The Aloe vera leaves are succulent, erect and form a dense rosette. Many uses are made from the gel obtained from the plant's leaves
Aloe vera has been the subject of scientific study for the last few years, along with other members of the Aloe genus regarding several claimed therapeutic properties.Kew Gardens, England's royal botanical center of excellence, Aloe vera has been used for centuries and is currently more popular than ever. It is cultivated worldwide, primarily as a crop for "Aloe gel", which comes from the leaf.
Aloe vera is widely used today in:
- food - it is approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) as a natural flavoring
- food supplements
- herbal remedies
Cleopatra and Nefertiti, two queens of Egypt, apparently used Aloe vera to keep their skin soft. It was used to treat soldiers' wounds by Christopher Columbus and Alexander the Great.
Pedanius Dioscorides (circa 40-90 AD) a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist, mentioned Aloe vera and its therapeutic qualities in "De Mataria Medica", a 5-volume encyclopedia about medical substances and herbal medicine - it was widely read for over 1,500 years.
Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23-79), better known as Pliny the Elder, a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, mentioned Aloe vera's therapeutic benefits in "Natural History", an early encyclopedia - one of the major single works to have survived from the Roman Empire.