Aloe vera history – From Egyptian times
Aloe vera history and its use can be traced back to Egyptian times. It is said that Queen Cleopatra used aloe vera as part of her beauty regime. Description and instructions for twelve different recipes for the internal and external use of Aloe vera can be found in an early Egyptian relic, The Eber papyrus, dating back to around 1,500 B.C to 400 B.C. The properties of aloe vera were well accepted from China to India. Today aloe vera is cultivated throughout the world.
*Before Egyptian times, aloe vera history can also be traced back to biblical times*
Aloe vera history – Egyptian Papyrus.
Aloe vera history reveals that the Egyptian medical papyri are ancient Egyptian texts written on papyrus which permit a glimpse at medical procedures and practices in ancient Egypt. The papyri give details on disease, diagnosis, and remedies of disease, which include herbal remedies, surgery, and magical spells. It is thought there were more medical papyri, but many have been lost due to grave robbing.
The Ebers Papyrus was also purchased by Edwin Smith in 1862. It takes its name from Georg Ebers who purchased the papyrus in 1872.
The papyrus dates to around 1550 BC and covers 110 pages, making it the lengthiest of the medical papyri in aloe vera history. The papyrus covers many different topics including; dermatology, digestive diseases, traumatic diseases, dentistry and gynaecological conditions.
Aloe vera history – Greeks & Romans
The Ancient Greeks and Romans used Aloe vera to treat wounds. In the Middle Ages, the yellowish liquid found inside the leaves was favoured as a purgative. Unprocessed aloe that contains aloin is generally used as a laxative, whereas processed juice does not usually contain significant aloin.
Some species, particularly Aloe vera, are used in alternative medicine and first aid. Both the translucent inner pulp and the resinous yellow aloin from wounding the aloe plant are used externally to relieve skin discomforts. As a herbal medicine, Aloe vera juice is commonly used internally to relieve digestive discomfort.
Aloe Vera history – The miracle plant.
Aloe Vera looks like a cactus but it isn’t – the plant is a member of the lily family which includes garlic and onion. Inside the leaf is a jelly-like substance. Early users of Aloe Vera discovered that when the jelly was applied to a wound, it would heal faster, a remarkable feat in a time long before anti-biotic ointments when the infection of a minor wound was often fatal.
Aloe vera history – The semi-tropical plant
The semi-tropical plant aloe vera has been mentioned throughout recorded history and given a high ranking as an all-purpose herbal plant. Aloe’s thick, tapered, spiny leaves grow from a short stalk near ground level. It is not a cactus, but a member of the tree lily family, know as Aloe barbadensis. Aloe is related to other members of the Lily family such as the onion, garlic and turnip families. Aloe’s relationship to the lily family is evident from the tubular yellow flowers produced annually in the spring that resemble those of the Easter lily. There are over 250 species of aloe grown around the world. However, only two species are grown today commercially, with Aloe barbadensis Miller and Aloe aborescens being the most popular. The Aloe plant is grown in warm tropical areas and cannot survive freezing temperatures.
Aloe vera history -Terms
Terms including; the potted physician and nature’s medicine chest, attempted to describe the significant historical uses of Aloe Vera.
Aloe vera history shows that the properties of Aloe Vera, due to its long history of use, were mostly folkloric. Early attempts to scientifically validate its uses produced mixed results; different assessments of the anecdotal evidence and a wide chasm between the proponents of Aloe Vera and the detractors. The highly charged debate, between the two camps, contributed to public confusion, diminishing interest in the supplemental value of Aloe Vera products. Thankfully, improved, more modern scientific methods are beginning to restore the reputation of Aloe Vera.