Aloe vera (Aloe Vera Barbadensis) is a very succulent plant, green in colour, with a clear white gel inside. It is said to be endowed with miraculous healing powers. Traditionally, it was used for various skin conditions and as a laxative. Today it is used for various illnesses like diabetes and osteoarthritis. When used internally, it acts as a general tonic, cleanser, and detoxifier. Externally it is used to cure minor burns, sunburn, eczema, psoriasis, cuts, insect bites, and skincare.
Health benefits of Aloe vera
Aloe vera can be used by consuming it in the form of a juice and also by applying it topically on the skin.
Aloe vera health benefit for hair growth
Massage Aloe vera into the scalp, leave it for 30 minutes, and rinse. Aloe vera is known to balance PH and stimulate the production of enzymes on your scalp which helps in the growth of hair. Aloe vera can also be used instead of a conditioner. It makes the hair silky. You can also mix Aloe vera gel into powdered hair dye before dyeing the hair to help fight off moisture loss from drying chemicals.
Aloe vera is rich in vitamins, minerals, and moisture. As such, aloe vera helps protect moisture levels in the hair, thus helping people with dry hair. It is very easy to apply aloe gel to the hair. The simplest way of doing so is to cut a leaf from the plant and scoop out the gel from it. Grind it in a mixer grinder and apply it directly to your scalp and hair. You can let it sit for an hour or so and then wash it with a mild shampoo. You should do this at least twice a week to see the effect. This method will also help get rid of dandruff.
Aloe vera hair mask
Soak a tsp of fenugreek seeds for about 4-5 hours. Grind it to a paste. Add aloe vera gel to it and grind some more. Now apply this mix to your hair. Keep for an hour and wash with a mild shampoo. Fenugreek seeds are very effective in getting rid of dandruff.
Aloe vera hair oil
Cut a couple of leaves from an aloe plant. Keep it lengthwise in a container for half an hour till the yellow liquid in it drains out into the container. It is important to do this so that people with sensitive skins are not affected. It is always better to check sensitivity, by applying a little gel on the inside of the wrists or behind the ears. Once the yellow latex drains out, wash the leaf and cut it into small pieces. Grind these pieces in a grinder. Grind it well. Take one cup of gel and an equal amount of coconut oil. Pour them into a pan and heat on slow flame till aloe becomes brown in colour. Put off the stove and let the oil cool. Once cooled, use a sieve to remove the aloe pieces. Pour the oil into a jar for use. The oil will be brownish green in colour. You can apply this oil to your hair, keep it overnight and wash the next morning with a mild shampoo. Aloe vera oil is very beneficial for hair growth and also conditions your hair.
Aloe vera as a natural remedy for skin health
Aloe is a good moisturizer and effectively combats wrinkles because the skin absorbs it quickly. Mucopolysaccharides that are derived from the mucilage layer of the aloe plant, help in binding moisture to the skin. Aloe also stimulates fibroblast which produces collagen and elastin fibres which make the skin more elastic and reduce wrinkles. Aloe has a moisturizing effect on dry skin, where it improves skin integrity, and decreases fine wrinkles and redness of the skin.
Aloe is one of the most widely used ingredients in skincare products, as it is a medicine for the skin. It contains almost 98% water and hence soothes the skin, hydrates, and nourishes it. Regular application of aloe gel can help in rectifying various skin conditions like acne, sunburn, and eczema. Drinking aloe vera juice is said to enhance skin health and give it a glow.
Aloe facial cleanser
Make your own facial cleanser with Aloe Vera by mixing 100g aloe gel with 100g of raw honey and 1 tbsp of almond oil or coconut oil. Combine all the ingredients and store it in the refrigerator. To use, take a little bit in your hands and massage it into your face in circular movements. Wash after 2-3 minutes or use a damp wipe to mop your face.
Aloe for sun burn
Aloe is a great sunburn healing agent. Aloe vera penetrates and heals the affected area. It also brightens the skin. It has natural sun protection benefits. Rubbing Aloe vera on your face decreases pigmentation and dark spots and brightens your skin. You can also remove red blotches by rubbing Aloe vera after plucking your brows on the discolored area.
Remove the aloe gel from the leaf and chill it in the refrigerator. Apply thrice a day on the sunburned part of the skin. It has a cooling effect on sunburn. You can even apply it on rashes.
Aloe vera remedies for acne
Research shows that aloe vera, which is an antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory, is very effective in fighting acne. Aloe Vera promotes healing with very little scarring. You can apply aloe vera gel directly on the acne, by placing a small amount of gel on the finger and rubbing it softly, directly on the acne.
Aloe vera scrub
Take equal parts of sugar (preferably powdered coarsely), coconut oil, and half part of aloe vera. Mix it thoroughly and use it as a scrub. The sugar helps to exfoliate the skin and lauric acid in coconut oil helps fight acne. Please do not exfoliate too often especially on the acne as it may irritate it.
Aloe vera face mask
Aloe vera is antibacterial and hence can soothe and heal acne. To make a face mask with it, you can add it to cinnamon and honey, which are antibacterial too. Take about 3 tbsps of honey, 1/2 a tsp of cinnamon powder, and around one and a half tbsp of aloe vera gel. Grind the gel first and then add cinnamon and honey to it. You can apply this on your face and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it with warm water.
