A member of the Asphodelaceae plant family, aloe vera has numerous beneficial properties. Here, we take a closer look at where the history of aloe vera, as well as aloe vera benefits, both when applied topically and ingested.
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a short dark green plant whose leaves have lightly serrated ridges. The aloe vera plant is native to eastern Africa (notably Yemen, Sudan and Somalia1), and is now cultivated around the world, with its extract widely used in the cosmetics and alternative medicine industries. The earliest recorded mention of aloe vera goes as far back as ancient Egypt, 6000 years ago2.
Is Aloe Vera Good For Skin Blemishes?
The gel from the aloe vera leaf is reputed for its soothing properties3, although research has yet to pinpoint the exact source of these. Among its cosmetic usages, aloe vera is regularly used in the treatment of skin conditions such as using aloe vera for skin blemishes. One study4, for example, found that the application of aloe vera extract to skin helped the healing of blemishes, with improvements visible after just two days.
1 Treutlein, J., Smith, G., Van Wyk, B.E. and Wink, M.,"Phylogenetic Relationships in Asphodelaceae (Subfamily Alooideae) Inferred from Chloroplast DNA Sequences (rbcL, matK) and from Genomic Fingerprinting (ISSR)", in Taxon 52.2 (2003), pp. 193-207 [Accessible at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3647389]
2 "Aloe Vera", National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health [Accessible at: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/aloevera]
3 Eshun, K. and Qian, H., "Aloe Vera: A Valuable Ingredient for the Food, Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Industries - A Review" in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 44.2 (2004) pp. 91-96 [Accessible at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408690490424694]
4 Vogler, B. and Ernst, E., "Aloe vera: a systematic review of its clinical effectiveness" in British Journal of General Practice, October 1999. pp. 823-888 [Accessible at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1313538/pdf/10885091.pdf]