What is Aloe Vera
“Of all the herbs I’ve ever studied—and I’ve written thousands of articles on nutrition and disease prevention—aloe Vera is the most impressive herb of them all.”
-Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Aloe Vera is a popular medicinal plant that is used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. Its leaves are full of a gel-like substance that contains numerous beneficial compounds.
Aloe Vera belongs to the family of succulent plants in the genus ‘Aloe’. The origin of this burn plant is believed to be in Sudan and has been used for more than 6,000 years.
The great virtues of this plant have been recognized by many civilizations, including the Egyptians, Spanish, Persians, Greeks, Italians, Africans, Japanese, and Indians. It grows best in warm and dry climates and is densely found in India, Africa, and other arid zones. This species has a wide usage in herbal medicines.
The aloe Vera plant has compounds such as mannans, polysaccharides, lectins, and anthraquinones that are extremely beneficial for human health.
Aloe Vera is extensively used in beauty products and for good reason. It’s got antiviral and antibacterial properties, and the ability to help treat everything from constipation to diabetes. It’s the crux of a million dollar industry that extends from beauty creams to healthy juices and diet supplements.
Over time, aloe Vera has seamlessly integrated itself into everything we use.
What makes this miracle Aloe Vera plant so distinguishable?
The use of Aloe Vera will be the most important single step forward in the treatment of diseases in the history of mankind.”
– H. Reginald Mcdaniel, MD, Pathologist, Researcher, Dallas-Fort Worth Medical Centre
The aloe Vera plant is about one or two feet tall with prickly and bitter leaves, which act as a defence to keep animals and insects from feeding on the plant. The leaves hold a gooey translucent gel, also extremely bitter, and known all over the world for it’s unbelievable healing properties.
This translucent gel is made up of around 96% water, some organic and inorganic compounds, a type of protein which contains 18 of the 20 amino acids found in the body and lastly, Vitamin A, B, C and E.
Another part of the Aloe Vera plant which is used is the ‘sap’, a yellow-coloured liquid stuck to the skin of the plant from the inside. When dried and purified, the powdered aloe is often used as a laxative, though it’s effectiveness is questionable.
One of the most crucial elements found in aloe Vera gel is a complex carbohydrate known as acemannan. It allows nutrients to reach the cells, nourish them and at the same time relieve them of toxins.
Chinese herbal medicine and British herbal medicine have all advocated aloe Vera as a healer, when applied or consumed orally.
Let’s go over some of its most prominent benefits.
- Prevents Signs of Aging
Wrinkles and fine lines are bound to appear as you age. But, other factors may expedite what is a natural process. Aloe Vera helps in preventing these early signs of aging. As your skin ages, it tends to get drier and loses its elasticity. This makes it more susceptible to wrinkles and fine lines. Aloe moisturizes the skin, and it also helps remove dead cells. In fact, research has proven that aloe Vera improves the elasticity of skin and makes it smoother and suppler.
- Moisturizes Skin
Aloe Vera gel has been touted by many as their go-to moisturizer. It has shown miraculous effects on oily and acne-prone skin.
Aloe Vera increases the water content in your skin, and leaves it hydrated without making it greasy.
- Reduces Acne and Helps Lighten Blemishes
The aloe gel can work wonders on your skin; reducing acne, clearing blemishes and scars that get left behind.
Aloe Vera is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent because of the presence of gibberellins and auxins.
This helps reduce your acne.
It also contains polysaccharides that stimulate the growth of new cells. This speeds up the healing process for acne and prevents scarring.
- Helps with Sunburns and Reduces Tan
Aloe Vera is widely used as an after-sun treatment because it is soothing and reduces inflammation.
Aloe Vera, owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, reduces the redness brought on by exposure to UV rays and soothes the skin.
It acts on the epithelial skin layer and provides a protective layer to the skin for retaining moisture.
Since aloe Vera contains a lot of antioxidants and nutritional properties, the skin is able to prevent the moisture from escaping, which in turn heals the sunburn quickly.
- Insect Bites
Aloe Vera is anti-inflammatory, which makes it effective against wounds and insect bites. Aloe Vera gel can be used as a topical treatment for small cuts, bruises, and insect bites. It can also be used as an aftershave lotion to soothe irritated skin.
- Reduces Stretch Marks
with the passing of age, our skin expands and contracts just like elastic. When the skin stretches very far, like during the pregnancy or due to rapid weight gain, the elasticity of the skin gets damaged, which results in ugly stretch marks. These marks are nothing but small tears on the skin layers, which can be healed with the regular use of aloe Vera soaps, gel/ cream applications.
- Promotes Hair Growth
Aloe Vera is not just great for your skin; it also has a number of benefits for your hair. Topical application of aloe Vera can help promote hair growth. Aloe Vera removes dead cells from the scalp, which allows your hair to grow. 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 and it rejuvenates the hair with its own nutrients, giving it more elasticity and preventing breakage.”
- Reduces Dandruff
Aloe Vera is a widely used ingredient in many commercial shampoos and conditioners. This is because it works wonders for dandruff and dandruff-related problems such as an itchy scalp.
Dandruff can be caused by a number of reasons. An oily scalp, accumulation of dead cells, or even an infection can be the cause. And aloe helps out on all fronts. It removes dead cells from your scalp that can clog your hair. It also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which fight against infections and soothe the scalp.
- Maintains pH Balance Of The Scalp
When the pH balance of your hair is disrupted, it can lead to endless hair problems. Aloe can help maintain the pH balance of your hair. The pH of your scalp is 5.5, which makes it fall on the acidic side. A lot of the commercial hair products, especially shampoos, contain surfactants which can alter the pH of your scalp and hair because they are alkaline in nature. This can result in damaged and unruly hair. Aloe Vera helps restore your scalp’s pH balance, which promotes healthier and better hair.
- Conditions Hair
Aloe Vera can put even the best conditioners to shame. It is moisturizing in nature, and hence, strengthens your hair and adds shine. Aloe Vera contains proteolytic enzymes that remove dead cells. It helps in cell regeneration, which helps repair your hair. It also infuses your hair with moisture, leaving it smooth and glossy.
“Four vegetables are essential to the well-being of man: wheat, the grape, the olive and the Aloe.
the first nourishes him, the second raises his spirit, the third brings him harmony and the Aloe cures him.”
-Christopher Columbus (as reported by Salvador De Madriaga)