The facts about aloe vera and its health benefits – From ancient to modern times…
One of the most interesting facts about aloe vera is the many names it has eg;
- Miracle Plant
- Silent Healer
- The Burn Plant
- Medicine Plant
- The Plant of Immortality
- The wand of heaven
- Nature’s best gift
- and many more…
These names; derived from and are symbolic to the civilizations or cultures that used aloe vera as a herbal remedy for its known health benefits.
Aloe vera; originated from around the Arabian Peninsula. The word “Aloe” comes from the Arabic word “alloeh” or Hebrew word “halal”, meaning bitter shiny substance; whereas ” Vera” in Latin, means “true”. With over 200 species of Aloe vera grown around the world; however, there are only two which are commercially grown; Aloe barbadensis miller (True Aloe) plant and aloe aborescens which are most useful because of their medicinal properties. Another fact about aloe is that the plant is grown in warm tropical areas and can’t survive freezing temperatures.
The Aloe vera plant is a succulent plant which looks like a cactus. It is also part of the lily family which includes onion, garlic and asparagus. Due to its health benefits and medicinal properties, history shows us another fact about aloe vera that it’s one of the most mentioned plants that has benefited mankind through the centuries.
Facts about aloe vera in ancient times
History shows that the aloe vera plant and its use goes back as far as ancient Egypt. In fact, the plant was regarded as sacred and said to hold the secrets to beauty, health and immortality. Both Queen Cleopatra and Queen Nefertiti used it as a part of their daily skincare and beauty regime`. Importantly, to add to the facts about aloe vera, it is mentioned in several places in the Bible (The Old and New Testaments).
The Eber’s papyrus (an early Egyptian relic) dating back to around 1,500 B.C to 400 B.C is an eye-opener. It includes twelve different recipes for using aloe vera externally and internally. It also has instructions for treating ailments and diseases.
The papyrus covers 110 pages and discusses many topics such as digestion, dermatology, dentistry and gynaecology and how to treat them. In addition to ancient Egypt, aloe vera has played a major part where herbal healing is concerned in many cultures down through the ages. As a matter of interest Alexander, the Great and Christopher Columbus used it to treat soldiers wounds. Researchers have found it was used by ancient Chinese and Indian cultures. Also, Greek and Roman physicians such as Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder used it in their practices.
Facts about aloe vera in modern times
You can find a lot of facts about aloe vera and its health benefits by doing more research on the topic. In this blog, we’ve only touched on some key points. On that note, how does aloe vera benefit us today and what are the facts? Here in the 21st century, people are more health conscious and want to use natural health products to look better and feel better. Therefore, armed with the facts of ancient times; many research and study have been done to understand the properties and benefits of aloe vera. In the light of that, the result is a plethora of aloe health and beauty products on the market for our use.
So how can aloe vera help us? What’s inside the leaf?
As you can see from the section of an aloe leaf (above), there are three parts:
- Aloe rind – is the green outer skin of the leaf which protects the inner parts. It has no great health benefits.
- Aloe latex – is the bitter, yellowish liquid or sap that has a strong odour that flows between the rind and inner leaf gel. Ideally not for consumption.
- The inner leaf gel contains the active ingredients of the aloe vera plant.
The clear inner gel of a freshly cut aloe leaf contains 75 active known ingredients of which 99% is water and the other 1% is made up of glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols, and vitamins. However, there are many more which are not yet discovered.
When it comes to knowing the facts about aloe vera and its benefits, it’s also important to note that for aloe to be fully potent, the plant needs to grow to maturity for four years. Moreover, with reference to the environment; When it comes to converting CO2 to oxygen, 20 aloe plants are able to convert the same amount of CO2 into oxygen as one tree.
The ingredients of the inner leaf gel
With reference to Dr Peter Atherton, MB ChB, DObst RCOG, FRCGP who researched at Oxford University and have written several books on the facts about aloe vera; the ingredients of the inner leaf gel can be broken down into the following groups:
Vitamins – contains a wide range, more importantly, the antioxidant vitamins C and E and beta-carotene. It also contains vitamin B12.
Minerals – includes, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, chromium, calcium, sodium, patassium and iron.
Amino Acids – our bodies need 20 amino acids; the building block of proteins. however, aloe gel provides 19 of them. More importantly, it provides seven of the eight essential ones that can’t be produced by the body.
Sugars – also contained in the aloe gel is the important long-chain polysaccharides which act on the immune system to help boost its effects.
Enzymes – such as lipases and proteases which break down food and aid digestion. Enzymes help to speed up the chemical process of the body. They are essential for respiration, digesting food, muscle and nerve function.
The three main types of plant sterols act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. These substances also aid in blocking the absorption of cholesterol.
Saponins – soapy substances that exert a powerful anti-microbial effect against bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeasts such as thrush.
Lignin – a great benefit given to aloe to penetrate deep into the skin.
Anthraquinones – Aloin and emodin are the most important ones. Together they are strong painkillers. Also, in their pure form, they are powerful laxatives.
Salicylic Acid – This is an aspirin-like compound which is anti-inflammatory. When used orally and topically it helps to break down dead tissue.
More facts about aloe vera and its health benefits – Top ten reasons to drink it
Dr Peter Atherton MB ChB, DObst RCOG, FRCGP Peter has gained a great understanding of the power of herbal remedies whilst serving in the Far East and India and has published three books on the subject of aloe vera. He studied the medical effects of aloe vera as a Research Fellow at Oxford University. He is also an Advisory Board Member of Forever Living Products (U.K). Here are his Top Ten Reasons Why We Should Drink Aloe.
Top Ten Reasons to Drink Aloe Vera – Click on pdf
Thanks to modern scientific approach and research, we now have more facts about aloe vera than ever before. Moreover, we have gained a better understanding of its healing properties and health benefits. Not only does it have a positive impact on humans and animals, but also on the environment. The sum total fact about aloe vera is; it’s truly a “Miracle Plant”.View Our Aloe Drinks