The name Aloe Vera or True Aloe stems from the Arabic
word Alloeh meaning "shining bitter substance".
It is still referred to "bitter aloes" describing
the laxative drug still used in the US.
This drug was made from the sap of the plant found
under the hard green rind. Aloe Vera has been used
by mankind for many thousands of years and has had
many references many cultures from the ancient Egyptians,
Greeks and Romans.
There are also many romantic tales about it, suggesting
that the Egyptians queens Nerfertiti and Cleopatra
used it as part of their beauty regimes.
The true Aloe has now been endowed with such marvellous
properties that over the years around the world, it
has been given many wonderful names such as Burn plant,
Medicine plant and plant of life. Manufacturing companies
to day have sprung up from nowhere to make products
out of it and there have been some remarkable results
in the general health of the people using it today.
Aloe Vera can be drunk as a nutritional health drink
or tonic or it can be applied topically to the skin
and scalp as creams and lotions. Like most natural
remedies, Aloe works best when it used fresh from
the plant but it oxidises rapidly when cut and exposed
to the air. Unfortunately it will only grow in warm,
fertile areas. If one has access to a mature plant,
then the best way is to cut a leaf off it, fillet
out the inner leaf gel and use it directly, but for
most of us it is necessary to buy a preserved product.
The components of Aloe Vera can be divided in
the following main groups:
It is rich in all vitamins, excluding Vitamin
D, especially the antioxidant Vitamin A (beta carotene),
C and E and even contains a trace of B12, one of the
very few plant sources of this vitamin.
Several different types of these biochemical catalysts
when taken orally aid digestion by breaking down sugars
Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Copper, Zinc
all essential for the proper functioning of various
enzyme systems in different metabolic pathways.
These are derived from the mucilage layers of
the plant, which surrounds the inner gel -known as
mucopolysaccharides, which enhance the immune system
and help to detoxify. Aloe Vera contains both mono
and polysaccharides, but the most important are the
long chain sugars involving glucose and mannose.
There are twelve of these Phenolic compounds,
which are found exclusively in the plant sap. In small
quantities, they aid absorption from the gastro-intestinal
tract and have anti-bacterial and pain killing effects.
This in itself is an inert substance but when
included in topical preparations, it endows Aloe Vera
with penetrative effect so the other ingredients are
absorbed into the skin.
These are soapy substances forming part of the
Aloe Vera gel with antiseptic properties to fight
off against bacteria and viruses.
Cholesterol, Camp sterol, b. Sis sterol and Lupeol
are all plant steroids acting as anti-inflammatory
The body needs 22 amino acids, most of it provided
by the gel with anti-bacterial properties.