Article by Kaniz F. Shah
|Botanical Name:||Aloe vera|
|English Name:||Aloe vera|
|Parts Used:||leaves, gel|
|Effect / Energy:|
|Oil blends with:|
- laxative, anthelmintic, balsamic
Aloe vera has been referenced in books as early as the 10th century in northern Europe. Around 78 AD, one of the Greek fathers of herbal medicine, Dioscorides, was known to have used the aloe plant in medicine.Originally native to East and South Africa, aloe was introduced in the 17 th century to the West Indies, where it is still extensively cultivated and used in Jamaican natural medicine. Now this plant can be found in natural medicine, cosmetics, skincare, haircare and bath & body products throughout the world.
Plant Description and Cultivation:
This is a succulent plant with no stem. It has large, thick, fleshy, tapering leaves that grow into a rosette shape. The leaves contain a thick gel that exudes when cut. It grows outdoors in the tropics and indoors in a more temperate climate. It rarely flowers but when it does, the flowers are normally red. The plant needs little water and grows to 60 – 100 cm / 2-3 feet tall in well-drained soil, away from the hot sun. To propagate, replant a basal shoot of the aloe plant. Aloe requires 3 years growth before the gel can be collected.
- Dries gel is used for constipation and expulsion of threadworms.
- Fresh gel can be applied directly to relieve burns and help heal abrasions. Internal used is known to be used to help with ulcers and arthritis.
Benefits of Aloe Vera for the Hair:
Promotes hair growth:It easily penetrates the hair & scalp and contains enzymes that directly promote hair health.
Anti-Pruritic:It alleviates itching and dryness and can be helpful in conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Anti-fungal:The antifungal properties help in alleviating flaky scalp.
pH Balancing:It has a pH close to pH of the skin (around 4.5) and can be used to restore hair and scalp conditions.
Conditioning:It conditions and hydrates the hair and scalp, making it great for all hair types.
Revitalizes the hair:The essential nutrients and vitamins found in aloe vera aid in restoring hair’s strength and beauty. When combined with oils like coconut and jojoba oil, aloe vera can make a great revitalizing shampoo. Aloe vera is hydrating and repairs damaged and dry hair. It contains proteins that are necessary for maintaining shiny and healthy hair.
Reduces redness & inflammation:Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties so it helps reduce redness and inflammation of the scalp.
Anti-aging skin treatment:Aloe vera is a natural approach to ageless skin. It contains many antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E that improve the natural firmness of the skin. It keeps the skin hydrated and improves elasticity, therefore minimizing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Aloe vera is great for all skin types.
Skin diseases:The anti-allergic property of aloe vera has been useful in natural medicine in the treatment of various skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis and itchy skin. Its healing properties help soothe blisters, insect bites, sunburns, rashes, burns, cuts and areas where skin is inflamed. It is often mixed with cucumber juice and drunk to help boost immune function, digestive function and conditions like irritable bowels syndrome, colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Glowing skin:Aloe vera juice, taken internally, supplies the body with essential nutrients that help maintain healthy skin. It promotes the removal of dead cells and replenishes the skin with new ones, leaving your skin with a radiant glow.
Reduce acne:Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent and reduce redness of the skin and acne.
Natural moisturizer:Aloe vera gel is extremely beneficial for dry skin. It is a natural moisturizer because of the moisture content locked in it. This gel keeps the skin hydrated and increases its elasticity. It also provides oxygen to the skin, which strengthens the skin tissue and keeps the skin healthy. For dry and eczema skin make an ointment using 1 1/2oz. melted cocoa butter, 4oz. soybean oil, 1oz. aloe gel, and a small decoction of comfrey root boiled in water.
Suntan lotion:Apply gel to skin to protect from sunburns.
There are no contradictions to using the gel on the skin; however, if taking it orally it should be avoided in pregnancy or in breastfeeding mothers. Because of its speedy skin-healing effect, it must only be used on thoroughly clean wounds where there is no infection. This article is for informational purpose only. Aloe vera is not a treatment for any disease or condition. It is generally safe when used on the skin or hair, but to ensure safety, it is best to do an allergy test. Consult your doctor before using for medical purposes. Dried gel should not be used by pregnant women.