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Aloe vera

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Aloe vera, also known as the medicinal aloe, is a species of succulent plant that probably originated in Northern Africa. Aloe vera grows in arid climates and is widely distributed in Africa and other arid areas. Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 60 to 100 cm (24 to 39 in) tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on the upper and lower stem surfaces. The margin of the leaf is serrated and has small white teeth. The flowers are produced in summer on a spike up to 90 cm (35 in) tall, each flower pendulous, with a yellow tubular corolla 2 to 3 cm (0.8 to 1.2 in) long. Like other Aloe species, Aloe vera forms arbuscular mycorrhiza, a symbiosis that allows the plant better access to mineral nutrients in soil
The species is frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine. Many scientific studies of the use of aloe vera have been undertaken, some of them conflicting. Despite these limitations, there is some preliminary evidence that Aloe vera extracts may be useful in the treatment of diabetes and elevated blood lipids in humans. These positive effects are thought to be due to the presence of compounds such as polysaccharides, mannans, anthraquinones and lectins
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