I love aloe vera! I have a pot of it just outside my front door, and it is THE best thing in summer. Although I am vigilant about protecting my kids from the sun, every now and then I cop a higher dose than what I’m supposed to. (I know, I know!)
This is the single most effective thing you can possibly have when sunburn strikes. It’s cool, soothing and has a bunch of other properties that help your skin to heal! And once you have the plant…this remedy is FREE. But this got me thinking, what else can it do? Aloe is predominant in so many other products, from cosmetics to consumption…what’s the go?
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So I had a look into some of the amazing properties of aloe vera and what they can do.
Heals burns – Not just sunburn, but also mild heat trauma burns. You can use the gel inside the leaf as a soothing balm by rubbing on the affected area, as aloe vera contains various powerful antioxidant compounds. Some of these compounds can help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria.
Soothes skin – Aloe is often used in cosmetics and can soothe acne and other skin irritations by applying the gel from the leaf to affected areas.
Improves collagen in skin – Uh, what now?! When applied topically, one study has was shown to increase collagen production and skin elasticity. (Early stages of trials, but I’m definitely giving this a go!)
Dental health – Tooth decay and gum disease are common health problems.
One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to reduce the buildup of plaque on the teeth.
In a mouth rinse study of 300 healthy people, 100% pure Aloe vera juice was compared to the standard mouthwash ingredient chlorhexidine. After 4 days of use, the Aloe vera mouth rinse was found to be just as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing dental plaque! (view study here.)
Digestive health – you can eat the gel inside the leaf of an aloe vera plant, or you can juice the aloe vera gel by crushing or grinding the entire leaf of the aloe vera plant, and then strain and filter the liquid. The juice mixes easily into smoothies and shakes. This makes aloe vera juice a practical whole food supplement. It also contains several enzymes known to help in the breakdown of sugars and fats and aid optimal digestion.
Under eye bags – Chilled aloe is GREAT on under eye bags to reduce puffiness! Just chill the gel and apply! Aloe has a shelf life of about 10 days when refrigerated.
How to Get the Gel Out
The benefits of aloe vera lie in the gelatinous slimy interior of the leaf. All the water is stored in the thick leaves of the aloe. to get to the gel, cut the prickly edges off the leaf and cut away the exterior shell of the leaf. Just scoop the gel out from there!
Grow Your Own Aloe
To be honest, since aloe vera is a type of succulent, they are pretty hardy. This is excellent for those of us who aren’t so great with plants! (Uh-hrm). The waxy leaves are very heat resistant, and the thick leaves store plenty of water, so they can go without for quite a while.
Aloe’s grow best in warmer climates, but can survive just fine indoors in cooler areas. They need good soil drainage, and plenty of bright (but indirect) light. When watering, water thoroughly,