Aloe vera is a stemless or short-stemmed plant. The gel-like pulp from its leaves have been used for thousands of years as an herbal remedy to treat wounds, skin infections and burns. The pulp contains important polysaccharides, which are useful in healing sunburn and also conatins a library of phytochemicals including mannans, polymannans, anthraquinone C-glycosides, anthrones, anthraquinones, such as emodin, and various lectins.
Aloe vera is widely used on facial tissues because it is a very good moisturiser and can reduce skin irritation and chafing. Aloe may also speed wound healing and is useful as an antifungal agent. Aloe, when taken internally is also claimed to lower lipid and sugar levels. This is presumably due to the phytochemicals listed above.