Wonder plant and wand of heaven
This plant has been called wand of heaven, potted physician, as well as a first-aid kit in a plant. Aloe vera has been used for millennia, and modern medicine has found that it has many effects that promote health. The mucilage from the leaves can be used to treat cuts, burns, diabetes and cancer. Aloe vera is also used to make laxatives.
The name derives from the Arabic word Alloeh, which means “shiny, bitter substance”, and the Latin vera, which means “true”. The ancient Egyptians wrote papyri about the anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera. It has been claimed that Cleopatra used aloe every day. According to legend, Aristotle persuaded Alexander the Great to conquer the island of Socotra, so that its aloe plantations could be used for making medicines for the troops.
In addition to aloes, the Desert room features agaves. Even though the aloes and agaves have similar leaves, they are not closely related. The agave is native to arid areas of the Americas, while the aloe is an Old World plant. Their similar appearance is due to adaptations to similarly dry conditions. Both the aloe and the agave store moisture in their succulent leaves.