Native to Africa and the Arabian peninsula, Aloe is a commonly known herb and well reputed for its soothing and cooling properties. Considered by the Romans to be sacred to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, this herb has a long history of beauty applications extending well into present day. Ayurvedic medicine realized aloe’s role in beauty and vitality, so much so that the Sanskrit word for aloe–kumari–translates to “goddess.”
The outer leaf of the plant is laxative, and has a long history of being used for chronic constipation. However, prolonged laxative use should be avoided as a dependency can develop. Ayurvedic medicine uses aloe as a tonic for the female reproductive system, to help ameliorate PMS, tonify the uterus and prevent wrinkles.
The most common and well known use for aloe is in treating burns, and its efficacy is so impressive and relief so fast that no kitchen should be without a potted aloe. Splitting a leaf open and smearing the gel on a burn (including a sunburn) will quickly relieve the burn without forming blisters or scars. Aloe can also help sooth and heal skin rashes, itches, injuries, insect bites or stings, poison oak and ivy and acne when applied topically.