The Science of Aloe: A Historical Perspective.
The identification and use of Aloe has been recorded throughout the ages. Historically, the use of aloe was recorded as far as back as 4000 B. C. among ancient people. Throughout history aloe was regarded as a virtual panacea for many health conditions and has been used extensively since Biblical times by the Egyptians, Romans, Arabs, Greeks, the Chinese and different Mediterranean civilizations.
The name "aloe" is thought to have originated from the Arabic word "alloeh" which translates as "shining bitter substance." In Latin the name "vera" means "true." In Ayurvedic medicine it is sometimes referred to as "kathalai" and was mentioned in ancient Indian texts for its properties as an anti-parasitic, skin healer and as a rejuvenate plant for the liver and reproductive systems.
There's a valid reason why Aloe Vera has been crowned the "Plant of Immortality". This historically medicinal plant contains as much as 75 nutrients, 20 minerals, 12 vitamins, 18 amino acids and over 200 active enzymes. Aloe Vera contains Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, folic acid and Niacin. Minerals found in Aloe include copper, iron, sodium, potassium, zinc, calcium, chromium, magnesium and manganese. This multifaceted plant also contains a range of other beneficial compounds like polysaccharides, mannans and lectins.
This rich tapestry of nutritional potential boasts powerful healing energy for both internal and external application, making it a truly versatile and holistic natural ingredient. But it wasn’t until the 1930’s that scientific trials were performed. The first positive results for Aloe were demonstrated on clinical radiation and thermal burns. During this decade clinical trials showed the benefits of Aloe as a treatment for ulcers, breast cancer lesions, itch, including poison ivy rashes and burns in general. This paved the way for further studies in the era of nuclear weapon development, the 1940s, where treatment with aloe on wounds caused by radiation or radio dermatitis provided surprisingly good results.
By the 1960s, treatment of peptic ulcers, dental conditions and chronic leg ulcers were added to the list of conditions investigated with positive results. Animal studies provided more information and led to regular veterinary use of aloe for burns, inflammation, frost bite and bacterial infections.Interestingly, initial studies showed that fresh aloe was more likely to produce positive results than commercially available products. By the 1980's researchers decided that searching for aloe's active ingredients might lead to more potent products. This led to the identification and isolation of ACEMANNAN which is discussed later.