Historical note Aloe vera has been used since ancient times as a medicinal plant. In fact, evidence of use has been found on a Mesopotamian clay tablet dating back to 21 00 bc (Atherton 1 998). It has been used as a topical treatment for wounds, burns and other skin conditions and internally as a general tonic, anti-inflammatory agent, carminative, laxative, aphrodisiac and anthelmintic by the ancient Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Indians and Spaniards. According to legend, Alexander the Great captured an island in the Indian Ocean in order to gain the Aloe vera for his wounded army. Today aloe is used to soothe skin complaints and heal burns, and is one of the most common ingredients in many cosmetic products.
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