Two inaccurate concepts plague us about aloe vera. One is the belief that aloe vera is limited to a small range of uses—such as skin irritations, burns, cuts and minor irritations—and should only be applied topically when nothing more serious is at stake. The other is that aloe is a benign but innocuous ingredient in everything from ready-to-drink beverages to skincare.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant species that is found only in cultivation, having no naturally occurring populations, although closely related aloes do occur in northern Africa. The species is frequently cited as being used in herbal medicine since the beginning of the first century AD.