ALOE VERA is persistent and luscious plant which belongs to the Asphodelaceae family.
As the name is very much attractive it has been derived from the Arabic word “alloeh” which means a bitter and shiny substance. “Aloe” is a fair translation for ahal here which means “to shine” and “vera” in Latin means “true”. It is called alvay in Hebrew. According to Klein, this seems to have been borrowed from Greek or Latin back into Hebrew.
Aloe vera is a semi steamy plant which has about 250 species of Aloe. The plant is quite attractive to the sight as it has a lance-shaped, sharp pointed, and jagged & edged leaves. It is a wild herb which is found along the coast of south India. Aloe consists of more than 200 compounds out of which 75 have the biological activity.
The leaves of Aloe Vera contain a various compounds, chromes, carbohydrates, proteins, glycoproteins, amino acids, organic acids, lipids, sugars, vitamins and minerals. The inner clear gel that contains 99% water and rest is made of glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols and vitamins.
Apart from all its benefits, Aloe Vera is in fact, poisonous. The gel, which is NOT poisonous, inside the leaves, is covered in a thin layer of Aloin and Anthraquinone c-glycoside, which are very toxic. If eaten in large enough quantities, it is known to cause abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and red urine, though not due to blood. A component named Aloe-emodin is the most poisonous component.
As we look at the history of Aloe Vera is has played a noteworthy medicinal role for about more than thousands of years. Aloe Vera is a semi-tropical plant which looks more like a cactus but is a member of lily family which usually grows in the African continent. The first record of human use of Aloe vera is in Sumerian hieroglyphics engraved on clay tablets during the Mesopotamia civilization circa 2200 BC, in which it is described as a laxative.
Most of the people from Egypt, Syria, and also Mediterranean people used the dried latex and the latex gel.
- Egyptians believe the aloe to be the “plant of immortality” and was donated at the funerals of the rulers and the queens were given the baths using the aloes. Egyptian papyrus made a herbal remedy using Aloe vera for worms, relieves headaches, soothes chest pains, burns, ulcers and for skin disease and allergies.
- While the Romans the plant was also used for preserving purpose.
- The Socotra Island was oppressed by the Alexander just to obtain aloe.
- The Greeks used aloe for the infections, sores, wounds and as a cleansing material back then.
- Even Today Egyptians believe that hanging the aloe at the door front of a new home may deliver a long and fruitful life for its inhabitants.
- Indians uses the whole leaves and fresh gel aloe as a purifying substance.
- Chinese, Mexicans, and the West Indians uses the aloe for common household remedy for many purposes.
- Cleopatra, last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt revered the use of aloe as one of her best beauty secrets.
The kind of an Aloe which belongs to the Alliaceae family is a moist herb which is about 80 – 100 cm in height and matures in 4 – 6 years surviving for nearly 50 years under favorable conditions.
The plant is born in southern and eastern Africa along the upper Nile in the Sudan, and it was introduced into northern Africa afterwards and adopted in the Mediterranean region and other countries across the globe.
Basically, the countries in which the Aloe plant is cultivated are Aruba, Bonaire, Haiti, India, and South Africa, the United States of America, and Venezuela but the premium quality of Aloe is found in the deserts of Southern California.
The maximum limit of the temperature at which the aloe plant can survive is
104̊F and can also bear freezing temperatures until and unless the root of the plant is not damaged. Modern clinical medical use of aloe began in the 1930s and in several cultures for millennia such as Greece, Egypt, India, Mexico, Japan, and China uses the aloe plant for the medical purposes.