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Lekker ‘n local – Aloe from Africa

By Minè Lombard

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Lekker ‘n local – Aloe from Africa

By Minè Lombard

, |

3 min read

You’ve almost certainly heard of Aloe vera, which is widely marketed as an ingredient in cosmetics. This plant, which has been in cultivation all over the world for hundreds of years, and is no longer found in the wild, does have some remarkable qualities, but our indigenous, wildly growing Aloe ferox has a greater concentration and range of therapeutic substances. And it is this plant that forms the basis of Kingswood residents Andries and Eslè du Plessis’s Aloe ferox business.

How the seed was planted

It all started when Eslè burned her hand and Andries used a freshly cut aloe leaf to soothe her pain. It worked really well, and the burn healed completely and rapidly, so he started researching. What he discovered was that Aloe ferox is packed with over 130 powerful, natural therapeutic substances, and that it has been used in South Africa as a medicinal herb by indigenous people for hundreds of years.

The product

There are lots of Aloe ferox products on the market but, says Andries, ‘I wanted a product that is clear and scentless highly concentrated, and that is easily absorbed into the skin.’ So he contacted a number of manufacturers and, eventually, identified a factory – Bioearth Laboratories – that could produce exactly what he had in mind. Developing this, he relates, took about two years. By 2017 they had perfected the product – Aloe Ferox Skin repair gel. One of the more creative aspects of the business was designing the branding, but both Andries and Eslè were determined to have a beautiful and recognisable aloe on the packaging. It’s bright and cheerful, the aloe picture is botanically accurate, and the words ‘Aloe from Africa’ make it clear exactly what the product is, and where it comes from. It’s a proudly South African product.

Daily repair gel for the whole family

In South Africa, the legislation around making claims for the therapeutic benefits of any product is quite strict. So we have to say upfront that we do not claim this product will cure any ailment. However, the testimonials from satisfied customers repeatedly state how the skin repair gel has relieved numerous conditions ranging from nappy rash or eczema to burns and scarring. Also, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence for both Aloe ferox and the less effective Aloe vera, and that’s not taking into account the hundreds of years this plant has been used locally to treat a range of conditions. It is – truly – a national treasure, and we believe it deserves its moniker of ‘miracle plant’.

The business

In the past three years the turnover has tripled for the Aloe Ferox skin repair gel, and it has gained international attention, being distributed in New Zealand and the Philippines where the largest pharmaceutical company, Unilab, has only recently launched the gel after three and a half years of comprehensive screening. Andries plans to market and advertise the product in Australia, but his big vision is to make Aloe Ferox skin repair gel a household name nationally and internationally as, he says, ‘it is a suitable product that can be used by the entire family on a daily basis as a moisturiser, and it helps to heal and restore the body.’
The gel is available from Dis-Chem in the Garden Route Mall, and nationally, as well as other select retailers. If you struggle to get hold of it, you can contact Eslè directly (083 454 8192), or through their Facebook page. Obviously, Andries and Eslè have told many of their friends and neighbours about the product, and the feedback they’ve had has been very positive. So, if you try it and you like it, let them know.

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