Latter-day historians will tell you that I, Cleopatra, am no oil painting.

And what do they expect from a mother of four with a busy career? It's hard enough fending off challenges to my throne and overseeing lazy Nubian slaves without having to be a contender for Miss Egypt.

I can't say Julius Caesar or Mark Antony ever complained. Let me tell you, beauty has less to do with body symmetry and more to do with attitude of mind . . . and perhaps a little help from Aloe Vera.

Aloe Vera keeps my skin supple and glowing under the harsh Egyptian sun and fashionable eye make-up.

Relaxing in a bath of purest Aloe Vera pulp after a heavy day's ruling is infinitely preferable to common asses milk.

Did you know that Aloe Vera boasts over 200 active ingredients and has been revered since ancient times as a topical skin healer and preventative health drink?

This extraordinary plant is truly multi-functional, supporting digestion, elimination and immunity. We also use it as a first aid plant on burns and to fight infections.

Aloe Vera is related to the garlic family, full of nutrients, enzymes, lipids and polysaccharides, just ask one of your servants to cut open a leaf and scoop out the inner gel.

The gel is either mashed and applied onto skin, scalp and hair or taken internally to promote good digestion.

It's anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial properties will be extensively researched in years to come and I foresee other outstanding leaders, like myself, becoming converts.

Alexander the Great has already used Aloe Vera on the battlefield to treat the wounds of his soldiers and Mahatma Gandhi will drink it for sustenance during his long fasts. Of course, if your palace doesn't happen to be surrounded by authentic Aloe plants, you require a maximum potency, organic, whole leaf, cold-pressed product.

But beware! I hear some merchants sell overprocessed, reconstituted gunk made from powdered Aloe and water.

Ensure these charlatans are severely dealt with as you are unlikely to see lasting benefits from their concoctions and may even conclude that the herb is ineffective.

When using a quality product, only tiny amounts are required. Higher Nature, located in Burwash Common, East Sussex claim their Aloe Gold is the most potent and best value on the market.

You can read more in a booklet called Gift of Nature Whole Leaf Aloe Vera by Karen Masterson Koch (£3. 90 incl. P&P).

Karen is a Clinical Nutritionist based in San Diego, US and has been using Aloe Vera in her practice for 17 years with impressive results (to order book or Aloe Gold products call Higher Nature on 01435-882880).