There are over 300 species of aloe. The Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) is popularly in the health and beauty worlds for its healing properties. 6000 years ago people discovered this succulent plant actually had many benefits besides just being good to look at.
The plant grows naturally in dry areas. In the tropical climates in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the southern and western parts of the United States.
Juices from the aloe vera plant is used in the cosmetics personal-care products. They are used in moisturizers, soap, shaving cream, and suntan lotion.
Aloe vera is also available in supplement form. It offers the same possible benefits to the skin and digestive system as other versions of the plant.
Indoors, it can be planted in a pot. Choose a shallow, wide bowl so the roots have room to move and spread as they grow.
Useful parts of The Aloe Vera Plant.
There are two medicinally useful parts of the aloe vera plant. Gel and latex. The leaves are filled with a clear gel. This gel is extracted from the plant and usually used on the skin to treat burns and various skin conditions. The gel can also be found in liquid or capsule form and taken orally.
The aloe latex is the yellow pulp that’s found just under the outer part of the plant leaf. Aloe latex has been shown to have laxative properties, and it’s usually taken orally to treat constipation.
Potential Health Benefits
Aloe vera for skin, hair and weight loss and more. Bill C. Coats, an aloe vera expert and author, writes, “Aloe Vera, when formulated into a properly designed personal care regimen. It can treat, exfoliate, restore, reveal and provide constant, impressive nutrition to the human skin.”
Natural aloe vera gel is very slimy. Once you apply it to your skin, you’ll notice how soothing and cooling it is. The herb can be used to treat wounds, minor cuts, dry skin and severe burns.
Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, Delhi-based dermatologist says, “Aloe vera is rich in vitamin C, E and beta carotene. This gives it its nourishing and anti-ageing qualities”. She also suggests drinking aloe vera juice early in the morning on an empty stomach. It improves digestion and cures any kind of stomach trouble. And, you know that if you’ve got a healthy inside, it’ll give you a glowing outside. A radiant skin.
Aloe vera treats the cells on the epithelial level of the skin. This is why it’s recommended by dermatologists to remove tan, treat sunburn and stretch marks.
The health industry is also obsessing over this magical herb. Aloe vera is used in a wide range of health products, like diet supplements, juices etc.
- It’s rich in anti-oxidants which means it helps cut out free radicals in the body and boost your immunity.
- Aloe vera is also a good source of protein. It helps muscle development and gives you copious amounts of energy.
- There are countless studies that prove how effective aloe vera is for weight loss. However, it should be consumed regularly and over a long period of time for it to really work.
According to Britt Brandon, the author of The Everything Guide to Aloe Vera for Health, “Aloe vera can improve the effectiveness of your diet and maximize your weight loss potential”.
Aloe vera contains something called proteolytic enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp. Also, it acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny. This promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff and conditions your hair. Diane Gage, author of Aloe Vera: Nature’s Soothing Healer says, “Keratin, the primary protein of hair, consists of amino acids, oxygen, carbon, and small amounts of hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulphur. Aloe vera has a chemical make up similar to that of keratin. The chemical rejuvenates the hair with its own nutrients, giving it more elasticity and preventing breakage.”
Side Effects and Health Risks
While considered safe in topical form when used as directed, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate aloe vera products. This means that it’s up to you, the consumer, to use aloe vera safely. Also, report any adverse skin reactions to your doctor.
- You may also consider steering clear of aloe vera if you have a severe burn or other significant wounds. Aloe may decrease your skin’s natural ability to heal from deep wounds related to surgery.
- Some users may experience itching or slight burning as the aloe vera goes to work in your skin. However, if you experience a rash or hives, you could have a sensitivity to the gel. This should stop using it immediately.
- Don’t use aloe vera gel on infected skin. While the gel has microbial properties, its protective layer can disrupt the healing process and make an infection worse.
- Taking even just 1 gram orally per day for several days could damage the kidney.
- It also can lower blood glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes need to be careful. They should talk to their doctor before incorporating aloe latex into their care regimen.
- A study from the National Toxicology Program found whole-leaf aloe vera extract created cancerous tumors within the large intestines of rats. The study however shows that this may not be the same case for humans.
How to Select and Store Aloe Vera for the Best Quality
The label on the product usually has instruction on how to store it. The fresh aloe vera leaves should be store in the refrigerator just like any other vegetables. Wrap it in polythene to prevent it from losing moisture. The fresh gel can be stored in honey at room temperature or in the freezer.
Tips for How to Grow Aloe Vera at Home
Aloe vera is very easy to grow at home. It’s a succulent plant that prefers dry, warm climates, so it doesn’t need to be watered every day. A little neglect in watering isn’t going to hurt it. In fact, it may actually help, because this plant lives best in dry conditions. You should be careful not to overwater the plant. If you keep the plant outdoors, be sure to cover it when it rains.
Aloe vera plants grows best in tropical climates. Unless you live in Hawaii, Southern California, or Southern Florida, you won’t be able to leave it outdoors all year. But you can easily leave it in a pot and bring it inside when the temperature drops. Sunlight is key to a healthy aloe vera plant. Position it outside in a sunny spot or inside on a windowsill.
Aloe Vera Top Sellers on Amazon
As at 2020 the search for aloe vera on Amazon turns up more than 20,000 results. The most popular products are:
There are also dietary supplements, drinks, body lotions, shaving gels, and aloe vera leaves.