Aloe vera has a long history of use throughout various cultures worldwide and for multiple purposes.
According to the Ebers papyrus, an important medical document of ancient Egypt dating back to 1550 BC, Egyptian queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra used it as part of their regular beauty regimens.1,2 Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus even used it to treat soldiers’ wounds.
Aloe vera is a cactus‐like, succulent plant with large, thick, fleshy leaves that are lance‐shaped. Also known as Aloe barbadensis Miller, this plant belongs to the Liliaceae family, of which there are over 360 known species.1
While you may be familiar with aloe vera gel, found in the inner portion of the leaves, the plant also contains additional active constituents like yellow latex found in the middle layer of the leaf, anthraquinones, and glycosides.1
The raw pulp (gel) contains about 98.5% water. The remaining 1.5% is packed with various active compounds, including water‐soluble and fat‐soluble vitamins, minerals, enzymes, polysaccharides, phenolic compounds, and organic acids.1
Research supports some of the historical uses of the plant, including its restorative and healing properties for the skin (used often for sunburns and wounds – make sure to keep it in your medicine cabinet!), moisturizing, activities against certain microorganisms, immune system support, ability to support healthy inflammatory balance, and its stool-softening properties.2
It’s easy to understand why aloe vera has been relied upon historically to support a wide range of physiological dysfunctions, imbalances, illnesses, and overall health and wellness and why it’s available in a variety of formats, including gels, juices, ointments, and supplements.