Although similar in appearance to cacti, aloe vera is not a cactus but a succulent and a member of the lily family. Aloe plants are more closely related to tulips and asparagus than to cacti.
Cacti, like aloe vera, are succulent desert plants often grown indoors on sunny windowsills. However, aloe vera is not covered in the sharp, needle-like thorns cacti are known for.
Aloe vera, also known as a burn plant or medicine plant, is a succulent often grown as a houseplant. Aloe is known for its healing properties as a topical analgesic. Aside from reportedly relieving itching, it is thought to reduce pain caused by minor burns and other skin irritations.
"Succulent" is the name given to plants that store their own water. Many succulent plants are native to desert regions and are kept only as houseplants in colder parts of the United States. Like most desert plants, succulents should be placed in a sunny location and watered sparingly.