Native to the Arabian Peninsula, ALOE VERA is a succulent plant having great curative and nutritive properties. Also known as “lily of the desert” and “elephant’s gall” the plant has been known to humans for long for its healing benefits. The succulent aloe vera gel is obtained from within the leaves after the removal of the peel. The slimy tissue/gel of aloe vera contains great medicinal value. This sticky gel however, must not be exposed to the elements for more than 2 hours because it tends to oxidize easily, thus losing some of its therapeutic properties. Therefore, it is necessary to subject it to a stabilization process. The following characteristics make aloe vera a wonderful natural product for health and beauty:
Pain reliever and anti-inflammatory: Aloe vera helps reduce pain faster upon application to the affected area as compared to most other pain relieving products, because of its ability to penetrate deeper layers of skin quickly. It works in the same way as does the steroid cortisone but without the latter’s harmful effects. Because of its great penetrating property, it also helps reduce inflammation. The best part is that aloe vera can be used for all types of inflammation. For best results, apply aloe vera gel on the affected area and place cotton over it to prevent evaporation.
Healing action: Aloe vera contains high levels of calcium, potassium, zinc along with Vitamin C and E. These promote the formation of a net of fibres that traps the blood corpuscles thus boosting the healing process. Calcium acts as a catalyst in all healing.
Antibiotic action: Aloe vera inhibits the destructive action of many bacteria such as Salmonella and Staphylococcus that produce pus. It also fights E. coli and the fungus Candida albicans. Aloe vera prevents infection when it is directly applied to the area in great concentration (more than 75% concentration).
Balances metabolism: As aloe vera contains lots of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, potassium, and sodium it helps maintain metabolism by supporting a healthy cellular enzyme system. Calcium is good for bones and teeth; zinc and magnesium is necessary for metabolism; and magnesium maintains the health of nerves, muscles, heart rhythm and bones. Minerals such as potassium and sodium help keep the electrolytes in balance.
Boosts digestive system: Aloe vera has been widely used to treat irregular bowel movement or acid reflux for its properties to regulate waste excretion cycles. One component of aloe is aloin which is a good laxative. Aloin is extracted from the outer rind of the aloe vera leaf. It helps the intestinal muscles contract causing an easier bowel movement. Thus, it is a good remedy for constipation that eases pain and discomfort caused by it. Aloe vera also promotes a healthy digestive system by eliminating bad bacteria that reside inside the gut. In gastrointestinal problems, it seems to inhibit the release of excess hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Promotes hair growth: Several vitamins, minerals and enzymes, present in aloe vera juice make it extremely beneficial for hair growth. The juice extracted from aloe vera plant moisturizes and brings shine to dull hair and also relieves itchy scalp owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. The proteolitic enzymes in the juice remove dead skin cells blocking the hair follicles, and thus improve hair growth.
Rehydrates and cleanses skin: Aloe vera penetrates deep in the skin and restores lost liquids. It acts as a natural cleanser due to the oil it contains and reduces acne and clear blemishes and scars. It also repairs damaged tissues and sunburn. Due to the presence of proteolitic enzymes, it can also destroy dead tissues, and thus can be used to clean wounds.