Aloe Vera

Photo by Markuso

Region and History

The stiff-leafed, prickly plant is indigenous to eastern and southern Africa and other tropical locations such as Central and South America, India and the Middle East, according to the Herbal Encyclopedia.

Aloe Vera’s benefits and widespread uses have been well documented worldwide for more than 3500 years.  Ancient Egyptians left written records of their medicinal use of aloe vera. Among her famous beauty secrets, Cleopatra extolled the benefits of aloe vera. Other cultures — such as India, Greece, Rome and China — used it for digestive issues and to heal various wounds.

Benefits and Medicinal Actions

Reduces inflammation, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, antibiotic, laxative, relieves and reduces ulcers, anti-microbial, cleansing, purges toxins, emollient, conditioning, healing and aids in regeneration.

Properties

Vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, salicyclic acid, amino acids, enzymes, resins, polysaccarides, aloin.

The inside lining of the leaf is a gel; the outer skin produces a yellow juice.

General Uses

The gel scraped directly from the leaves heals wounds, burns, insect bites, frostbite, fungal infections and sunburns.

In other forms taken internally as juice or tinctures, aloe vera is used as a laxative, appetite stimulant and soothes peptic ulcers.

Beauty Uses

Skin

Rejuvenates skin; heals abrasions, irritations and inflammation; emollient, moisturizer and skin protector. The gel, used alone or in a lotion, is an ideal daily moisturizer adding a thin veil of protection. A staple ingredient in commercial and DIY skin care products.

Hair

Cold aloe vera gel (in juice and gel form) calms and lowers the hair cuticle, seals in moisture and protein, conditions, moisturizes, protects and helps regulate hair’s pH. Also, heals heat damage and counteracts certain chemical processes. Used in DIY spritzes, rinses, co-washes and cleansers, gels, lotions and leave-in conditioners.

 

 References:

“Herbal Encyclopedia: Common Medicinal Herbs for Natural Growth,”  http://www.cloverleaffarmherbs.com/aloe/

Gabriel, Julie, The Green Beauty Guide, Deerfield Beach, FL, Health Communications, Inc., 2008, pg. 109,  http://petitemarieorganics.wordpress.com/about/

 

 

 

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