Aloe vera (Credit: Olwen Grace)
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Help us solve the mystery of the 2,000 year-old medicinal plant

Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are taking the unprecedented step to crowdfund for pioneering research into one of the most commonly used ingredients in our shopping basket; Aloe vera.

This crowdfunding campaign ended on 4 August 2016.

Thank you to all those who contributed.


Natural product superstar

Aloe vera is one of the most commonly used ingredients in our shopping basket today—from cosmetic products to skin care medicines—and is even rumoured to have been a staple in Cleopatra’s beauty regime some 2,000 years ago. But the ingredient in our supermarket baskets is a botanical mystery. How did this species go from a wild plant to a natural product superstar?

Kew research to unlock benefits

We are embarking on a research project to solve this mystery. Using evolutionary biology, we will investigate the relationships between Aloe vera and its wild relatives to uncover the early origins of this superstar species. For the first time in its history we can unlock the potentially wide reaching benefits to humankind from a whole new viewpoint.

How you can help

Want to know what’s really in your shopping basket? Help us to solve this 2,000 year-old mystery.

Find out more about the project and team (opens new window)


Rewards for your support

As a thank you for the support, contributors will receive a reward depending on the amount pledged:

Pledge £10 – a signed thank-you postcard from Dr Olwen Grace.

Pledge £20 – attend an online webinar to answer your questions about knowing and growing aloes, at the end of the project (August 2017, date to be confirmed). Hosted by Dr Olwen Grace, who leads the Aloe vera project, and Paul Rees, curator of the succulent collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Pledge £50 – tickets for two to the celebratory evening reception and lecture on 16 August 2016 by Dr Olwen Grace to mark the beginning of the research project, explaining the fascinating diversity and uses of aloes.

Pledge £100 – a beautiful print of a succulent-themed artwork, to remind you of your contribution.

Pledge £250 – bring a friend for a behind the scenes tour of the succulent plant collection at the world’s most famous botanic garden, with Kew’s succulent plant curator Paul Rees, plus all of the above.

Pledge £500 – lunch for two with Dr Olwen Grace in the Orangery Restaurant at Kew, plus all of the above.