Widely used since Rigvedic times for its medicinal, skin-care, beauty, and health properties, Aloe Vera can easily be placed in the category “panaceas”. Indeed, more than two millennia ago, the scientists from Greece regarded aloe as the universal panacea, while the ancient Egyptians gave it the name “the plant of immortality”.
The plant’s name originates from the word “Alloeh”, coming from Arabic, which means “shining bitter substance”. Vera’s meaning from Latin is “true”.
Having pompous green leaves which are joined in a rosette pattern at the stem, Aloe barbadensis Miller (Aloe Vera) belongs to the Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) family. It is a perennial, arborescent, succulent, shrubby plant with pea-green colour. The parched regions of Europe, Asia, America, and Africa are its main growth areas.
In order for the plant to become a food, cosmetic or beauty product, its leaves need to be processed either by pressing, grinding, or crushing. The juice, which comes after processing, is stabilised or filtrated, and then added to or mixed with other agents or solutions for the making of the final product.
In the food industry, the plant is mainly used for the preparation of healthy beverages and tea.
John Goodyew’s translation of Dioscorides’ Medical treatise De Materia Medica is the very first source of Aloe Vera in the English language (unfortunately, I was not able to find the source online). The Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Egyptian, Greek, and Mexican cultures had been using this panacea for millennia. The lesions and wounds of Cristopher Columbus and Alexander the Great’s soldiers were treated with Aloe Vera, while Cleopatra and Nefertiti, the gorgeous Egyptian queens, had incorporated the plant in their skin-care and beauty regimes.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
- Diabetics might derive benefit from the wondrous properties of aloe as it reduces the levels of blood sugar.
- The plant’s gel, when applied to the skin, is reported to act as a shield against gamma and UV radiation.
- Aloe Vera’s C-glucosyl chromone has a powerful anti-inflammatory action.
- The plant is famous for its very strong purgative (laxative) effects – it promotes intestinal peristalsis, stimulates the secretion of the mucus, and increases the content of intestinal water.
- Aloe Vera is also respected for its anti-aging and moisturising effects thanks to the amounts of Mucopolysaccharides. Aloe makes the skin less wrinkled and more elastic because it stimulates fibroblast responsible for producing elastin and collagen fibres.
- Six antiseptic agents – urea nitrogen, sulphur, phenols, lupeol, salicylic acid, and cinnamonic acid – are found in Aloe Vera. All of them have an inhibitory action on viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
- The succulent plant is a great immune booster which inhibits the antigen-antibody-mediated release of leukotriene and histamine from mast cells.
- The wondrous aloe is a great regulator of blood pressure by reversing the stickiness of the blood.
Whether you are sunburnt, in need to cleanse your blood, or quench your thirst by indulging in a delicious beverage, this magical plant has a solution to all.
Are you a fan of Aloe Vera? What other health benefits do you know?