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Monday, 29 September 2008
Aloe Vera and Climate Change
What is aloe vera, Aloeride® and Climate Change
Among plants aloe vera may be an Ugly Betty but it has a 4,000+ year track record of being hugely valued for improving both health and beauty. Earliest recorded pharmaceutical use dates back to 2100 BC (Sumeria/Babylon), also hieroglyphic inscriptions of aloe dated to 4100 BC were found in the tomb of an Egyptian Court physician. Queen Cleopatra and Queen Nefertiti, both renown for their stunning beauty, used aloe vera to stay healthy and beautiful. Aloe vera today still is unfailingly popular for the same reasons it was valued for throughout the ages. Although aloe vera looks like a cactus, it actually is a succulent and a member of the Liliacae family (like the onion, garlic, asparagus, lily and the tulip). Unsurprisingly one of aloe vera’s nick names is ‘lily of the desert’ because that is where it grows naturally. To survive long periods of droughts these xeroids plants have the ability to retain and preserve large quantities of water. Being able to survive such a harsh environment has interesting implications for you. When for instance an aloe leaf gets damaged it instantaneously repairs this damage thereby avoiding loss of water. Failure to quickly repair the injury site would result in evaporation of its precious reservoir and might jeopardise the plant’s health or survival. Such tissue repair and other powerful aloe vera properties are transferred to you when you ingest Aloeride® Aloe Vera. There are more than 350 varieties of aloe vera yet only 4 contain significant healing properties, the most nutrient dense of these is aloe vera barbadensis miller, the plant used to make Aloeride® Aloe Vera. Aloe vera is a complex, interacting mixture of some 300 constituents including beta-linked polysaccharides, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, lignins, saponins and anthraquinones. The challenge in processing aloe vera is how to extract all of these synergistic molecules without damaging them or without significantly altering their ratios to one another. Next you must deliver all these synergistic molecules in meaningful quantities for only then can the many properties attributed to aloe vera manifest themselves. We chose to grow the best and process in the cleverest possible way and as a result Aloeride® Aloe Vera emerges as the top flight aloe vera product in multiple, independent laboratory tests. With a nick name like ‘lily of the desert’ you won’t be surprised to learn that aloe vera cannot tolerate frost. Its water content freezes at 28° Fahrenheit (minus 2°Celcius) causing the plant to die. Consequently most commercial growth of aloe vera happens south of the Equator. North of the Equator commercial growth still is precarious, aloe growers in the ‘dust bowl’ of southern Spain got clobbered when in February 2005 temperatures fell to minus 10° in Madrid and minus 20° in Aragon. But also south of the Equator the climate is changing, until recently Australia was a large producer of aloe vera like it was of wheat, cotton lint, wine grapes and rice. Their prolonged droughts caused a drop in wheat production by over 58% which made wheat prices surge to a 10-year high, these drought also affected Australia’s aloe vera production where one company alone converted some 7,000 tonnes of aloe vera leaf into around three million litres of gel each year. An aloe vera plant needs 150mL water a month as otherwise it dies. Plants that do survive the drought generate more aloin and emodin, resulting in their gel having an even more bitter taste and stronger odour than usual. It is what dehydrated aloe does for self-preservation because emodin and aloin have anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal and anti-cancer effect. These hydroxyanthraquinone compounds become life savers as the dehydrated plant fights cell disorganisation and bacteria, viruses or fungi that prey on it. However, what is good for a distressed aloe vera plant isn’t necessarily good for you. In the lower gastrointestinal tract barbaloin molecules are hydrolysed to create aloe emodin which acts as a laxative by increasing water retention and mucus secretion in the large intestine. Aloe vera crop surviving droughts may come with a sting in its tail that causes mayhem in sensitive digestive tracts. In order to achieve product consistency in a changing climate, we perform routine laboratory tests on trial processed harvests and base our purchases on those outcomes. The effect of climate change reaches aloe vera crops worldwide and to date Aloeride® Aloe Vera has needed to make two rejections because of our very exacting Quality Control. Climate change certainly makes optimal harvesting more challenging than it has been in the past decades but the customer feedback shows that keeping to our unique standards makes an appreciable difference to customer’s quality of life. An Ugly Betty aloe vera may be, but in Aloeride® Aloe Vera it waves its magic wand supremely.