Miracle plant

From the Sumerian to the Egyptian, from the Chinese to the Indian, from the Greek to the Roman, for thousands of years there has not been a nation that has not celebrated the medicinal, curative and therapeutic virtues of Aloe. Fire destroyed the ancient city of Babylon, once located close to modern-day Baghdad, but not the manuscripts, as they were carved in clay tablets. Well baked, they have been preserved intact to this day.
The cuneiform texts on clay tablets have been decrypted and, among the many descriptions of the ways of life, there are detailed recipes with Aloe for numerous disorders and pathologies, both internal and external. The famous Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, dating back to 1550 B.C., describes the use of Aloe for medical and cosmetic purposes. It is known, actually, that Nefertiti and Cleopatra, the Queens of Egypt, used Aloe to maintain their face and body skin fresh and young. The Jews who fled from Egypt brought with them, to Palestine, the secrets of the use of Aloe. Thus, King Solomon became a great admirer of its aromatic and therapeutic properties.
Aloe was also mentioned several times in the Bible. The Templars maintained their good health by drinking the “Elixir of Jerusalem” – a mixture of palm wine, Aloe pulp and hemp – convinced that it guaranteed extraordinary longevity. Allegedly, Alexander the Great conquered the island of Socotra because it abounded in Aloe plants. Kept in jars, they were transported on wagons during his military expeditions and used for healing the soldiers’ wounds. The plant was also widely diffused in the Far East: India, Tibet, Malaysia and China. The Chinese doctors called it “Harmonious Remedy”, the Hindus called it “The Silent Healer”, the Russians “Longevity Elixir” and for the American Seminole Indians it was the “Fountain of Youth”, unsuccessfully sought by the explorer Ponce de Leon. To this day, the Bedouins and the Tuareg call it “desert lily”.
But we must go through the “Greek Herbarium” of Dioscorides (41 – 68 A.D.) to find a true herbal treaty, with information, that had been passed on from generation to generation by word of mouth, recorded by Dioscorides during the time spent in the Roman army. He discovered that Aloe was used to not only heal wounds, burns, hemorrhages, bruises, acne and boils, haemorrhoids and the irritation of the prepuce, but also to soften dry skin, to relieve the itching and irritation of the tonsils, throat and gums, as well as against genital ulcers.
Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.), more or less a contemporary of Dioscorides, elaborated on the statements of the famous Greek physician. Thus, we discover that Aloe was used for a series of disorders and even to reduce perspiration, perhaps as the first deodorant in history. It used to be mixed with various oils and other substances because it was not believed that it could be so powerful on its own. In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, it is mentioned in monastic writings, where the adjective Vera (True) was added, thus the name Aloe Vera, to distinguish it from the numerous types of Aloe. The Jesuits and the Benedictines, accompanying the Spanish and the Portuguese conquerers, brought Aloe, together with other medicinal plants, to the New World, precisely to Barbados. The land and the climate were ideal, to the point that botanist Miller decided to name it Aloe Vera Barbadensis Miller. It remains the mostly used type of Aloe worldwide due its numerous, acknowledged properties.
Aloe was also mentioned by Marco Polo during his long journey to China and by Cristopher Columbus who wrote about its efficiency in the treatment of blisters and bug bites on the Caribbean islands. In the more recent history, Aloe was also used by Mahatma Gandhi during his fasts. And finally, it has become the subject of numerous scientific studies that have confirmed its extraordinary properties.
Thanks to numerous scientific researches over the last century, we know much about the properties of Aloe Vera. It would be impossible to mention all those scientists here. However, it has been proved that Aloe contains the largest number of beneficial substances: as much as 160 of them have been registered. They work in an extraordinary, natural synergy, although some are found only in traces. It is rich in minerals, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and mono-polysaccharides. These substances, analyzed individually and synergistically, prove, according to the scientists, that Aloe is one of the most powerful detoxifying agents, one of the most effective immune system boosters, a strong anti-inflammatory agent, a pain-killer, an antibiotic, an antiseptic, an antibacterial, a purgative, a growth and tissue recovery booster, a germicide, a fungicide, a tranquilizer, a rich source of nutrients and a valid digestion aid. Professor Garattini of the Negri Institute in Milan stated in a television show that Aloe works miracles throughout the digestive tract. It is good to remember that, even as an ornamental house plant, it absorbs carbon dioxide and gives out oxygen.