Aloe vera is a spiky succulent plant, famous for its soothing, moisturising and healing properties. It is a favourite with gardeners and a sought-after ingredient for cosmetics, ointments, tonics and herbal preparations.
The hundreds of aloe vera varieties originated in the world’s dry and arid climates, including Africa, Asia, and parts of Europe and America. Today, however, this adaptable plant can be seen thriving almost anywhere.
Aloe vera in history
One of the most amazing things about this useful plant is that its medicinal properties have been known about for millennium by widely diverse and geographically dispersed cultures.
The thick gel-like sap found inside its leaves has been commonly used as an ointment for burns, cuts and rashes, as well as an ingredient in various beauty treatments.
- The earliest record of aloe vera is on a Sumerian tablet from 2100 BC. It is also present in numerous medical texts from ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.
- Cleopatra is thought to have used aloe vera as a beauty treatment to prevent wrinkles and to moisturise her body.
- Legend has it that Alexander the Great conquered the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean so he’d have a plentiful supply of the plant to treat the battle wounds of his soldiers.
Today, aloe vera is more popular than ever, following its ‘rediscovery’ by herbalists and other natural healers.
Grow your own aloe vera
Aloe vera is one of the most versatile and hardy plants, growing happily inside or outside, provided there’s plenty of light and protection from frost. It can be grown from seed or propagated by removing an offset from the base of a mature plant.
Kleenex Special Care tissues combine three plies of Kleenex softness with gentle Aloe Vera to help soothe a sore nose when you have a cold or flu.