Plants – Aloe Vera – Aloe Barbadensis

The Aloe Vera plant is not just a plant that happens to grow in Aruba.  This succulent is part of the history of Aruba’s economic survival long before tourism or the refinery.   Introduced to Aruba in the 1840’s as a profitable agriculture plant by the Dutch West India Company (WIC), Aruba became one of the largest exporters in the world.  The aloe vera came to Aruba from Africa although I have found in my research that a species of aloe from Barbados is what was ultimately considered the best aloe barbadensis.  This plant was primarily harvested for the yellow sap (azeta in Papaimento) as a laxative.  However since ancient Egyptian times, the gel of the plant was also used for many medicinal purposes.  Arubans were very familiar with all of the many medicinal uses and always have it in their yard for any need.  Most Aruban houses even have an aloe plant next to their gate entrance for good luck.