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Aloe macrosiphon - Baker

Common Name Tanzanian Aloe
Family Xanthorrhoeaceae
USDA hardiness 9-11
Known Hazards The sap of Aloe species contains anthraquinones. These compounds have several beneficial medicinal actions, particularly as a laxative, and many species of Aloe are thus employed in traditional medicine. Whilst safe in small doses and for short periods of time, anthraquinones do have potential problems if used in excess. These include congestion and irritation of the pelvic organs[ 299 ]. Long term use of anthraquinone laxatives may also play a role in development of colorectal cancer as they have genotoxic potential, and tumorigenic potential[ 299 ].
Habitats In shade at edge of thickets in grassland, often among rocks; at elevations from 1,125 - 1,585 metres[ 299 ].
Range East tropical Africa - Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care
Tender Well drained soil Semi-shade Full sun
Aloe macrosiphon Tanzanian Aloe


Copyright Ken Blackford. Huntington Botanic Gardens
Aloe macrosiphon Tanzanian Aloe

 

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Summary

Aloe macrosiphon. Found in Eastern tropical Africa, Aloe macrosiphon is stemless, perennial, succulent, evergreen plant with rosette leaves. It forms suckers, often freely, and can form large clumps. It is used as a medicinal plant for treatment for various skin conditions such as wounds and burns, haemorrhoids, sore throat, and coughs. It is also often used as laxative in small doses because if used in excess it may cause congestion and irritation of the pelvic organs.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Aloe macrosiphon is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a slow rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Aloe compacta Reynolds Aloe mwanzana Christian

Habitats

Edible Uses

None Known

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


The distinctive constituents in Aloe leaves are phenolic compounds, including chromone, anthraquinone or anthrone derivatives. Some of the compounds are found in many species, whereas others occur in only a few[ 299 ]. This species has very similar properties to Aloe vera[ 299 ]. The uses of Aloe vera are as follows:- The clear gel contained within the leaf makes an excellent treatment for wounds, burns and a host of other skin disorders, placing a protective coat over the affected area, speeding up the rate of healing and reducing the risk of infection. The gel is also applied externally to cure haemorrhoids[ 254 , 299 , K ]. These actions are in part due to the presence of aloectin B, which stimulates the immune system[ 254 ]. To obtain this gel, the leaves can be cut in half along their length and the inner pulp rubbed over the affected area of skin[ K ]. This has an immediate soothing effect on all sorts of burns and other skin problems[ K ]. The use of the gel has been approved in the United States for the treatment of leukaemia in cats, of fibrosarcoma in dogs, for wound healing in humans and to prevent dry socket in humans[ 299 ]. The peeled leaves are eaten to relieve sore throat and coughs and as a mild laxative. As a food supplement, the leaf gel is said to facilitate digestion, and to improve blood and lymphatic circulation, as well as kidney, liver and gall bladder functions[ 299 ]. There are claims of beneficial activity of Aloe vera products in cases of AIDS, arthritis, or other chronic and debilitating conditions. However, these claims have not been substantiated by scientific studies. There is also no evidence that topical Aloe vera gel is effective in preventing or minimizing radiation-induced skin reactions in cancer patients. In large amounts, the gel has anti-irritant properties[ 299 ]. A bitter substance is obtained from the yellow sap at the base of the leaf. Known as ?bitter aloes?, it contains anthraquinones which are a useful digestive stimulant and a strong laxative[ 254 ]. It also has vermicidal properties[ 299 ]. It is taken internally in the treatment of chronic constipation, poor appetite, digestive problems etc[ 238 ]. Mixed with other ingredients to mask its bitter taste, it is taken against asthma and to treat coughs. Similar mixtures are taken to cure dysentery, kidney problems or against dyspepsia[ 299 ]. It should be administered preferably in combination with an antispasmodic to moderate its griping action[ 299 ]. It is applied externally as a refrigerant to treat acne or cuts[ 299 ]. 'Cura'ao aloe' should contain at least 28% hydroxy-anthraquinone derivatives; it is almost entirely soluble in 60% alcohol and for more than 70% in water. It should not contain more than 12% moisture and 3% ash[ 299 ]. The plant is strongly purgative so great care should be taken over the dosage[ 238 ]. Anthraquinone-based laxatives, such as bitter aloes, should not be used longer than 8 - 10 days, nor by children younger than 12 years. Contra-indications include pregnancy, breastfeeding, intestinal inflammations and haemorrhoids[ 238 , 243 , 299 ]. When plants are grown in pots the anthraquinone content is greatly reduced[ 254 ].

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Other Uses

Other uses rating: Low (1/5). Suitable for xeriscaping. Suitable for growing in containers.

Special Uses

Cultivation details

The plant is reported to hybridize in the wild with Aloe secundiflora[ 328 ]. Aloe species follow the Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). CAM plants can fix carbon dioxide at night and photosynthesize with closed stomata during the day, thus minimizing water loss. This, plus their succulent leaves and stems, and the presence of a thick cuticle, makes them well adapted to dry conditions[ 299 ].

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Propagation

Seed - we have no specific information on this species - in general Aloes are sown in a sandy, well-drained potting soil in a warm, shady position in standard seed trays. Germination takes about three weeks. Cover the seed with a thin layer of sand (1 - 2mm), keep moist. The seedlings can be planted out in individual bags or containers as soon as they are large enough to handle[ 295 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Tanzanian Aloe

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Coming Soon

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Aloe arborescensCandelabra Aloe, Tree Aloe, Mountain Bush AloeShrub3.0 10-11 MLMSNDM253
Aloe camperiAloeShrub0.8 9-12 MLMSND041
Aloe feroxCape Aloe, Bitter Aloe, Red Aloe, Cape Aloe, Alligator Jaw AloeShrub3.0 9-11 SLMND253
Aloe perryiPerry's AloePerennial0.3 10-12 SLMND041
Aloe veraAloe Vera, Barbados aloe, First Aid Plant, Medicinal AloePerennial0.8 9-11 SLMNDM15 
Aquilaria malaccensisAgar Wood, Eaglewood, Indian Aloewood, AloeswoodTree20.0 10-12 SLMHSNM133
Hesperaloe funiferaNew Mexico false yuccaPerennial1.8 6-9 SLMNDM00 
Hesperaloe nocturna Perennial1.8 6-9 SLMNDM00 
Yucca aloifoliaSpanish Bayonet, Aloe yucca, Dagger Plant, Yucca, Spanish BayonetTree7.5 8-10 SLMHSNDM31 

 

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Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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