cape aloe – Since ancient times, aloes have been recorded in Egyptian hieroglyphs and in the San and Khoi rock paintings and has a long history of medicinal uses in traditional cultures. Africa has over 360 species of the genus Aloe linneus of which the Aloe ferox is the most used and commercially produced in South Africa. Aloe ferox is different from aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis). In ‘ferox’, the bitter aloin is found just under the skin and can easily be separated from the gel-like inner leaf. In ‘vera’ the aloin is found throughout the leaf and is extracted in a chemical process. The Aloe ferox or cape aloe has been found to have a 28% higher level of aloin and 36% more amino acids than Aloe vera, which is indigenous to America.
The Aloe Ferox plant is a great deal older than the vera plant, the Aloe Ferox has also been used for a great deal longer than the aloe vera plant. The Aloe Ferox can only grow in one part of the world which is a small range in South Africa, in the stretch between the western and eastern cape.
The Aloe Ferox plant or cape aloe is about 20 times stronger than the aloe vera and it contains about twice to three times more the essential amino acids as its cousin the vera.
The tests demonstrated the following:
Aloe Ferox or cape aloe and Aloe vera contain 7 of the 8 essential amino acids and all the other 12 non-essential amino acids. Similarly the mineral concentrations of Aloe vera (Femenia 1999) were compared to typical concentration measured in Aloe Ferox (expressed as % of dry matter). It is evident that Aloe Ferox or cape aloe contains a higher concentration of these minerals, which can potentially ascribed to its harvesting in its natural habitat and not in domesticated fields. As can be seen the chemical composition of Aloe vera is comparable to that of Aloe Ferox.
The bitter aloe is most famous for its medicinal qualities. In parts of South Africa, the bitter yellow juice found just below the skin has been harvested as a renewable resource for two hundred years. The hard, black, resinous product is known as Cape aloes or aloe lump and is used mainly for its laxative properties but is also taken for arthritis. The gel-like flesh from the inside of the leaves is used in cosmetic products and is reported to have wound-healing properties.