So what is so different about Cape Aloe? Is it just another name for Aloe Vera?

Is there reaaaally a difference between aloes? I mean, isn't aloe just...aloe? It works, we all know it does. Nobody needs to make aloe famous.

I agree, and I'm really glad about that. I think there are many good articles out there about the benefits of aloe. But I am also really glad that you landed on this one. I think you'll be surprised to find out what there is still more to know about aloe that nobody has told you yet. My hope for this article is that you, as a consumer, will be more empowered to know what you are really consuming in using aloe supplements or skincare.

Cape Aloe's are also famously known as Aloe Ferox, Bitter Aloe or African Aloe. They derive their name for their unique indigenous origin, namely, the South African Coast. They are also known as the Bitter Aloe, which is a distinguishing feature of this specie, and differentiates it from its close cousin, the Aloe Vera.

Cape Aloe is often called the Bitter Aloe, because the leaves house a much higher density of valuable compound that are not found in other aloes. Compound such as "aloin" and amino acids are extremely potent materials that are packed with restorative properties. These compounds work naturally with your body's functioning to restore, heal and soothe ailments faster, more effectively and more naturally. We have dedicated a whole blog posts specifically toward busting the myths on 'aloin', incase you were just wondering about that.

> busting 5 myths about "aloin"

More about the unique properties of Cape Aloe

There are two distinct parts of the plant that are harvested. Firstly the yellow exudate (better known as the bitter sap), which drains from the outer green skin of the leaves when cut, and the remainder of the leaf that contains the mucilaginous gel and is extremely fiber rich. Compared to the Aloe Vera, Cape Aloe (or Aloe Ferox leaves) contain more potent properties as demonstrated by the following.

The freshly cut leaf of Cape Aloe produced approximately 20 times more bitter sap, weight by weight than the Aloe Vera. After extraction, the juice of the Aloe vera leaves decolorizes and loses its viscosity much more rapidly than does the juice of Cape Aloe. The amino acid content of Cape Aloe is almost double that of Aloe vera. Although both Cape Aloe and Aloe vera contain 7 of the 8 essential amino acids and all the other 12 non-essential amino acids, it is evident that 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. In skincare, Cape Aloe gel enriched with aloins (bitter) is demonstrated to inhibit collagen degradation.

The healing properties of Cape Aloe: according to scientific sources

Okay, hold on to your seats. It's about to get real fancy and scientific. I contemplated whether I should add this part. But I think it's important that we get the facts out there. These facts are not just pretty words on a picture, but they have been demonstrated by scientific research that has been ongoing for the last 50 years. If you're not a big reader, just skip down to the next picture, it's summarized there )

A study by Davis (1985) showed that when Cape Aloe was applied topically in a hydrophilic cream it reduced inflammation associated with arthritis (39%) and subsequent arthritis (45%). It has also been found that aloe has analgesic properties that can be ascribed to the presence of salicylates, which has an aspirin like effect (Shelton 1991)

Wound healing
Wounds treated with aloe showed rapid granulation and increased oxygen supply as a result of the increased blood flow (Davis 1989). The skin punch wounds healed more rapidly. The aloe gel reduced wound diameter, seemed to reduce scarring and inhibited acute inflammation. In another study, (Heggers 1996) stimulation of fibroblast activity and collagen proliferation was demonstrated. A recent study (Barrantes 2003) demonstrated aloe gel enriched with aloins (bitter) to inhibit collagenase and metalloproteases activity, which can degrade collagen connective tissue when unchecked. This activity supports the use of aloe in the treatment of chronic ulcers, burns and wounds.

The skin is composed of polypeptide chains that form aggregates of collagen fibrils, which influences the swelling and water uptake by the skin. The diffusion of water through the skin is limited and controlled by the stratum corneum (skin surface) that is in equilibrium with the atmosphere and underlying tissue. Since aloe is approximately 99% water it penetrates through the surface of the skin (stratum corneum) to the vascular dermal area thus hydrating the skin. Concurrently, the gel forms a cover to prevent the escape of moisture in the skin. Aloe gel increases the penetration of the skin by water hydration, occlusiveness (closes passage) and by increasing compound solubility. Subsequently, Davis (1991) has demonstrated that aloe gel enhanced the penetration of hydrocortisone and adds to its biological activity. Concomitantly, aloe gel increased oxygen supply as a result of increased blood flow (Davis 1989) and stimulates fibroblast activity and collagen proliferation (Thompson 1991) essential for skin tissue regeneration.

Gut health
The aloe juice has been used as a gastroinal tonic in a series of trials (Bland 1985) on human patients. It indicated a tonic effect on the intestinal tract with: a reduction in pH a reduction in bowel transit time intestinal bacterial flora benefited with a reduction in yeast bowel putrefaction was reduced and protein digestion and absorption was improved.The cathartic and laxative action of aloe bitter is well established. Its primary effect is caused by its influence on the motility of the colon (inhibition of stationary and stimulation of propulsive contractions). This results in an accelerated intestinal passage and a reduction in liquid absorption increasing water content in the faeces (Blumenthal 1998). In addition to the purgative effect the anthraquinone (bitter) substances stimulate the flow of gastric juices thus improving digestion. Soeda (1964) found that fractions from Cape Aloe gave a prophylactic (prevents infection) effect. While in a subsequent study, Soeda (1966) found the aloe juice to have inhibitory action against some bacteria and fungi.

In conclusion, the Cape Aloe has been demonstrated to be the most compound dense aloe species that provides an extensive range of health properties when used externally (like in skin care) or consumed. The unique biome and wild-harvesting method sustains the Cape Aloe's rich nutritional benefits, locking them in for the consumer to benefit from. The wild-harvesting story is a good one, don't miss out on it, see the link below

> read more about wild-harvesting of the Cape Aloe

I hope that you were able to pick up a new thing or two about aloe. If you want to learn even more about specific Cape Aloe products that are out there or get a free sample, give our product site a visit.