From, written by Diana Deone,

aloe veraThe History of Aloe Vera 

One of the earliest books on the subject of natural medicine (the only kind known at the time) was the Rig Vede, compiled in India sometime between B.C.E. 4500 and B.C.E. 1600. While it lists hundreds of plants deemed useful in medicine and is the logical starting point for any discussion of alternative medicine, it does not specifically mention Aloe Vera. Many believe that a Sumerian clay tablet, found in the city of Nippur, written around B.C.E. 2200, was the first document to include Aloe Vera among plants of great healing power. The first detailed discussion of Aloe's medicinal value is probably that which is found in the Papyrus ebers, an Egyptian document written around B.C.E. 1550. This document gives twelve formulas for mixing Aloe with other agents to treat both internal and external human disorders. The first milestone in Western man's detailed understanding of medicinal plants is the work of Hippocrites (460B.C.- 375B.C.), the father of modern medicine (doctors today still take the Hippocratic Oath). His Material Medica makes no direct mention of Aloe, but during that same period, the plant, according to Copra's Indigenous Drugs of India, had come into widespread use. Interestingly, Copra writes, "The use of Aloes, the common musabbar, for external application to inflamed painful parts of the body and for causing purgation [internal cleansing] are too well known in India to need any special mention."

In Greek pharmacology, the plant was first mentioned by Celsius (B.C. 25-50 A.D.), but his comments were limited to its power as a purgative. The first Western benchmark in man's understanding of Aloe is the Greek herbal of Dioscorides (41 A.D.-68 A.D.). This master of Roman pharmacology developed his knowledge and skill as he traveled with that great empire's armies. Dioscorides gave the first detailed description of the plant we call Aloe Vera, and attributed to its juices "the power of binding, of inducing sleep." He noted as well that it "loosens the belly, cleansing the stomach." He further added that this "bitter" Aloe (the sap) was a treatment for boils; that it eased hemorrhoids; that it aided in healing bruises; that it was good for the tonsils, the gums, and all general mouth irritations; and that it worked as a medicine for the eyes. Dioscorides further observed that the whole leaf, when pulverized, could stop the bleeding of many wounds.

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