Agaves and magueys plants were collected under the same name of aloe americana at the time of the first Spaniards in America, the chroniclers of the sixteenth century, perhaps to differentiate them from other aloes known as the aloe saponaria. The word saponaria refers to the aromatic resinous juice that is suitable for different uses other aloes contains real pita.
The origin of the saponaria variant is South African and before the great botanical classification made by the naturalist Linnaeus (1707-1778), this plant was called by some naturalists as aloe africana. In South Africa, Zulu native population, and later Europeans, Dutch and English settlers used a cold infusion of the leaves of this plant to fight enteritis and indigestion.
The introduction of the soap aloe in Europe may be due to Dutch colonialism in the region. In 1688 an important botanist, which curiously was also a painter, Bernard Henrik Oldenland, came to Cape Town to serve the Dutch East India Company. Among his functions, Oldenland handled the garden in the city owned by the company. There he planted aloes like the soap aloe that from there reached Europe along the eighteenth century.