History has shown us that Aloe vera is one of the oldest mentioned plants on record due to its medicinal properties and health benefits. The word “aloe” comes from the Arabic term alloeh, which means “shining bitter substance,” and “vera” comes from the Latin word veritas, meaning “truth.” And it’s true, the juice of the whole processed leaf is invigoratingly bitter. People who take the herb internally say the inner fillet of the leaf’s gel is much milder and quite pleasant.
Aloe vera is native to eastern and southern Africa, but has been spread throughout many of the warmer regions of the world, and is also popularly grown indoors. This plant can survive in areas of low natural rainfall which makes it suitable for rockeries and other low water garden use.
The first known written reports on the nourishing juice of the Aloe vera plant reach as far back as 6,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Aloe was regarded as a sacred plant the “blood” of which held the secrets to beauty, health and immortality. Aloe was depicted on 4,000 year old Sumerian clay tablets as having digestive benefits. Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra was said to have used aloe vera gel as part of her beauty ritual according to ancient writings dating back to 1550 B.C. The Egyptians called Aloe the “Plant of Immortality” because it can live and even bloom without soil.
On the other hand, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that aloe was one of the most frequently prescribed medicines during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and that it remains today one of the most commonly used herbs in the United States.