Forever used for therapeutic purposes in every era, in every continent, in every culture, today Aloe is recommended for its purifying, hydrating, regenerating, anti-inflammatory and immunostimulant properties.
The distinctive feature of Aloe or Lily of the Desert, a wild-growing plant native to South Africa, South America, and Mediterranean regions, is its extraordinary capacity to retain water, even in hot and arid climates, allowing it to survive in extremely difficult conditions. Of the 350 Aloe varieties found on earth, the one of most interest for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes is Aloe barbadensis Miller or vera L. The raw material used is the juice concentrate, obtained by incising the leaves.
A history as a leader
Ancient documents testify how the anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, analgesic, purifying and immunostimulant properties were already known and exploited by Assyrians, Egyptians, Jews, Greeks, Romans, Indians, Chinese, Maya. Cleopatra used an Aloe ointment for its moisturising, emollient, protective properties, capable of maintaining or restoring skin elasticity, giving her a youthful appearance. The revitalising effect is still valued to this day, to the point where in aesthetic medicine, Aloe is defined as the ‘gift of Venus’. In 1994, Wendell Winters of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio analysed the composition of Aloe, identifying at least 160 active ingredients, specifying the main properties of Aloe, which she defined as ‘a pharmacy in a plant’.
The beneficial properties of Aloe
The last decade has seen a sharp rise in the number of scientific publications focused on Aloe and its current therapeutic value, with a particular emphasis on its antioxidant, immunostimulant, antiviral, and anti-tumour activity, integrating and completing the conventional approach to various conditions and most relevant pathological forms in the world today. To date, over 160 active ingredients are known. The main constituent of Aloe is Acemannan, a mucopolysaccharide that strengthens the immune system.
Internal and external use
In Phytotherapy, Aloe is orally administered for periodic detox treatments, to reduce cholesterol, cellulite, digestive problems, protect against oxidative stress, prevent and cure recurring or chronic bacterial, viral, and fungal infections (Herpes labialis, Herpes zoster), for tumour prevention (completion of conventional therapy), in cases of long-term drug use, during chemotherapy, and for chronic diseases.
No less important is the use of Aloe-based preparations for topical applications, for fragile, sensitive skin prone to dehydration, dryness, to prevent skin ageing, in case of redness and burns, during and after radiotherapy.