The aloe vera plant's nourishing juice has been documented as far back as 6,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Aloe was considered a sacred plant that held the key to beauty, health, and immortality.
Cleopatra and Nofretete valued the nourishing juice and incorporated it into their daily skin and beauty routines, believing it to be a pursuit of physical beauty. Aloe vera was also used to embalm the dead due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, with the common belief that it could achieve eternal life on both physical and spiritual levels by halting the physical decomposition process.
Known as the "plant of eternity," aloe's anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects were documented in the "papyrus Eber" of 1,550 BC.
Aloe vera was used in Mesopotamia for its medicinal properties. It was primarily used as a natural laxative to treat constipation and other gastrointestinal issues. The people of that time believed that illnesses were caused by demons, and aloe was considered a divine plant with the power to exorcise those demons.
In addition to its use as a laxative, aloe was also used to treat wounds, burns, and skin infections. Its soothing and healing properties made it a popular remedy for various skin ailments.
It is believed that Alexander the Great used aloe vera to treat his soldiers' wounds during his conquests. According to historical accounts, Alexander carried aloe vera with him on his military campaigns and used it to treat the wounds of his soldiers.
Aloe vera's healing properties made it a popular remedy for various ailments, including wounds, burns, and skin infections. It was also believed to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Alexander's use of aloe vera is just one example of how the plant has been used throughout history for its medicinal properties. Today, aloe vera is still used for its healing and soothing properties and can be found in a variety of products, including skincare, haircare, and dietary supplements.
Dioscorides, a Greek physician and botanist who lived in the first century AD, was known to use aloe vera for medicinal purposes. He wrote extensively about the plant in his book "De Materia Medica," which was a comprehensive guide to medicinal plants and their uses.
According to Dioscorides, aloe vera was primarily used as a laxative to treat constipation and other gastrointestinal issues. He recommended taking aloe vera orally in small doses to alleviate constipation and larger doses for more severe cases.
Dioscorides also recommended using aloe vera topically to treat wounds, burns, and other skin conditions. He noted that the plant's gel-like substance had a cooling and soothing effect on the skin and could help promote healing.
Overall, Dioscorides recognized the many medicinal properties of aloe vera and recommended it as a treatment for various ailments. His writings on aloe vera helped to establish the plant as an important medicinal herb in ancient Greece and beyond.
Aloe vera has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries for its healing properties. In TCM, aloe vera is referred to as "lu hui" and is considered to have cooling and purging effects on the body.
Aloe vera is believed to have a wide range of medicinal uses in TCM. It is commonly used to treat constipation, hemorrhoids, and other gastrointestinal issues. The plant is also believed to have detoxifying effects on the liver and to help clear heat from the body, making it useful for treating conditions such as fever, inflammation, and skin irritations.
Aloe vera is often used in combination with other herbs in TCM formulas to enhance its therapeutic effects. For example, it may be combined with other cooling herbs to treat conditions such as hot flashes or with herbs that promote blood circulation to treat injuries or menstrual irregularities.
In addition to its internal uses, aloe vera is also applied topically in TCM to treat various skin conditions, such as burns, cuts, and wounds. The plant's gel-like substance is believed to have a cooling and soothing effect on the skin and to promote healing.
Aloe vera played a role in the discovery of new worlds; Christopher Columbus was reputed to have grown the plant in pots aboard his ships to treat the injuries of his soldiers. In the 16th century, Spanish Jesuit monks collected wild aloe vera and introduced it to regions where it had not been previously cultivated, earning a reputation as knowledgeable botanists and healers.
The Maya Indians referred to the plant's beneficial juice as the "Fountain of Youth," highlighting its many uses and health benefits. Today, aloe vera continues to be highly regarded for its healing properties and is used in a variety of medical and cosmetic applications.
Also famous is the elixir of the Swedish doctor Dr Yernest who died in a horse riding accident at the ripe age of 104 years old. At the point of this accident, the recipe for the elixir had been a well kept family secret for some years prior.
In the meantime, however, this secret has been disclosed to the whole world. The elixir which is known today as Swedish Bitters is composed of practically the same ingredients: An ounce of aloe, a gross each of zedoary root, gentian root and the best of saffron, a gross of fine rhubarb root, a gross of larch fungus, a gross of theriac venetaian all mixed with a pint of good quality brandy, let brew for ten days and then filter.
Back then the good Swedish doctor assured us: “take 7 to 8 drops of this remedy every morning diluted in wine, tea or bouillon and this will guarantee longevity without the need of bloodletting or a doctor. The remarkable thing is that this remedy is good for everything.”
In Sanskrit, aloe is known as Ghrita-Kumari. Kumar means girl and it was believed that this plant supplied the energy of youth to women and had a rejuvenating effect on the female nature.
In the Indian ayurvedic medicine, aloe is applied in numerous applications such as rejuvenating remedies, for menorrhoea problems and to stabilise the cardiovascular system. Aloe is regarded as the plant of balance between pitta, kapha and vata – the aloe is one of very few plants that hold these qualities!
The Ayurvedic texts describe aloe vera as a cooling herb with a bitter taste and a pungent smell.
Aloe vera is often used in Ayurveda to treat skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. The plant is also believed to have detoxifying properties and is used to support the liver and improve digestion. Additionally, aloe vera is used to treat respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis, as well as to alleviate menstrual cramps and regulate menstrual cycles.
Hildegard of Bingen, a medieval German abbess and herbalist, wrote extensively about the medicinal properties of aloe vera in her writings. She considered aloe vera to be a "miracle herb" and included it in many of her remedies for a wide range of conditions.
Hildegard believed that aloe vera was particularly beneficial for treating skin conditions, such as burns, wounds, and ulcers. She also used aloe vera to alleviate digestive issues, such as constipation and stomach pain, and to treat respiratory problems, such as asthma and coughs.
According to Rudolf Steiner, the aloe represents the moon in conflict with the sun – relating to the high liquid content of the plant. A main characteristic is the tension between the ethereal and the astral. A special facet of the aloe plant is its ability to organise the water, to maintain life and to reproduce (numerous offshoots!) in dire conditions: heat, wind, dryness.
Due to its robust outer layer and its myriad webbed inner vein system the aloe manages to maintain its moistness by preventing evaporation; it is a truly remarkable survivor of nature.
Priest Kneipp was a great admirer of the aloe vera, in both plant and powder form. Kneipp was overwhelmingly convinced of the purifying and detoxifying effect on the digestive system.
The intestine and the intestine-associated immune system played a major role in the treatments of Kneipp. It is also reported that Kneipp had great healing success when applying the aloe to both infective and degenerative ailments of the eye.
During the 16th century, the Indian tribes also became familiar with the aloe healing plant. Aloe was one of the 16 holy plants which were worshiped with a god like status.
The diluted aloe juice that they applied to their skin worked as an insect repellent protecting them on their exhausting marches through the infested swamp areas. The Indians also used the aloe insect repellent on wood and other vulnerable materials that were likely to be damaged by insects; thistreatment preserved the materials with great effect.
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