When it comes to home remedies, there are very few that beat aloe vera. Aloe vera is a plant of the lily family that was initially native to North Africa. It has now migrated to many different parts of the world and for people who know how useful it can be in treating some of the most common conditions, it is an invaluable plant.
Before we talk about the uses and benefits of aloe vera, let us first see how it grows and what it looks like. Aloe vera grows best in warm and dry conditions. It grows in the wild and it can also be grown in the home, either in the garden or in a pot. If you ask most people who know it, they will tell you that it looks like the sisal plant. Some will even tell you that it resembles a cactus and they wouldn’t be wrong. The leaves of an aloe vera plant usually grow to between 80 to 100 cm and they have little thorns along the edges. The leaves are also succulent – if you break one open it will flow with a yellow juice and there is also some gel.
Ingredients in aloe vera
Aloe vera is packed full of ingredients – more than 200 – that are beneficial in healing and restoration. They include minerals, enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids, polysaccharides, fatty acids and more. All these are packed into the gel and constitute about 1% of the gel. The rest of it is just water.
Aloe vera extraction
Aloe vera is very easy to extract. You can extract either the gel or the juice. To extract the juice, just break a leaf and leave it to stand in a cup. The juice will flow out slowly depending on how succulent the leaf is – some are so succulent that you can have a tablespoon of aloe vera in less than a few minutes. The same leaf that you have drained of juice also has aloe vera gel. Just take a spoon and scrape it off into a cup or a plate. Both the gel and the juice can be used directly on the skin and for those who can stand it, a little bit is recommended for intake; that is because aloe vera has a very bitter taste that lasts for quite a while.
Aloe vera uses and benefits
There are so many different uses of aloe vera that it is hard to list them all so let us list as many as this article will allow.
1. It treats eczema very effectively
Considering how effective aloe vera is in treating eczema, it is a shame that dermatologists don’t recommend it as a solution to sufferers. To treat eczema with aloe vera, you can apply the juice of the gel directly to the skin. You can also boil some leaves and use the dark brown water in your bath. The skin and the gel applied directed will sting for a few seconds, but it should be left on for about 10 or 15 minutes and then rinsed off. Apply a mild moisturizer to the area. If you treat eczema this way for a while, it will go away. It can also be used on kids without any side effect; make sure none of it gets in their mouth though; the bitter taste can make them cry.
2. It keeps skin smooth and soft
Do you want your skin to feel silky? Take an aloe vera bath; boil the leaves and then use the water in your bath. Sit in it for about 20 minutes and you won’t believe just how smooth your skin will be. If you want to keep it this way, have these baths often.
3. It is very effective on pimples
If you wake up in the morning and you have a headlight in the middle of your head, a touch of aloe vera juice or gel will help the pimple to pop faster. Depending on how potent the plant you use is, the pimple could pop open in just a few hours. It also works in the same way on boils. As soon as you notice that one is developing, apply the gel every few hours and it should burst before long.
4. It is highly effective for burns
One of the most effective home remedy for all kinds of burns is aloe vera. As soon as you get burnt, apply some juice or gel and let it dry. It will take away the sting and it helps the burn heal so well that there is hardly any scarring. Keep a small aloe vera plant in a pot on your kitchen window for just this. It works on major burns as well, but let a doctor treat you first to make sure that you don’t get blood poisoning.
5. It is excellent for chicken pox
Yes, that maddening disease that makes children scratch and scratch. As soon as you notice that they are developing chicken pox, boil some aloe vera leaves and wash or even wipe down your child using a small towel. The scratching should go away, there will be fewer bumps and there will be very little scarring if any.
6. It is great for wounds
If you have a wound, a little aloe vera juice or gel should help it heal a lot faster than anything the doctor can give you. Make sure that you disinfect the wound and then wash the leaf before breaking it open so as to avoid infection from any dirt that may be on the leaf.
7. It is good for quickening digestion
Aloe vera is a great digestive cleanser. It also helps with both diarrhea and constipation because it contains an ingredient called adaptogen. Adaptogen helps the body fight illness and also adapt to changes. Aloe vera is also known to help with acid reflux and IBS and it helps get rid of unfriendly bacteria in the gut. It would be quite hard to eat the gel or drink the juice directly as it is very bitter. For those who can stand it, a few drops of the juice in a bowl of soup are beneficial. If you cannot take it this way, there are commercial versions that are sweetened.
Buying aloe vera extract
There are many versions of aloe vera extract in the market, but not all of them are very good. Before you buy, contain just how much extract the product contains. Also, look at reviews of the product and see how other people feel about it.
You can buy aloe vera plants online. If you take this option, make sure to find out how the plant is packaged for shipping. Some companies that sell them don’t package them well enough and by the time they arrive, the leaves are broken.
The uses and benefits of aloe vera have been known for centuries. It is effective for treating more than we have talked about here. Get yourself a plant, but if this is difficult for you, make sure that you always have some commercial formulation of the gel and aloe vera supplements to keep you in good health.