Aloe vera is a plant with evergreen leaves that grows naturally in warm, dry areas. It is thought to have originated in the Middle East or Egypt because its earliest uses can be traced to the ancient Egyptians. Now domesticated, it is primarily cultivated in all warm and tropical regions, including in Africa, India, Asia, the Caribbean, South America, Mexico and the southern United States.
It is important to differentiate between the aloe vera gel extracted from inside the leaf and the sap or latex extracted from the leaf lining, which is soluble in alcohol. Both substances have specific uses in phytotherapy and cosmetics.