There are hundreds of species of Aloes and they are not all as effective medicinally. This Wikipedia page lists 550 species of aloe. Since there are so many varieties how do you know which is the most beneficial Aloe vera? The Aloe vera barbadensis miller variety is commonly mentioned as the most beneficial but is this true? Is there any research to determine the most medicinally beneficial aloe variety?
Aloe vera is well known in the health field for its many benefits. The medical benefits of Aloe vera have for ages been researched and used repeatedly for health conditions. There is a long list of benefits from using Aloe vera internally and topically. It is generally agreed by health experts worldwide that the Aloe vera barbadensis miller variety is the best for both internal and topical use.
How to precisely identify the Aloe Vera Barbadensis Miller variety of aloe plant?
In general, you can identify them by looking at the difference between the pup and the mature stages. They will have numerous white spots when they are pups but these will disappear when the aloe matures. The leaves are not a blue-green like many aloes but they are a truer green or grey-green. Also the leaves always become more solid and thicker as the plant grows. There are small white teeth or spikes on the edges of the leaf. It flowers in the summer and can spike up to 35 inches tall. The flowers have yellow petals without any stripes or dots.
Scientific references list Aloe barbadensis Miller as a synonym of Aloe vera.  They also list common names as True Aloe, Barbados Aloe, First Aid Plant, Chinese Aloe, Burn Aloe and Indian Aloe. 
If you live in a part of the world where it may grow wild please have an expert help you identify it before you use it for any purpose. There are some individual species of aloe that are toxic to humans and animals. Once you have access to the correct plant it is easy to cut a leaf and make Aloe vera gel.
The Aloe Barbadensis Miller thrives in warm, dry climates. It is an exceptionally adaptable plant, though, and can also live in areas that have low temperatures.
Multiple scientific studies confirm that aloe vera contains phytonutrients and other compounds that have extreme health advantages.
Aloe vera barbadensis miller is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic plant. It also contains 20 amino acids (of the 22) and 7 essential amino acids (of the 8 your body needs). It contains 12 anthraquinones that are compounds that act as laxatives. Aloe vera contains emodin and aloin that work as antivirals, antibacterials and analgesics.
Aloe supplies fatty acids in the form of four different types of plant steroids. The enzymes found in Aloe vera include amylase, aliiase, catalase, carboxypeptidase, alkaline phosphatase, peroxidase, cellulose and bradykinase.
Aloe vera helps you with choline, vitamin B12, C, E and folic acid. It supplies magnesium chromium, , calcium, copper zinc, selenium manganese, potassium, and sodium.
From the Aloe vera varieties there are some strong advocates for the use of Aloe Arborescens instead of the barbadensis miller variety. Years ago a Brazilian monk named Father Romano Zago started promoting the health benefits of the Aloe Arborescens variety. He devised a recipe that included 1 percent raw honey and pure grain alcohol along with the aloe.
This Aloe Arborescens variety has anecdotal evidence of helping with over one hundred illnesses including diabetes, cancer, obesity and depression. In the last 20 years there have been hundreds of testimonials from all over the world that claim to have benefitted from Aloe Arborescens.
In spite of the testimonials, we are hesitant to recommend it because there are no published double-blind studies or any serious medical research of any kind that we could find. A colleague actually emailed a company that sells a product that duplicates the Zago recipe and asked for references to support the medical claims. Unfortunately, he never did receive a reply. A person may want to still try the Aloe Arborescens variety but we would rather recommend the well documented best aloe variety, the Aloe vera Barbadensis Miller.
- Taxon: Aloe vera (L.) Burm. f. Germplasm Resources Information Network, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- Random House Australia Botanica’s Pocket Gardening Encyclopedia for Australian Gardeners Random House Publishers, Australia
- Barcroft, A. and Myskja, A. (2003) Aloe Vera: Nature’s Silent Healer. BAAM, USA. ISBN 0-9545071-0-X