Aloe vera as a remedy against exposure to UV and gamma radiation
Aloe gel protects against radiation damage to the skin. Studies have found that when you administer aloe vera gel, metallothionein is generated in the skin. It reduces the production and release of immunosuppressive cytokines, thus preventing UV-induced suppression of delayed-type hypersensitivity.
Aloe vera as a natural remedy for cuts and bruises
Aloe vera speeds up the healing process when applied to a cut. It is also said to be beneficial for stretch marks or small scars. Studies show that when applied topically, the aloe gel helps heal burns and abrasions. Aloe accelerates wound contraction and increases the breaking strength of resulting scar tissues
Aloe vera health benefits for Digestive disorders
Many health experts recommend aloe vera juice for disorders of the digestive tract and stomach. Aloe juice is said to cure ulcers, IBS, Crohn’s disease, and Celiac disease. Polysaccharides, prevalent in the aloe vera plant have curative effects on numerous digestive disorders.
Aloe vera helps to boost immune system
Scientific research shows strong immunomodulatory and antitumor properties for aloe vera polysaccharides. The gel is said to help boost immune system function while destroying cancer tumors. Aloe vera contains acemannan, a natural immune booster. Acemannan from aloe vera is said to accelerate the destruction of cancer tumors, improve survival time, and result in far better recovery from toxic cancer treatments. More on aloe and tumours
Aloe vera health benefits to reduce inflammation in joints
Using aloe topically is known to ease inflammation of joints, and reduce arthritis pain. But aloe can also be used internally, reducing inflammation throughout the body from the inside and out. People who drink aloe vera for two weeks typically begin to experience a significant reduction of inflammation symptoms. More on aloe and inflammation
Aloe vera health benefits to stabilize blood sugar in diabetics
Diabetic patients who take aloe vera juice for 3 months experience a significant drop in fasting blood sugar levels. They also exhibit lower cholesterol levels and slight improvements in total cholesterol. Numerous clinical studies have been published that demonstrate aloe vera’s anti-diabetic properties. More on aloe and diabetes
Aloe vera lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
When used internally, aloe vera gel improves the quality of the blood and helps rebalance the blood chemistry in a way that lowers cholesterol and total triglycerides in people with elevated levels of cholesterol. More on aloe and cholesterol
Laxative effects of Aloe vera
Aloe vera provides 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds. These compounds are traditionally known as laxatives. These anthraquinones increase intestinal water content, stimulate mucus secretion and increase intestinal peristalsis.
Home remedies with aloe vera
- Take a leaf of aloe vera and remove the outer skin. Remove the pulp and wash well. Add sugar and cumin seeds to it. This is said to cure loose motions with blood.
- The pulp of aloe vera with a small amount of turmeric powder is a good remedy for enlargement of spleen
- Take the pulp of Aloe vera and add alum, put them in a thin cloth and hang over a vessel. Collect the water that drips from the cloth. This water can be applied over the eyes. It cures redness, itching and improves eyesight.
- Add the pulp of aloe vera to sesame seed oil and boil. Filter the oil and use for hair. This is said to be good for hair growth and for insomnia.
(from the siddhamedicine.com)
- Clean the pulp of aloe, add palm jaggery and a pinch of asafoetida to it. Pound them together and store in an airtight container. About ½ gram of this preparation consumed twice daily with warm water helps to ease excess menstrual pain.
- Two teaspoons of pulp fried in ½ teaspoon of ghee to which ½ teaspoon of sugar is added can be consumed to help cure a wet cough.
- Porridge, using the pulp of aloe is prepared and consumed in the villages in India especially during the summer months to control excess body heat.
- For wounds and cuts, apply the fresh juice of aloe leaf or the pulp and bandage it.
- Aloe vera gel is also effective in preventing and removing corns as it contains salicylic acid. It is also anti bacterial in nature. Apply the gel twice a day to get rid of corns.
Side effects of aloe vera
- Topical: It may cause redness, burning, stinging sensation and rarely generalized dermatitis in sensitive individuals. Allergic reactions are mostly due to anthraquinones, such as aloin and barbaloin. It is best to apply it to a small area first to test for possible allergic reaction.
- As aloe juice may lower blood sugar, careful monitoring of blood sugar is recommended for diabetic individuals currently on blood sugar lowering medicine.
- Abdominal cramps and diarrhea have been reported with oral use of aloe vera.
- Diarrhoea, caused by the laxative effect of oral aloe vera, can decrease the absorption of many drugs.
- It is contraindicated in cases of known allergy to plants in the Liliaceae family.
- Oral aloe is not recommended during pregnancy due to theoretical stimulation of uterine contractions, and in breastfeeding mothers, it may sometime causes gastrointestinal distress in the nursing infant.
Aloe vera can be easily grown at home
All aloes are semi-tropical succulent plants and should be grown outdoors only in areas where there is no chance of freezing. Aloes have a shallow, spreading root system. The plants are propagated by removing the offshoots which are produced around the base of mature plants when they are a couple of inches tall. They can also be grown from seeds. They make excellent house plants when given sufficient light, and should be left near a window that gets a lot of sun. Potted aloe plants benefit a lot if kept outside in summer. Older plants even bloom, producing a tall stock covered with brightly colored flowers.