he very irst record o the aloe vera plant inhistory was written by Dioscorides, a amousGreek physician rom the frst century AD. He wrotethat aloe vera had the power o “inducing sleep ando thickening the body…it helps loosen the bellyand cleanses the stomach when drunk with warmmilk or cold water”.By the 2nd century AD, aloe vera had becomeindispensable to Roman physicians – the mostnotable o which was Galen, the personal physiciano the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Galenwas said to have drawn his knowledge rom thewritings o Aristotle and Hippocrates, who got theirknowledge o aloe vera rom Indian and Egyptian“medical writers”.
By Dr Leow Chee Seng, Fellow of British Institute of HomeopathyRecognised for its medicinal values for centuries, aloe vera is still inspiring newdiscoveries into its curative effects.
Most botanists agree – and historical evidencesuggests – that the aloe vera plant originated inthe warm, dry climates o Arica. But, in the East,Chinese physicians were already writing about howaloe vera helps treat sinusitis, skin disorders andinternal problems such as convulsions in childrenand worm ever.In a Smith and Stenhaus (1851) review, it was said thataloin or anthraquinone glycosides was the principalingredient responsible or aloe’s laxative eects andan ever-increasing number o biologically activecompounds have been identifed. To date, research has proven that aloe vera containsa unique spectrum o micronutrients and thenatural chemical constituents o aloe vera can becategorised in the ollowing main areas:Amino acids;
Mono and polysaccharides;
The aloe vera plant is characterised by long, hard,sword-shaped, eshy, green leaves with sharppoints and an array o barbed spikes on each lea edge. Each plant can have between 20 and 30leaves and these leaves grow in a rosette patternstraight out the ground.
SEPT/OCT 2009 • OH!