Thanks to the favorable climate and fertile soils of volcanic origin, the Aloe Vera that grows in the Canary Islands is particularly rich in active ingredients. The ancient aborigines who once inhabited the islands already knew of the healing properties of this soothing, healing and natural antiseptic. It is an iconic product of the archipelago, whose uses and methods of cultivation can be discerned directly from the producers.
Aloe Vera, the properties known since ancient times
Aloe Vera, the common name for the plant Aloe barbadensis, is native to North Africa and the archipelagos that form Macaronesia, namely the Canary Islands, Azores, Cape Verde and Madeira. The plant prefers warm, dry climates, so on these islands aloe finds the ideal habitat for cultivation. It was already known to the peoples of Berber origin who inhabited these lands before the conquest by the Kingdom of Castile.
Thus, the virtues of aloe-based remedies were known since anitchity. The Sumerians, for example, had been using Aloe Vera in formulas for medicinal use since5000 B.C. . In the Ebers Papyrus (1550 B.C.), considered the earliest medical document in history in ancient Egypt, various formulas based on aloe juice are found for making certain elixirs. Cleopatra and Nefertiti used it as an ingredient in their daily beauty recipes.
After the conquest by the Spanish and during the subsequent colonization of the archipelago, this knowledge was passed down from generation to generation through herbalists and those who, like shepherds and farmers, knew the land and the vegetation growing there perfectly.
Christopher Columbus is said to have brought it to America from the Canary Islands, and numerous European travelers in later centuries, intrigued by this plant, mentioned it in their writings. Columbus, passed through the Canary Islands on his way to the New Continent and brought with him Aloe Vera, which he used to treat and heal the skin of the sailors who accompanied him on his voyage to the Indies.
The journey eventually led him to discover the American continent, where the plant began to be cultivated. There are writings in which Aloe Vera is often referred to as “canary ointment,” nature’s miracle remedy.
The Scottish sailor George Glas, in his “Description of the Canary Islands” (1764), praises the islands’ climate, writing, “it is extraordinarily salubrious, and the natives enjoy greater health and longevity than in any other country in the world,” and mentions, among the plant species that grow wild and without being cultivated, the “bush aloe.
A remedy with unique properties
The usual organic growing methods free of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are applied to this small perennial plant, which is harvested year-round and grows from 30 cm to just over a meter tall. Therefore, in addition to being used for its topical, healing and protective properties against solar radiation and burns, it is also consumed orally, as it reduces blood cholesterol and glucose levels and regulates blood pressure. Finally, its many properties have been confirmed in recent years by scientific publications recognizing its protective action for the gastrointestinal tract. For therapeutic use, however, it is always good to refer to medical indications.
Benefits of Canary Island aloe
Aloe vera contains 18 of the 22 amino acids found in the human body, including seven of the eight considered essential. It also includes a natural cell regenerator: acemannan, a polysaccharide with immunostimulatory, antiviral, and gastrointestinal properties that is notable in the Canary Islands for containing four times more of it than its main competitor, American aloe vera.
The therapeutic properties of aloe are determined by the combined action of its 200 components. Studies conducted on aloe vera from the Canary Islands show that the plant grown in the archipelago has superior properties compared to those grown in other parts of the planet, due to a higher concentration of aloin.
Aloe vera in different formats
The spread of aloe began in the 1950s, first as a phytotherapeutic remedy for treating burns, and then as an ingredient in moisturizing creams and drinking juice.
The offerings of pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies in the Canary Islands include a wide range of products processed from aloe vera grown in the archipelago. The most common are creams and gels with a wide variety of uses, shampoos, sunscreens and pure juice for drinking.