Aloe vera, also known as the Medicinal Aloe, is a species of succulent plant that probably originated in northern Africa. The species does not have any 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 BC, because it is mentioned in the New Testament (John 19:39–40 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes... ). However, it is unclear whether the aloes described in the Bible are derived from A. vera. Extracts from A. vera are widely used in the cosmetics and alternative medicine industries, being marketed as variously having rejuvenating, healing or soothing properties.
We do not now know the real worth of the species as scientific findings are still just beginning on this plant. And as usual there are a lot of contradictory studies.
However it was as late as the 1970's the whole Sibu population went crazy about aloe vera.
This craze made me realise that popular food trends were catching up in Sibu, a small town with a very homogeneous urban population and a small indigenous population in its peripheral areas. Almost every house hold started to have several pots of aloe vera and Kai Nguong Sdn Bhd started to sell its seedlings like hot cakes. Some women even cried because they could not any when the supply went out. I was amazed by the great desire of owning such a plant. Indeed the buying of the plant was like "snatch and buy".
But then in the frenzy of the changes in Sibu my family members and I did realise that it was so trendy and also "kiasu" to be knowledgeable in the products of aloe vera and in the various ways one can use the aloe vera. Talks were given about its goodness and many new products were sold. Forever Living was one such product and almost every woman carried a bottle of the famous orange looking product. In no time.sales were so good that people had to order in advance. I suppose this was the marketing trend of the time. There was this story of some one's daughter in law buying aloe vera juice for her own mother. When her mother in law found this out, there was a lot of anger in the house until the son went to order six months' product for his mother. She then said,it was not necessary because she did not wish to waste her son's money. Fancy two women quarrelling over aloe vera.
Very little consumer awareness of the product in fact. There was a lot of sales but very little testing of the product. Perhaps Asians were used as guinea pigs for the new products. The trend went on for a few years and then it dissipated. The prices of direct sale items have been too high.
My mother loves to use the phrase "Suoh si giu chai suoh si chern" (One moment of chives followed by a moment of onions ) meaning fashion comes and goes. So with aloe vera, it was trendy for a while and then the bubble burst.
Today most housewives would use the aloe vera for the effective treatment of wounds. So having a plant or two is good for the home for emergency purposes.
My relatives and I have boiled the soft gel from alor vera to make a simple drink with rock sugar. This helps in cleansing the kidneys. It is good for pimples too. After an operation a slice or two of aloe vera for a few days on the wound could help quicken the healing process.
Source : Wikipedia®