Friday, April 20, 2012

The Magic of Aloe Vera - Past and Present

The mystery of Cleopatra's beauty may, indeed, have been a secret. It is said that she secretly used Aloe Vera Gel as an additive in her beauty baths, and in making dyes for her hair and lips. Secret or not, Cleopatra's use of the healing plant is one of the first records of Aloe Vera Gel incorporation into cosmetics. And what that means is that the magic of natural Aloe Vera was known at least as early as 69 B.C.! In fact, papyrus scrolls written 3500 years ago describe the Aloe and its medicinal virtues. At the height of the Egyptian Empire, subjects could attend the elaborate funeral of a Pharaoh by invitation only. An individual's wealth - and esteem in which he help his Pharaoh was measured by the amount of Aloe he brought as a gift to the funeral. Aloe Gel was used in embalming procedures.
Historians have recorded that it was Aristotle who persuaded Alexander the Great to conquer the Island of Socotra (East Africa), and that he did so in order to obtain sufficient quantities of Aloe to heal soldiers' wounds. Marco Polo reported that he found the Chinese were using Aloe to treat stomach ailments, as well as skin rashes and other skin disorders. In the book, Adventure of Marco Polo, it is noted that the annual tribute was paid to the Grand Kahn in Aloes.
One of three medical men voyaging with Christopher Columbus on his second trip to America mentions Aloes as growing in Hispaniola in the ship's log. Dr. Diego Alvarez Chance refers to the notation, "A species of Aloes we doctors use." History also records that Aloe Vera was used as a medicine as well as a cosmetic by Egyptians, Romans, Algerians, Tunisians, Moroccans, Greeks, Arabs, Indians and Chinese.
Aloe appears to have originated in South Africa, and then spread along the Trade Routes into Egypt, across the Mediterranean and Red Sea, then into Spain, East India, China, the West Indies, South America and finally to the warm areas of the Western Hemisphere.
Spanish explorers to the New World brought Aloe Vera to the Canary Islands, Jamaica, Aruba, Haiti, Antigua, Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and other tropical regions. In 1956, Aloe was introduced into the Island of Barbados. Spanish missionaries to the New World always planted Aloe around their settlements, and carried it with them as comfort for the ill.
Seminole Indians used the healing gel as a replacement for sutures in their surgery. By applying raw Aloe gel to incisions, rapid healing would be promoted with the process said to leave little or no scar tissue. In Java, Aloe Gel was used to prevent formation of scars resulting from skin irritations or wounds. It also was massaged into the scalp and hair as a conditioner and to stimulate growth. More recently, Peruvian women have used it to make an excellent hair dye.
South American farmers take their Aloe plant with them as they move. Cubans have manufactured a popular cold remedy from a combination of Aloe mixed with sugar and rum. Mohammadens place such a value on the plant that the believer who travels to Mecca hangs an Aloe leaf above his door as proof that he made the pilgrimage. Other religious references note the growth pattern of the Aloe - a rosette of three leaves emerging from the center of the plant - is a sign in nature glorifying the Holy Trinity. In the New Testament (John, 19:39), there is reference to Nicidemus' use of a mixture of Myrrh and Aloe to embalm the body of Jesus; the Aloe mentioned is believed to be Aloe Vera. Other biblical references to Aloe are contained in Numbers, 24:6; Proverbs, 7:17; Song of Solomon, 4:14 and Psalm 45:8.
As civilizations moved north from the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, the use of Aloe diminished somewhat. Aloe does not thrive in the temperate zones, although it can be cultivated as a houseplant. In fact, the best place for it may well be in the kitchen. Aloes have tremendous usefulness in healing and soothing surface burns and scalds. A portion of the leaf can be broken and the gel immediately applied to a cut, or burn tending to relieve pain and prevent blistering. Some people believe an Aloe Vera Plant to be an appropriate gift for newlyweds.
My name is Robin Cormier and I am a Writer for: Through my husband's internet marketing company clients, I have found many tips and ideas for self and home improvement. I want to share what I've found out from
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