Aloe vera linne or Aloe Barbadensis Miller is a succulent from the
Aloe family (400 different species !) with its origin in the African
continent. Its thick leaves contain the water supply for the plant to
survive long periods of drought. These Aloe
Leaves have a high capacity of retaining the water also in
very warm and dry climates and therefore this plant can survive very harsh
circumstances where most other vegetation disappears.
When a leaf is cut, a orange-yellow sap drips from the open end.
As a drink this bitter sap has a very strong laxative effect. At the
beginning of this century it was the most used raw material for laxatives in
the world and although many synthetic laxatives have largely replaced it on
the world market there is still a demand for this product as a raw material
for laxatives. This raw material is nowadays used as basis for many other
pharmaceutical products also. One of the most popular anti-rheumatic
medicines has this product as its basis. When the green skin of a leaf is
removed a clear mucilaginous substance appears that contains fibers, water
and the ingredients to retain the water in the leaf. These ingredients give
this "gel" its special qualities as they are known now for many
Among the uses for this
are acceleration of woundhealing, use on skinburns,
moisturizing dry skin and it is taken internally for peptic ulcers or
gastritis. During the ages many other claims have been made concerning the
properties of this gel.
The first written reports on Aloe vera are more then 2000 years old.
Alexander the Great had special interest in parts of Africa where many Aloes
grew as he used them for the wounds of his soldiers, Cleopatra used it as a
skin care product and also the bible mentions the use of Aloe. Ever since
Aloe was a first aid plant in many houses in the world.
In the modern times scientific proof of the properties of the Aloe Vera
plant was given. In 1935 an article in an American medical journal explained
the very successful use of Aloe vera as a treatment of skin lesions caused
by X-rays. Since then, many scientific articles were written on the use of
Aloe vera as a treatment for all kinds of skin lesions and skin burns. It is
used as a healthdrink for stomach problems and it proved to be a very
effective skin moisturizer as an ingredient in skin care products.