Aloe Schweinfurthii Baker

Botanical Name Aloe Schweinfurthii Baker
Order: Liliales
Family: Aloaceae
Genus: Aloe
Species: A. Schweinfurthii
Common Names: West African giant aloe, Elephant’s palm fond

Plant Synonyms


Aloe barteri Bak, Aloe barteri Var. lutea Chev, Aloe trivialis Chev

Plant Local Names

Ghana: Akan- Sereberebe, Brong-nsesareso abrode
Nigeria: Fula filfulde-bali, Yoruba –Etieerin anago, Hausa-Hantsar
Senegal: Bmbara-layi
Togo: Ewe-Adi

Plant Habitat


A perennial herb with a rosette of fleshy leaves; thrives in grassy places or moist savannah and distributed from Senegal to Nigeria and extending across central Africa to Zambia and Malawi. It is a suckering plant of rocky hillside in Ghana, Niger Nigeria to western Cameroons and to Sudan and the Congo basin. The plant is cultivated especially for its medicinal properties and ethno medical uses (Odeleye, 2004; Burkill, 1995).

Plant Material of Interest


Whole leaf, yellow juice or the transparent colourless gel.

Plant Description


It is a succulent and perennial herb, acquiescent or with a short procumbent stem, leaf deflexed or only apices are recurved, greyish- green leaf with both surfaces spotted with whitish marks. Lanceolates, long and promoted with acute apex, about 60-80 cm longs 6-8 cm broad at the base, whitish teeth about 1 cm apart, turning red in maturity; stem 20-40 cm long; bracts are small, 4-7mm and lanceolate; panicles with cylindrical recemes and, sparsely branched inflorescence; 8-10 branches of panicles and peduncle. Simple but few branched racemes, filaments yellow, anthers orange; buds green and erect, stamens are pink (Odeleye, 2004); Burkill, 1995).

Plant Used Parts


Plant Uses


The plant is cultivated especially for the treatment of conditions such as intestinal and urinogenital disorders. it is applied, externally on sores, wounds and burns. the sap is added to drinking water for poultry and is said to protect them against avian cholera. the edible flowers are sometimes used as a culinary in soups.

Plant Therapeutic Action


Lexativa/purgative, antimicrobial and wound- healing

Plant Precaution for Use


Not to be taken on empty stomach

Plant Adverse Effect



Plant Contraindication


West Africa giant aloe should not be used in patients with intestinal obstruction or stenosis, atony, severe dehydration with electrolyte depletion or chronic constipation, inflammatory intestinal diseases, ulcerative colitis, Irritable bowel syndrome, children under 10 years of age. Not to be used in pregnancy lactation.

Plant Dosage Forms


Decoction: 30g of dried leaves in 900 ml of water, boil until reduced to 600 ml, 1 teaspoon three times daily.

Plant Dosage



Plant Storage


In a cool, dry place, protected from moisture and light.

Plant Chromatographic Fingerprint


Analytical TLC on solica gel G60 F254, 0.25mm layer in petroleum ether cy/chloroform [2:8], detection in daylight, after spraying with antisaldehyde (0.5ml) mixed with 10 ml glacial acetic acid, 85 ml methanol and 5ml concentrated sulphuric acid and heated to 100-110? For 5-10 min. presence of four characteristics spots with R,s values of 0.77 (brown), 0.68 (pink) 0.45 and 0.25 (pink).

Plant Constituents


There are two distinct parts of Aloe Schweinfurthii containing completely different chemical constituents, which have not been studied. the yellow eudate principally consists of phenolic compounds, which include the purgative anthracene derivatives e.g. aloin while the chemical composition of the inner colourless parenchyma constituents have not been investigated.

Plant Pictures

Aloe schweinfurthi
Aloe schweinfurthi in a verse

Plant References


Burkill, H.M. (1995). The Useful Plants of West Africa Tropical Africa Vol. 3 family J-L Kwe: Royal Botanic Garden. Pp. 492-493.
Hutchinson, J., Dalziel, J.M. (1958). Flora of West Tropical Africa 2nd Edition, Revised by Kaay R. W. J London: Crown Agents for Overseas Government and administration. P. 476.
Odeleye, O.M. (2004). Comparative phamarcognostical studies on Aloe schwengurthii Baker and Aleo vera (Linn) Burm. F.’’ (pharmacognosy) Thesis, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.
WHO Monographs on selected Plants (1990). Vol. 1 Geneva: World Health Organisation, p 33-49.