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10 Facts About The History of Aloe Vera

For thousands of years, aloe vera has been used as a source of health and wellness– and for very good reason. Whether it’s used as a topical gel or being ingested for bodily benefits, aloe has been highly regarded as one of the most powerful plants to naturally help the human body. 

In honor of Lily’s 50 years of aloe excellence, we’re going to be counting down 50 incredible aloe facts for the rest of the year! Today’s 10 facts cover the history of aloe vera, and how it’s made a massive impact on the societies of the past.

1. Aloe: A Holistic Staple Throughout History

Recent historical studies show that all ancient civilizations, with no exception, have been drawn to the many health benefits of the aloe plant. As only natural ingredients were available back then, they used what they could access to help tend to their wounds and ailments.

The aloe vera plant is widely known to be one of the most moisturizing and hydrating plants, making it an excellent choice to help the skin. It also contains many minerals, enzymes, vitamins, and amino acids that help support health from the inside out. Finally, aloe vera naturally encourages good digestive health and a stronger immune system when taken internally.

2. The First Written Record of Aloe Occurred 6,000 Years Ago

Although we will never know the actual date of when the medicinal applications of the aloe vera plant were first discovered, we do know that 6,000-year-old carvings of the plant were found in Egypt. At some point after, the Egyptians used it as a burial gift or offering to the deceased pharaohs. 

3. The Meaning of the Word “Aloe Vera”

The name “Aloe Vera” is derived from the Arabic word “Alloeh”, which translates to “shining bitter substance”, and the latin word “Vera”, which translates to “true”. The literal translation of the word is pretty accurate in the description of the plant’s physical qualities. 

4. Aloe Was Known As The “Plant of Immortality” To Ancient Egyptians

The Egyptians referred to aloe as the “plant of immortality” because it can live and bloom without soil. The Egyptians were also among the first people to realize the aloe vera plant’s multiple health benefits. They used aloe for various activities, from topical application and internal use, to burial offerings to their gods. 

5. Aloe Is Used In The Traditional Indian Practice of Ayurveda

In Sanskrit (the ancient Ayurvedic language), “kumari” is the word used for the aloe vera plant, which translates to “a beautiful young girl”. In Ayurveda, the aloe plant is culturally known to keep a woman youthful. According to Ayurveda, aloe is a perfect herb for a woman to use throughout her life, as it’s praised for its potent ability to support digestion, skincare, and natural beauty. 

6. Native American Tribes Called Aloe The “Wand of Heaven”

As part of their culture, Native Americans recognized the aloe vera plant as the “mystery plant,” “medicine plant,” and “burn plant”. They lovingly referred to it as the “wand of heaven” because they believed the plant’s health and moisturizing properties came directly from heaven. 

7. Ancient Greeks Claimed Aloe Aided Baldness & Insomnia

The ancient Greeks believed the aloe plant was from the gods, and made the claim it could “cure anything from baldness to insomnia.” Although there is no scientific evidence of this today, aloe was widely used as a natural hair loss treatment back then, and many Greeks enjoyed using aloe both internally and externally. 

8. Alexander the Great Used Aloe to Aid His Soldier’s Wounds

As Alexander the Great travelled across the many territories of Asia, it is documented that he used the juice of the aloe vera plant to help aid the wounds of his soldiers. Alexander even went through the trouble of planting aloe vera plants in transportable carts to have fresh aloe available during his battles. 

9. Cleopatra & Nefertiti Used Aloe In Their Daily Regimens

In the time of the pharaohs, the Egyptians idealized aloe vera and referred to it as “the plant of immortality”. As such, Egyptian queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra both used aloe vera daily in their beauty regimens. It is believed they rubbed the aloe vera gelly directly on their skin every day to keep it soft and smooth. Aloe was regarded as the sacred plant “blood” that held the secrets to immortality, beauty, and health. 

10. Aloe Has Been Historically Considered the “Lily of the Desert”

With its ability to live and bloom without soil, the aloe plant’s hardiness makes it a great plant for even the most novice gardener. It’s referred to as the “lily of the desert” because it is a beautiful plant that can thrive in the most desolate conditions.

Ready To Give Aloe A Try?

If you’re interested in discovering just how aloe has made a name for itself throughout the years, Lily of the Desert has got your back. You can find our products in a store near you, or go online to Amazon, Vitacost, and Lucky Vitamin to get it delivered right to your door. 

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