Aloe is native to Africa and the ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality.” Legend has it that the famous beauties Nefertiti and Cleopatra both used aloe on their skin.
The succulent plant grows in dryland and even desert areas where there is little water, and stores its nourishment in the clear, gelatinous sap inside its leaves. It has colorful flowers, which attract and nourish birds and bees. Aloe leaves are easy to harvest and easily found growing around gardens and cultivated areas, especially in dryer regions.
Aloe is used by harvesting the gel within the succulent’s leaves. Aloe vera gel is used directly in healing, both internally and externally. The yellow aloe latex that is near the leaves is not to be consumed.
Applied directly to the skin, aloe vera gel is helpful for healing wounds, sunburns, bedsores and psoriasis. It can also be used as an antibacterial toothpaste, although it’s very bitter!
Taken internally, aloe vera gel has been used to help the body’s system of elimination, especially constipation, in some systems of African herbal medicine. But please note that aloe vera is not a food! It needs to be prepared properly if it’s going to be taken in its fresh, raw and natural state. Please be careful.
If you’re thinking of using aloe, we recommend reading more about its medicinal properties and the studies done about aloe’s effectiveness here.