Aloe Vera has a long history dating back to the ancient Egyptians some 3500 BC it was used by the ancient Chinese and Indian cultures too. Dioscorides and Pling the Elder, Greek and Roman physicians both used Aloe to great effect. Legend has it that Alexander the Great was persuaded by Aristotle to take control of the Island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean to use its rich supply of Aloe plants to heal wounded soldiers and maintain their health and wellbeing whilst returning from a campaign into Persia in 333 BC. It is also noted that Egyptian Queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra rated Aloe Vera as a beauty therapy.There are over 200 species of Aloe however only four or five have any medicinal properties with Aloe Barbadensis Miller being the most potent and is known as True Aloe.Aloe Vera is a succulent which could be mistaken for a cactus however it is actually a member of the Lily family. Once the plant is mature the inner gel of the leaf can be harvested to produce a product that is as close to the natural plant juice as we can get.The best ways to benefit from Aloe is to drink the gel for its anti-inflammatory and nutritional properties as well as its immune balancing effect. By using it with other ingredients topical creams and lotions can also be produced to help improve the quality of and nourish the skin.However before you rush out to your nearest health shop always make sure you read the label because Aloe Vera needs to be the principal ingredient of the product. Whatever you purchase always look for a product with a substantial Aloe content.Aloe Vera gel contains a minimum of 75 known ingredients with possibly even more yet to be discovered. Some of these include Vitamins C, E and Beta-Carotene the precursor of Vitamin A. It also contains Vitamin B12 and is only one of a few plants in the world to contain this.So, what Aloe Vera products does one buy?
First of all always look for the International Aloe Science Council seal of approval, secondly if it is a health ‘juice’ it will probably contain about 15% Aloe Vera whereas a drinking gel will contain around 85%. Any creams and lotions should always contain Aloe Barbadensis Miller.