ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Aloe Vera Plant History

Updated on December 20, 2017

Introduction to Aloe Vera in Ancient Times.

Humans have long known the benefits of the aloe vera plant, and many civilizations have taken advantage of these aloe vera benefits. Over the centuries, aloe vera has become more and more popular, but if we look at ancient records, we can see that it was used by civilizations as early as the Egyptians. Not unlike cats and beetles, the Egyptians even eventually elevated aloe vera to a sacred status, making it one of the most important medicinal plants in their culture.

While this plant might have been foreign to our ancestors in the West, today, aloe vera is one of the most popular and most oft-used plants, both in natural and mainstream medicine. But how did it get to that place in our culture, from a plant that only grew in the hot, dry deserts of Africa, to being a staple in nearly every arid climate, with a variety of uses that span from burn relief to digestive aid? While the history of aloe vera is not exactly filled with intrigue, it is one of the most well-documented plants in the ancient histories of many different civilizations.

Nefertiti Depiction
Nefertiti Depiction

Where Did Aloe Vera Originate?

The first accounts of aloe vera appear in Egypt. Carvings on temples have clear references to aloe vera plants, where it was obviously used for its healing and soothing properties. Because of these properties, aloe vera in Ancient Egypt was revered. For carvings of these plants to appear on the walls of temples means that the plant was frequently used by the government and religious leaders alike. It is even believed that two of Egypt’s most famous queens, Cleopatra and Nefertiti often use aloe vera as beauty aids.

Aloe vera became so widely considered as a healing and protecting plant that many Egyptians began to hang plants over their doorways, to protect themselves from evil. Those who wanted to attend the funeral of a royal family member had to bring a pound of aloe vera plants to the temple in order to be admitted. Aloe was also part of the embalming liquid the priests used to preserve the kings of Egypt.

Aloe also makes several appearances in the bible. Jewish people in ancient times, as well as the Greeks and Romans they lived amongst believed that aloe had life-giving properties, and it was often given as gifts to kings. During this time, it was also widely used as an analgesic and had a range of medicinal purposes. King Solomon was presented with aloe at his wedding and after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, he was placed in the tomb along with aloe vera leaves.

By the 7th century, aloe had spread to Asia, with Chinese historians making not of the plant’s contributions to natural medicine. In the 15th century, it was being grown and used in Europe, whose explorers carried the plant to the New World. While it did not flourish on the east cost of the New World, it did on the west coast and in the dry, arid deserts in the middle region of the continent.

It continued to be used in natural medicine for centuries. It is only recently that aloe vera has begun to get attention from mainstream medicine, now that cold pressing and natural stabilization techniques have made it possible to buy aloe vera gel and other preparations.

Where Was Aloe Vera First Used for Medicinal Purposes?

Where aloe vera was first used for medicinal purposes is up for debate. Many people believe that Egypt must have been the first civilization to make use of aloe vera leaves and juice. There are also records to suggest, however, that the people of Mesopotamia also used aloe vera plants for medicinal purposes, which would have been earlier, or around the same time as the earliest Egyptians were using the plant.

Common Historical Uses for the Aloe Vera Plant.

The most common ancient use for aloe vera was as a beauty aid. The queens of Egypt often used the aloe vera juice on their skin. Because it has a natural anti-inflammatory effect on skin, redness, puffiness, and the appearance of wrinkles would have decreased.

During this time, it was also used to soothe cuts and burns. Ancient Egyptians also treated papyrus strips with aloe vera juice as a treatment for tuberculosis. Native Americans used aloe vera as an emollient and to treat cuts and burns, just like the Egyptians did. Chinese doctors used it to treat rashes and other irritations, both outside and inside the body.

Often used in Greek and Roman culture for embalming the dead, aloe vera was used for everything from soothing boils and ulcers, hydrating dry skin, taking the pain and irritation our of a sore throat, and even to curb bleeding. Aloe vera is still used for many of the same functions today. Products like aloe vera skin care lotions and creams are becoming increasingly more popular. People mostly compliment on the hydration and skin softening properties of Aloe Vera. Howmany of these claims are grounded I leave up to other articles discussing the science and experiences with this legendary plant.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Sam Shepards profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Europe

      Thank you for you interest, yes it has indeed an extraordinary history. I'm still digging so I'll probably extend the article in the near future.

    • Jack Burden profile image

      Jack Burden 

      4 years ago from Columbus, OH

      That's interesting. I've been using Aloe Vera for years and I'm continually surprised at the number of uses for it. While I've used it mostly as a moisturizer, I've seen it in everything from burn treatments to drinks. I didn't realize its use went all the way back to Egypt. Thanks for an interesting article!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)