Sunday, March 06, 2016

Aloe vera – An agricultural option

Of late, because of skyrocketing prices of allopathic medicines with its known side effects, medicinal plants and ayurvedic medicines are becoming popular.

According to research the world trade on these medicines is worth about $80 million now and this is likely to increase by 35-40 percent within five years. USA dominates the market (65%) while India and China have a share of 10 percent each which could be enhanced by its commercial cultivation. With increasing interest in ‘natural’ products across the world and the resultant upsurge in the demand for medicinal plants, this trade is expected to grow up to $5 trillion by the year 2050.

Aloe Vera is among the few medicinal plants by virtue of their extensive medicinal, nutraceutical and other uses, enjoys a major chunk of the market across the globe. The major markets for Aloe Vera and its extracts are Australia, US and the entire Europe.

Aloe Vera is a plant of great potential and value in the field of therapeutic pharmaceuticals and cosmetic industries, and in Ayurvedic and Unani system of medicines, it is particularly useful for treatment of burns, bleeding wounds, as eye drops for sore eyes. The gel contained in Aloe Vera leaves reportedly comprises 75 nutrients, 200 active compounds, 20 minerals, 18 amino acids and 12 vitamins.

It contains 200 different types of polysaccharides, and various kinds of glycol- protein which are used for human health. Aloine A, and Aloine B, are principles of the ayurvedic medicine.

Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) is a popular medicinal plant. It belongs to liliaceae family. It is a perennial plant, growing to the height of 0.5m – 0.8m. Its leaves are long and thick, juicy with a wheel like phylotaxy. The two sides of the leaves have thorny structure with a thorny tip. The inner substance of the leaves is jelly like, with bad odour and bitter in taste. The length of the leaves ranges from 25-30 cm, while the breadth ranges from 3-5 cm.

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