Ile aux Plantes, in Thil, is the only organic production of aloe arborscens in France. Less known than its big sister aloe vera, this plant contains 20 times more active ingredients.
This morning, it’s warm under this huge greenhouse where thousands and thousands of aloe trees grow. “We must have between 22 and 24 degrees”, confirms Violaine Percie du Sert. It is she who, since 2010, has managed, with her husband, this beautiful plantation, called “L’île aux Plantes”, located at the gates of Thil, north-west of Toulouse.
A cousin of the iconic aloe vera, which is recognizable by its fleshy leaves, aloe arborescens is distinguished by its foot. “We pick the leaves gradually from the bottom, they are much thinner and slower in their development. They need 5 years to reach maturity, ”explains Violaine Percie du Sert.
But on the aloe arborescens, we can eat everything, “the skin of the leaves like the gel they contain because they do not contain too much aloin, which can be irritating in large quantities”.
Used as a food supplement, aloe arborescens is recognized for its many virtues. “It promotes transit, moisturizes and protects the skin and hair, relieves burns, sunburns and insect bites, proves to be an excellent anti-inflammatory and boosts immune defenses”, lists Violaine.
This magical plant therefore – even if Violaine does not like the term “because we know how to explain all these properties” – is ultimately very complete. “It is a beautiful plant that helps humans both inside and outside their body”, summarizes the patron saint of Île aux Plantes.
in 2017, importation from Tenerife was stopped
But without the ingenuity of Violaine and her husband, she would never have had to push Thil. Moreover, until 2017, Violaine had her come from Tenerife, to the Canaries. “But it made me moan to send these leaves by plane every week to transform them here, in our laboratory in Blagnac, and market them in the form of juice, gel, soap, face cream… We wanted all of that. make ecological sense. So we chose to cultivate this plant ourselves ”.
After a long work of enriching the soil and the installation of a drip by the foot, the aloe arborescens are, in Thil, like fish in water. This plant needs mild temperatures, above all it must be “frost-free.” So, in winter when it’s very cold, we turn on the heating, ”Violaine slips.
After ten years spent managing an interim agency, Violaine fell in love with aloe arborescens. “I grew up in a very natural setting in Lot-et-Garonne, near Agen, with a father who was an agricultural engineer and passionate about apitherapy. At one point, I wanted to reconnect with nature, ”concludes Violaine. A choice she has never regretted.