Aloe vera (“true aloe”) is the best-known species of the aloe genus, which is native to Africa and certain parts of the Middle East. Renowned for its medicinal properties, aloe vera has been utilized for thousands of years to treat numerous medical conditions ranging from skin irritations and herpes to constipation and diabetes. Indeed, this succulent and mucilaginous plant was one of the most frequently prescribed medicines throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
For the most part, aloe vera remains just as popular in the 21st century. Its green, spear-shaped leaves are a rich source of disease-fighting vitamins and minerals, and it is a common ingredient in countless cosmetic products. Due to its incomparable versatility, however, aloe vera has far more uses than most people realize.