‘You ask me what were the secret forces, which sustained me during my long fasts. Well, it was my unshakeable faith in God, my simple and frugal lifestyle, and the Aloe whose benefits I discovered upon my arrival in South Africa at the end of the nineteenth century”.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Aloe Vera’s use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. Known as the “plant of immortality,” aloe was presented as a burial gift to deceased pharaohs. Native to Northern Africa, Aloe Vera (syn. A. barbadensis Mill., A. vulgaris Lam.) is a stemless or very short-stemmed succulent plant growing to 80–100 cm tall, spreading by offsets and root sprouts. The leaves are lanceolate, thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with a serrated margin.
Aloe Vera is being used topically to heal wounds and for various skin conditions, and orally as a laxative, since centuries. Today, apart from the people traditional uses, people also take Aloe Vera orally to treat a variety of conditions, including diabetes, asthma, epilepsy, and osteoarthritis. People use aloe topically for osteoarthritis, burns, and sunburns. Aloe Vera has been used to treat various skin conditions such as cuts, burns and eczema.
Aloe Vera gel can be found in hundreds of skin products, including lotions and sunblocks. Cosmetic manufacturers add sap or other derivatives from Aloe Vera to makeup products, tissues, moisturizers, soaps, sunscreens, shampoos and lotions.
Aloe Vera Gel and Juice are different?
People often assumed incorrectly that Aloe Vera Gel and Juice are the same thing, which they are not. Let us understand the Aloe leaf structure first. It is made up of four layers – Rind, Sap, Mucilage and Gel. Rind is the outer protective layer; Sap is a layer of bitter fluid which helps protect the plant from animals; Mucilage and the Gel, which is the inner part of the leaf that is filleted out to make Aloe Vera gel.
Aloe Vera possesses incredible moisturizing properties. Studies show that Aloe Vera improves the skin’s ability to hydrate itself, aids in the removal of dead skin cells and has an effective penetrating ability that helps transport healthy substances through the skin.
Aloe Vera is also known to help slow down the appearance of wrinkles as it can actively repair the damaged skin cells that cause the visible signs of aging. Components of Aloe Vera have been found to reverse degenerative skin changes by stimulating collagen and elastin synthesis.