I am a huge aloe fan. I use it to disinfect all the cuts and bruises my full house of kids are always getting. I use it for hydration during my Zumba classes, and sunburns after a long day at the beach I am blessed to live near. In general, I keep it handy for overall wellness. It’s pretty much good for anything and everything including bug bites, inflammation, constipation, and heartburn relief. In fact, I have it growing right inside my home for easy access. When needed, I just snip a piece off and wham! Relief without having to leave my house. It's a super simple plant to grow if you have the right set up and it's one cactus-like houseplant that can give you many benefits aside from its beautiful aesthetics.
What is Aloe and Where Does it Come From? Fun Facts!
When most people think of aloe, they think of the bright green goo found in a bottle on the store shelf. But believe it or not, aloe isn’t something manufactured in a factory! It’s a succulent green spiky plant grows best in the dry, tropical climates of the world. However, with the proper environment, many people are now growing their own aloe plants indoors no matter which part of the world they live in so that they can have access to the freshest form of the plant at their convenience.
Many centuries ago, ancient civilizations discovered that the aloe plant was not only beautiful to look at, but it possessed herbal remedies that could be used to treat many ailments. Aloe has been used for healing for over 6,000 years and was once called the “plant of immortality”
There are over 300 species of the aloe plant, but the most popular is Aloe Barbadensis or aloe vera. It is the most commonly known aloe that is used in the health and beauty industries. The aloe plant produces two substances that are very commonly used medicinally. The gel is the clear jelly type substance inside the plant leaf, and the latex is the yellow substance that can be found right under the plant’s skin. Many aloe products are made from the whole plant and contain both elements, and some are separated into its gel or latex form.
How to Consume Aloe
There are many ways to consume aloe and reap its benefits. Aloe can be found in many cosmetic items such as shampoos, conditioners, and skin creams. You can also find aloe in many enriched waters and drinks for hydration and inflammation. Due to its bitter taste, many drinks have added flavors and sweeteners, so make sure you read all labels thoroughly to ensure you aren’t ingesting too much sugar or artificial flavors and colors. You can also find aloe in oil, powder, and in capsule forms for supplementation.
As with every supplement, you must exume caution with over-consumption. Too much aloe can cause stomach discomfort and sometimes other more serious issues.
How You Can Benefit From Aloe
The health benefits of aloe are infinite! Here are some of the most popular and proven ways aloe can help:
- Aloe is great for cleansing the digestive system. Aloe latex contains properties that create laxative effects and can help treat constipation.
- Creams containing aloe are great for treating the skin from itchiness, inflammation, sunburn, or more serious conditions such as psoriasis and acne.
- Drinking aloe vera in juice form provides a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants that have been proven to protect the body and build immunity.
- Using aloe gel for cuts and abrasions can not only expedite the healing process but also offers an antibacterial infection-fighting element.
- Research has found that aloe can help with the many symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, including relief from heartburn, belching, and vomiting.
- Drinking two tablespoons a day of aloe vera juice can lower blood sugar levels and Triglyceride levels for people suffering from type 2 diabetes, also lowering their risk of heart disease.
- If used as a mouth rinse, pure aloe vera juice is just as powerful as fluoride-based mouthwash for reducing dental plaque buildup, with much fewer chemicals and harsh ingredients.
- The salicylic acid from the aloe vera can also act as aspirin-like substance that can work as a painkiller.
Aloe has a tremendous amount of health benefits. But before using it to treat any medical condition, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare practitioner or someone knowledgeable in holistic health care.
How to Grow Your Very Own Aloe Vera Plant at Home
Attention to all the non-green thumbers! Aloe vera is a super-simple plant to grow in the house. It prefers dry, warm climates so if you happen to forget to water it, it actually helps your plant over harming it! Aloe loves droughts! So, in this particular plant’s case, you need to exert caution in not over watering it.
Written By Angela Christu, Proud owner of a thriving 10-year-old aloe plant (despite her non-green thumb)