ailments and prepared by cutting the leaves into the suitable vessels and then concentrated by evaporation, either spontaneously or more frequently by boiling.

Aloe, commonly known as Musabbar, is a reputed purgative, cathartic, laxative, and bitter in indigenous system of medicine. Three varieties of aloes are official in the Indian Pharmacopoeia: (1) Curacao aloe obtained from A. Barbadensis(synm. A. vera); (2) Socotrine aloe obtained from A. perryi; and (3) Cape aloe from A. ferox and its hybrids.
Of about 180 known species of aloe, the drug is mainly obtained from the following; cape variety from A. ferox and its hybrid; Curacao variety from A. barbadensis, Socotrine and Zanzibar varieties from A. perryi. The genus Aloe includes herbs, shrubs and trees, bearing spikes of white, yellow or red flower2. The Washington conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) placed all species of aloe, with the exception of A. vera (a cultivator of A. barbadensis), on the protected list3.

 

PHARMACOGNOSTICAL STUDIES:
Different macroscopic and microscopic characteristic have been found in different species of aloes, which are as follow:

Table 1: MACROSCOPIC CHARACTER4:

Characters

Curacao aloe

Cape aloe

Socotrine aloe

Zanzibar aloe

Odour

Strong iodoformic

Sour but distinct

Unpleasant

Disagreeable

Taste

Bitter

Nauseating and bitter

Bitter, nauseous

Bitter

Colour

Brownish-black, opaque mass

Dark brown or greenish brown to olive brown

Brownish yellow

Liver brown

Appearance

Waxy, resinous, transparent, uneven fractured surface

Glassy fractured surface

Semisolid Opaque mass with conchoidal fractured surface

Dull, waxy, smooth, and even fractured

MICROSCOPIC CHARACTER:
Transverse section of aloe leaf show the following characteristic:-
A strong cuticularized epidermis with numerous stomata on both side of surfaces which enclose a region of parenchyma containing chlorophyll, starch and occasional bundles of needle of calcium oxalate. A central region which frequently occupies about three-fifths of the diameter of the leaf, consisting of large, mucilage-containing parenchymatous cells which covers the double raw of vascular bundles which lie at the junction of two previous zones and have a well marked pericycle and endodermis. The aloetic juice from which the aloin is prepared is contained in the large, pericycle cells and sometime in adjacent parenchyma3.

The study showed that the leaf structure, content and the storage location of aloin in the leaves of six species of Aloe were studied by means of semi-thin section, high performance liquid chromatography and fluorescent microscope. Results showed that all leaves cosisted of epidermis, chlorenchyma, aquiferous tissue and vascular bundles with xeromorphic characteristics, including thickened epidermal cell wall, thickened cutical, sunken stomata and well developed aquiferous tissue with the exception of this, there were remarkable differences in leaf structure among the six species. The chlorenchyma cells were similar to palisade tissue in Aloe arborescens and A. Mutabilis, but isodiametric in A. Vera, A. Vera var. Chinensis, A. Saponaria and A. Greenii, A. Arborescens, A. Mutabilis, A. Vera included large parenchymatous cells at the vascular bundles, whereas no such cells were observed at the vascular bundles of A. Saponaria and A. Greenii. In A. Arborescens, A. Mutabilis and A. Vera, the aquiferous tissue sheaths were present and composed of a layer of small parenchymatous cells without chloroplast around the aquiferous tissue. While there were no aquiferous tissue sheaths in A. Vera var. Chinensis, A. Saponaria and A.greenii5.

Table 2: Aloin content and RSD value of different species of Aloe

Sr. No.

Species

Aloin content (%)

Relative standard deviation (RSD)

1.

Aloe arborescens

0.602

1.22

2.

A. vera

0.266

1.18

3.

A. mutabilis

0.123

1.13

4.

A. vera var. Chinensis

0.011

1.26

5.

A. saponaria

0.009

1.38

6.

A. greenii

0.076

1.24

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