Perhaps one of the first universal wonder treatments, aloe vera spread swiftly to other parts of the world as its powers were uncovered. For Nefertiti and Cleopatra it was a beauty staple, Alexander the Great used it to treat soldiers’ wounds. In 19th century America it held a rather lowly status as a laxative; only later, in the mid-1930s, did it command new respect, having successfully been used to treat severe radiation dermatitis.
Certainly not the prettiest of plants, its meaty leaves with their fanged edges can grow to huge proportions. Inside them lies the real treasure: a clear, viscous and slightly fragrant gel. Consisting of 99% water, it’s that last one percent that makes all the difference — a incredibly potent cocktail of amino acids, lipids, enzymes, vitamins and other nutrients.