The History of Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera, often called the Miracle Plant, the Natural Healer, the Burn Plant, goes by many names which has survived the 4000 or so years during which this amazing medicinal herb has benefited mankind.

George Ebers in 1862 first discovered its antiquity in an ancient Egyptian papyrus, dated 3500 BC, which was in fact a collection of herbal remedies. Other researchers have since found it was used by both the ancient Chinese and Indian cultures. Greek and Roman physicians such as Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder used it to great effect and legend suggests that Aristotle persuaded Alexander the Great to capture the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean to get its rich supply of aloe to heal his wounded soldiers. The Egyptian queens Nefertiti & Cleopatra rated it highly as a beauty therapy, for in those days, health and beauty were linked for more than they ever are today.

Although there are over 200 species of aloe, there are probably only three or four with medicinal properties. Of these, Aloe Vera Barbadensis (Miller), which is also known as Aloe Vera (Linne), is the most potent.

Aloe Vera Barbadensis is a succulent, looking rather like a cactus but it is in fact a member of the lily family related to the onions, garlic and asparagus. It reaches maturity in four years when the contents of its leaves, a mixture of inner gel and outer sap can be harvested, preserved and bottled to produce a product that is as near to the natural plant juice as we can get.

To benefit from Aloe Vera, the gel can be taken internally for its nutritional effect or it can be combined with other ingredients to produce topical creams and lotions to nourish and improve the quality of the skin.

Extract from Aloe Vera The Facts by Dr Peter Atherton MB. ChB., D.Obst.R.C.O.G., F.R.C.G.P

David Urch BSc, MA, VetMB, Dip Herb Med, MRCVS

In Depth history of Aloe Vera through the ages, the plant structure, its components and how this can help both people and animals

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