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Ghrita kumari or Guar patha

Contributor: Pankaj Oudhia

Copyright (c) 2001. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.

Scientific Name: Aloe barbadensis Mill.
syn. A. perfoliata L. var. vera L.; A. vera (L.) Webb & Berth.

Common (Indian) Names
Bengali & Sanskrit: ghrita kumari, kumari
Hindi: guarpatha, ghikanvar
Canarese: lolisara
Malyalam: kumari
Marathi: korphad
Tamil: chirukuttali
Telugu: chinna kalabanda
Oriya: kumari

Family: Liliaceae

Origin: It is indigenous to eastern and southern Africa and grown in Cape colony, Zanzibar and islands of Socorita.

Distribution: The genus Aloe is widespread throughout the entire African continent, but the tropical regions are particularly rich. It is found as wild along the coast of South India. Grown as an ornamental in India. Under cultivation in fairly large areas many parts of India viz. Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat.

Related Species: The genus Aloe includes about 240 species. Some economically important species include A. ferox Mill., A. africana Mill., and A. perryi Bak. It is proposed that the following species be legally protected in some African countries:
eel-shaped aloe [A. allooides (H. Bol) Van Druten.]
angelica aloe (A. angelic Pole Evans )
woody aloe (A. arborescens Mill.)
Baine's aloe (A. bainesii Dyer)
chestnut aloe (A. castanea Schonl.)
dolomite aloe (A. dolomitica Groene-Wald)
fibrous aloe (A. fibrosa Lavranson et Newton )
coastal aloe (A. littoralis Bak.)
alpine (Marlot's) aloe (A. marlothii A. Berger)
les 0th 0 aloe (A. polyphylla Schönland ex Pillans)
sessile-flowered aloe (A. sessiliflora Pole Evans)
striped aloe (A. striata Haw.)
vari colored aloe (A. pillansii Guthrie)
small-flowered aloe (A. parviflora Baker)

Botany: A perennial herb. Stem short, stout and thick. Leaves sessile, crowded, lanceolate, pale green, fleshy, margins spiny. Scape longer than the leaves. Flowers in dense racemes, perianth cylindric; pendulous, yellow.

Chemical Constituents: All Aloe species contain anthraquinone glycosides. Barbaloin (aloe-emodin anthrone C-10 glucoside) is the major active constituent. Aloes also contain isobarbalin, aloe-emodin, resins, aloetic acid, homonataloin aloe-sone, chrysophanic acid, chrysamminic acid, galactouronic acid, choline choline salicylate, saponins, mucopolysacchrides, glucosamines, hexuranic acid, coniferyl alchohol.

Useful Parts: Leaves.

Medicinal Properties and Uses: According to Ayurveda it is bitter, cooling, purgative, alteratve, fattening, tonic, aphrodisiac, anthelmindic and alexiteric. It is useful in eye-disease, tumours, spleen enlargement, lever complaints, vomiting, bronchitis, skin diseases, biliousness, asthma, jaundice and ulcers. The fresh gel or its solid extract is used for medicinal purpose. The plant is equally salutary both internally as well as externally. Aloe gel is formed in inner parenchymal cells of the leaves. This gel is used in cosmetic industry and is in heavy demand. The gel possess good moisturing properties and also has formulation role for oil in water (approved by FDA) preparation. Aloe gel also contains anti-wrinkle properties. Aloes is the dried juice of leaves of A. barbadensis, known as curacao aloes, or of A. perryi, known as socotrine Aloes; or of A. africana and A. spicata, known as cape aloes.

Ayurvedic Preparations: Rajahpravartani, Kumaripak, Kumari vati, Kumari asav.

Other Uses: Aloes are salt resistant species and useful for seaside landscaping. Leaf and flower-stalk are pickled. Leaves yield fiber and dye.

Climatic Requirements: Flourishes in a variety of climate and can withstand drought.

Soils: Naturally occurs in driest and poorest soils. It can be grown on a variety of soils. However, water lagged soils are not suitable.

Propagation: Through seed, sucker, and cutting. A total of 36,500 suckers are required for 1 ha.

Nutrients: In India, Aloe is raised as organic crop and only farm yard manure is applied (12-15 tonnes/ha). In standing crop cowdung solution is applied for nutrient and pest management.

Pest Infestation: No major insects or disease have been reported in India.

Maturity and Harvesting: Crop is ready to harvest about 8 months after sowing. Economical yields are obtained in 5 years. In India, the average yield for organically grown Aloe is about 12 tonnes/ha (on fresh weight basis).

Resource person
Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management, (SOPAM)
28-A, College Road, Geeta Nagar
Raipur- 492001 India.

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Last modified: July 15 2020 by aw