If there was a cool gang of plants, Aloe Vera would be at the head of it! Given the wondrous medicinal and cosmetic benefits it has, the plant is practically magical – a gift from nature to remedy several skin, hair and internal problems.
The unassuming Aloe Vera plant can pass off as a cactus to the uninitiated, given the fleshy leaves and prickles along the edges. The leaves retain water in a gel-like consistency along with other compounds such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. If you slice the thick leaf, you will find an abundance of this gel along the length of the leaf and you can use it directly without any further chemical processing.
Aloe Vera gel can be mixed with a number of other natural products for cosmetic purposes. But on its own the gel and the juice have a number of medicinal benefits too. Aloe Vera gel is great in healing burn wounds. It accelerates the healing process and eases the pain. It also has certain antioxidants that prevent the growth and spread of certain bacterial infections. Aloe Vera juice can be used as an effective mouth rinse to prevent plaque and an aloe patch helps treat mouth ulcers and canker sores. The anti-inflammatory properties of Aloe Vera make it suitable for treating the pain and swelling caused by arthritis. Using Aloe vera in the treatment of constipation and Type 2 Diabetes is still in its rudimentary stages, and while not yet recommended, its quite possible that current research will green-light its usage soon.
Coming to the cosmetic value of the plant, the options are practically endless! The gel when applied to the skin is said to improve texture, while also reducing wrinkles. This is probably one of the reasons why ancient Egyptians referred to it as the ‘plant of immortality’. It is believed that even Cleopatra endorsed the benefits of this plant by using it regularly as a part of her beauty regimen. Aloe Gel can also be directly applied onto the scalp to stimulate hair growth and while also preventing premature baldness. An aloe vera conditioner is sure to slow down hair loss and improve growth, if used regularly.
Given its various benefits the Native Americans referred to Aloe Vera as the Wand of Heaven. Aloe Vera has been used by mankind for over 6000 years and it continues to be a very trusty ingredient in medicinal and cosmetic products.