The viscous gel obtained from the leaves of the aloe vera plant is widely used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals because of its soothing and healing properties. Aloe vera properties include: mildy anesthetic, antibacterial, antifungal, increases blood flow to areas where applied and stimulates new skin growth (which speeds wound healing).
Aloe, a popular houseplant, has a long history as a multipurpose folk remedy. Commonly known as Aloe vera, the plant can be separated into two basic products: gel and latex. Aloe vera gel is the leaf pulp or mucilage, a thin clear jelly-like substance obtained from the parenchymal tissue that makes up the inner portion of the leaves. Aloe latex, commonly referred to as "aloe juice," is a bitter yellow exudate from the pericyclic tubules just beneath the outer skin of the leaves. For pharmaceutical use as a laxative, the juice is often dried to produce "aloe" granules that are dark brown from exposure to air. The terms "gel" and "juice" are not clearly defined by manufacturers and often are confused by consumers.