Aloe Vera gel and juice are main components in many of our DERMagic products. Natural medicine, including the use of aloe extracts, has been around much longer than modern medicine. There is a reason it's making a comeback.
Aloe, a succulent and member of the Lily family, is believed to have originated in Africa and the history of its use dates back almost 6000 years. A Sumerian clay tablet from 2200 BC was the first document to include aloe among the plants of great healing power. The name “aloe” is from the Greek alsos and refers to the bitter juice from the leaves of these plants. It is probably derived from the earlier Arabic word alloeh or the Hebrew word allal, both meaning bitter.
The Egyptians once referred to it as the "plant of immortality,," and 6,000 years ago it was used to resolve everything from baldness to cancer. It's written that Cleopatra and Nefertiti used the plant to keep their skin looking young. Aloe vera was used to alleviate burns, ulcers, skin diseases and allergies.
Since it was cultivated on nearly every continent, there are many records of its therapeutic value. Alexander the Great used it regularly to treat his soldiers' wounds, and Pedanius Dioscorides even mentioned its therapeutic qualities in his 5-volume encyclopedia known as De Mataria Medicawhich he wrote circa 40-90 AD! This body of work has been read for centuries, and for over 1,500 years was the primary source of natural healing. Pliny the Elder (AD23-79), a Roman philosopher, also discussed the power of Aloe in his book, Natural History.
In Japan, Aloe was introduced by missionaries after opening of a port to foreign trade. Traditionally, the Japanese called aloe “the plant to make a doctor needless,” and have used fresh leaf juice internally for gastric distress and externally for burns, wounds and abrasions.
Aloe vera is a natural antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral plant that also contains antioxidant properties, which earns it a place in the "super foods" category. Its juice also provides the eight essential amino acids that the body cannot make itself, and it provides many vitamins and minerals plus a wide range of enzymes.
Our use of organic whole-leaf aloe vera is one reason our products work so well. Aloe is effective partly because two of the things it produces are lignins (for deep penetration) and saponins (powerful anti-microbials). It can be applied topically to soothe and cure skin conditions, and you probably know it best from when you used it to soothe a sunburn. Some people take it internally to cure common ailments such as osteoarthritis, colitis, and stomach ulcers. Its leaves have even been used to relieve radiation burns!
Studies have shown that certain chemicals in aloe vera gel are able to increase circulation and also kill bacteria, which may explain why its so effective at healing. All of which brings us to this question: How did those ancient folks figure out that this otherwise unspectacular plant could do such spectacular things for them?
Most likely it was just because the gel from the leaf of the plant just feels good to the touch. It's a bit slimy, but it's cool and moisturizing. In time someone thousands of years ago stumbled across the fact that it also lessened the sting of the wasp, or a cut on the hand.
Aloe has many uses, but we use it for its powerful healing abilities and for the way it soothes the skin, while acting as an anti-inflammatory and killing bacteria, fungi and yeasts. You'll find whole-leaf aloe vera gel or juice in nearly all of DERMagic products and we know that including this important plant in our proprietary formulas is just part of the reasons our products work so well. And not just for pets! Many of our customers are people who use our Cell Restoration Crème, made with organic Aloe Vera gel, for relief of their psoriasis and eczema symptoms. Great for dry skin and sunburn too!
Adelia and the DERMagic Team