Aloe is a genus containing over 500 species of flowering succulent plants. The most widely known species is Aloe vera, or “true aloe”, so called because it is cultivated as the standard source of so-called “aloe vera” for assorted pharmaceutical purposes. Other species, such as Aloe ferox, also are cultivated or harvested from the wild for similar applications.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans used Aloe vera to treat wounds. In the Middle Ages, the yellowish liquid found inside the leaves was favored as a purgative. Unprocessed aloe that contains aloin is generally used as a laxative, whereas processed juice does not usually contain significant aloin.
Aloe vera, are used in alternative medicine and first aid. Both the translucent inner pulp and the resinous yellow aloin from wounding the aloe plant are used externally for skin discomforts. As an herbal medicine, Aloe vera juice is commonly used internally for digestive discomfort.
That store-brand aloe vera gel in your medicine cabinet could be missing one very key ingredient: aloe vera. Lab tests on some Walmart, Target and CVS products, all of which list aloe barbadenis leaf juice as the No. 1 or No. 2 ingredient, found no evidence of the plant in any of the gels.