Throughout the long history of Aloe Vera there has been numerous mentions of the ‘burn plant’ that has been handed down across the centuries by word of mouth. The burn plant is related to the Aloe Vera family. There are numerous mentions about the utilization of this magical burn plant, with many testimonials mentioning the medicinal and natural values of the plant.
One of the earliest records of usage of the burn plant, or Aloe Vera, is from the Egyptians. There are historic records of ancient Egyptians drawing pictures of Aloe Vera on the walls of temples. Many different cultures such as the Egyptians would have elevated the plant to a magical status due to its healing properties. There has been records of utilization over hundreds of years earning the name ‘Plant of Immortality’.
A common myth about Aloe Vera was that the two main Egyptian Queens called Nefertiti and Clepatra used Aloe as part of their beauty treatments. However there are many sources coming to light that discredit these findings. The Mahometans of Egypt who founded Cairo as their capital city, considered that the burn plant was a spiritual symbol due to its medicinal healing properties. They also believed that if they hung one of its leaves in a doorway this would protect them from slanderous and evil influences.
Another interesting piece of history of Aloe Vera is that the Egyptians used the plant to form papyrus scrolls and used them for the treatment of tuberculosis. In ancient Egypt when a Pharaoh died this was a very big event. To attend the funeral ceremony was by invitation only with a tax included of a pound of Aloes! The Egyptians then used the odorous mixture of Aloe and myrrh for embalming, also placing the plant within the burial clothes. A person’s wealth and esteem for the king were demonstrated by the amount of pounds of Aloe that they bought with them.
History Of Aloe Vera
The people of Mesopotamia was a location between the Tigris and Euphrates Rives in present day Iraq. They used the Aloe Vera plant to ward off evil spirts from their homes. The Knights of Templar drank a concoction of palm wine, Aloe pulp and help during the Crusades. This was named the Elixir of Jerusalem and they believed that it added on years to their life and bought great health.
The island of Socotra is located near to the Horn of Africa. It has become regarded as one of the main areas of Aloe Vera plantations from as early as 500BC! The Aloe Vera plants that were grown here used to be traded with other countries such as India and China. Aristotle convinced Alexander to use the Roman Army to capture the Ise of Socotra for their pure Aloe supplies.
Many Names of Aloe Vera
Hindu people once though that Aloe Vera was grown in the Garden of Eden. They named it the “silent healer” in relation to its medicinal properties. In ancient China doctors used to think that the magic burn plant has therapeutic properties and so called it the ‘harmonic remedy’ using the juice of Aloe to wipe on rashes, burns and sores. The Russian people have called the Aloe Plan the ‘the Elixir of Longevity’ in recognition to its healing properties and thinking that this may in turn lead to a longer life.
Aloe Vera and the Bible
King Solomon was alive 971-931 BC and valued the Aloe plan considerably. In Psalm 45:8a it states; “all of your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.” The Aloe plan was used at the Kings wedding which was prob-ably grown from his own plantation. The Song of Solomon 4:14b quotes; “…myrrh and aloes, along with all the best spices.”
Aloe Vera was considered to contain the most pure and best ingredients and spices. The fleshy leaves contained Aloin which is a substance that when is dissolved in water and added to myrrh can be used in the art of embalming. This was a common usage for Aloe Vera in Biblical times.
Aloe Uses Through The Ages
Around 600 BC the healing plant Aloe Vera had traveled to India carried by Arab traders. The Arabs used to call the Aloe the ‘Desert Lily’ down to its internal and external uses. Through innovation they worked out how to separate the inner gel and the nutritional sap from the outer rind. Using their bare feed they stomped on the sap to separate it from the leaves and put the pulp into goatskin bags. This precious car-go was then put out in the hot sun to set and dry making Aloe powder. This powder could be eaten or used in cooking, but more importantly it made it easier to transport and keep from perishing.
During Roman times Dioscorides learnt a great deal from travelling with the Roman Army. He wrote about the wonder burn plant Aloe Vera in ‘De Materia Medica’ AD 41-68. His writing discusses the use of the burn plant for treatment of boils, soothing dry and itchy skin, tonsillitis and irritation in the gums and throat. Also there is mention of an aid to prevent bleeding wounds, ulcerated genitals and healing the foreskin! An interesting history of aloe vera.
A lot of what was discovered by Dioscorides was confirmed by Pliney the Elder who was a physician and wrote in his Natural History publication 23 – 79 AD. Additional uses that Pliney the Elder found for Aloe Vera included helping to heal leprosy sores and reducing perspiration – the first ever Aloe Vera deodorant!
Going even further back in the history of Aloe Vera to AD 131-201, Galen was a physician to a Roman Emperor. He used the Aloe Plant as a healing agent to treat wounds and burns. Over time Galen authored well over 100 books on herbal medicine and conventional medicine. A lot of this knowledge came from the treatment of wounded Roman gladiators. Well regarded, Galen followed in the original work set out by Hippocrates and
Ancient Chinese Materia Mediacas discussed the use of Aloe Vera for sinusitis and skin conditions in 700 – 800 AD. They referred to the plant as “Lu-hui” meaning a black deposit, because of its bitter taste.
Aloe Vera in Europe
How did this wonder burn plant make its way to the West and Europe? How has the history of aloe vera bought the plan to us? During the 15th century was when there was rapid growth in exploration. The main maritime powers were Spain, Portugal, Holland, France and Britain as they had availability to build ports. The Jesuit priests in Spain bought the Aloe Vera back to the ‘new world’ as it was often referred as. They also passed it on to Central America, West Indies, California, Florida, and Texas. This is where many of the largest Aloe Vera plantations are grown today.
During Christopher Columbus second voyage to America in 1494 a letter was sent to him from his doctor; Dr. Diego Alverez Chanca. In this letter he wrote: “Four vegetables are indispensable for the well-being of man: Wheat, the grape, the olive, and aloe. The first nourishes him, the second raises his spirit, the third brings him harmony, and therefore the fourth cures him.”
In modern day medicine the Aloe Vera wonder plant nearly lost its reputation, this could have been the end of the history of Aloe Vera. It was found that the Aloe lost its potency for healing when it was imported, the pulp of the Aloe was most effective when it was fresh. It was down to the oxidation effect that hindered the healing properties of the wonder plant. In the 1970’s the processing techniques were perfected and the Aloe Vera was successfully perfected to create modern-day Stabilized Aloe Vera Gel.
Now Aloe Vera is part of a multi-billion dollar worldwide business, with Forever Living at the forefront. From the early Egyptians today the history of Aloe Vera has been beneficial to human health and long may it continue!