Aloe Vera History

Aloe Vera History from the Ancient Past to Today

Aloe Vera History, its uses and medicinal healing effects have been documented for the past 6000 years. The first records of the nourishing aloe vera juice date back to Ancient Egypt about 4000 years B. C.   The Egyptians considered the aloe vera plant a true miracle plant.  The leafs gel-like content was referred to as " the blood" enhancing their beauty and increasing their health and well-being.  It is believed that Cleopatra and Nefertiti appreciated the soothing aloe vera gel having used it for their daily skin and beauty care. Not only the living benefited from the nourishing aloe vera gel.  The dead were embalmed with the gel of the aloe vera plant to postpone decomposition.  Due to its ability to block bacteria and fungus, it was thought that the dead would so achieve eternal life.  So, the miracle plant was also referred to as the plant of immortality.  The Papyrus Eber which dates back to 1550 B.C. describes its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

The clay tablets from Nippur of old Mesopotamia  date back to 2200 B. C.  They make reference of aloe vera and its health effects on the intestinal tract.  During this time in history it was thought that disease ocurred when demons entered the body, and only the juices of a divine plant could cure that person.  

In Asian countries aloe vera gel was already an integral part of medical treatments. Legends say that Aristotle convinced Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) to conquer Socotra in an effort to gain control of the aloe vera plantation.  It is said that he had used the aloe vera gel to heal the wounds of his warriors. Some legends even say that Alexander the Great wanted to use Socotra as his base for his planned invasion of India.  Fact is though that besides Aloe Vera, the island of Socotra was also home to Frankincense, myrrh and dragon blood.  The value of these ancient healing herbs made the island of Socotra a very interesting and special place.

The healing benefits were also known to the Romans.  They did learn about aloe vera history and its magical healing capacity through ancient civilizations of the past. During the reign of Emperor Nero (50 AD), Dioscorides, a physician and naturalist, wrote several books on pharmacology.  His recipes for the treatment of many diseases included the potent aloe vera gel.  He described the aloe vera plant as one of his favorite healing plants.  He had recommended the use of aloe vera gel to treat wounds, to cure stomach and intestinal problems, gum disease, joint pain, reduce itching, sunburn, acne, hairloss etc.

Thousands of years of Aloe vera history  have accompanied yet another person on his journeys.  When Christopher Columbus learned about the its healing powers it is said that he brought his own plants on his ships to treat the wounds of his mercenaries.  In the 16th Century Spanish Jesuits, the world’s best educated herbalists and healers during that time took the aloe vera plant to other places in the world to teach people about it.  Even the Mayas knew about this healing plant and referred to aloe vera juice as the fountain of youth.

In China, the aloe vera was already an integral part of medical treatments at the time of Marco Polo's explorations. The salvation book Shih-Shen referred to the saps of this amazing healing plant as the center of harmony.  In Japan it was considered a royal plant.  Aloe Vera juice was consumed to maintain optimum health.  The Samurai massaged the gel into their skin. 

The long aloe vera history and its healing benefits had also impressed Dr. Yernest of Sweden.  He had created the famous Swedish Bitter, known as the elixir of life.  The recipe was a well-kept secret for many years.  Today we know that it contains pure aloe vera gel and different root juices including saffron.  Dr Yernest never died of natural causes but lost his life during an accident at age 104.

In Sanskrit, aloe vera is called ghrita-Kumari.   Kumari in Sanskrit means girl. It was believed that this plant gives women youthful energy  and providing them with regenerating effects. In Ayurvedic Medicine the juices of the Aloe Vera plant are used for a variety of complaints such as menstrual pain and to stabilize circulation.  It is also used to rejuvenate the internal body.  It is considered one of the few plants that can balance Pitta, Kapha and Vata.

In the early middle ages, around 1100 A.D., the Benedictine Nun Hildegard von Bingen refers to Aloe as a remedy for jaundice, gastrointestinal disorders and migraine, against tooth decay and festering sores. Unfortunately, it seems that aloe vera was on the verge of being forgotten.  Very little reference can be found during this time in history, during a time when the Black Death took the life of so many people.

During the 16th Century,  Indian tribes were known to use Aloe Vera.  They considered it as one of the 16 sacred plants which they worshiped.    They rubbed Aloe Vera Juice all over their body to be protected from insects.  Later on, the Indians applied pure aloe vera gel onto materials to protects them from damage through insects. 

Father Kneipp was a great admirer of this ancient healing plant and had prescribed it to many of his patients.  He was convinced of the purifying and detoxifying effect pure aloe vera juice has on the digestive system.   He had also experienced great success in the treatments of inflammatory or degenerative eye conditions. 

Over time, the aloe vera plant, like almost all other herbs too, was slowly forgotten.  Mass production of synthetic drugs took over.  But with people’s rediscovered awareness that nature actually provides us with a variety of medicinal plants to balance our health, the aloe vera plant and its healing juices have been rediscovered.  

Thanks to over 6000 years of well-documented Aloe Vera History, we still have a healing plant that could be the answer to so many ailments.

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