Aloe Vera is commonly thought of as a cute and easy to care for plant that instantly brightens any home. And while the succulent has become more popular in American homes, many people don’t realize that their decorative plant actually contains amazing healing properties. In fact, the plant, also known as Aloe Barbadensis, has been used for thousands of years throughout the world.
It was reported to have an almost sacred place in ancient Egyptian, Greek and roman society. It also has a long history of medical use in South Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
The University of Maryland Medical Center also reports that Aloe was a popularly prescribed medicine in the United States throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, it remains one of the most commonly used medicinal herbs in the country (1).
Benefits Of Aloe
Ingesting Aloe Vera remains a popular home remedy for mouth, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis, fever, asthma and simply to be used as a general tonic. It’s even considered a natural beauty product (2).
The gel is also often applied to the skin to treat sunburns, burns, cuts, infections and other wounds. It acts as an analgesic and fights inflammation and itching.
This is thanks to two powerful immune-boosting compounds: lycoproteins and polysaccharides. Glycoproteins work to block pain and reduce inflammation while polysaccharides promotes skin repair and keeps it moisturized.
In fact, some studies have found that aloe treats burns better than conventional medication in terms of shortening healing time and pain.
The plant is also known to treat constipation, genital herpes, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, cancer, canker sores, upper respiratory tract infection, dental conditions, high cholesterol, inflammatory bowel disease and lowers blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes (3). You can even make your own Aloe Vera Gel.
How To Prepare And Use Aloe Vera Gel
- A clean cutting board
- A sharp filleting knife
- An aloe plant
- A clean plate
- A clean cotton towel
- A sterile glass jar
- Fresh lemon juice
- A food processor (optional)
- Start by washing your hands to avoid contaminating the sterile gel.
- Pick a thick & juicy mature leaf from the bottom of your plant. It should be at least 4-6 inches long. Cut it cleanly off to the plant as to nut harm other leaves.
- Wipe your knife clean.
- Wash and dry the leaf and let it sit on your plate at a 45° angle so that it may drain out its yellow juice. This juice is a potent laxative that may cause digestive distress in some people.
- After 15 minutes, transfer the leaf to your cutting board and remove the harp edges from the sides.
- Next, gently fillet the leaf as to remove the green outer shell and lose as little gel in the process as possible.Repeat this until all the green is removed.
- Cut the gel into cubes and place the gel in your jar.
- Run your knife along the green scraps to harvest any remaining gel.
- Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the gel to help it last longer. You’ll need roughly a quarter lemon for each cup of gel. Shake to coat evenly.
- If you want, transfer the gel to your food processor and pulse on high to turn it into a smoother gel.
- Store in a sealed jar in your refrigerator for up to a week.
For medicinal use, take 30 ml three times a day internally after consulting your naturopath.
For topical use, clean and cut the leaf lengthwise and rub the aloe vera gel directly to your wound several times a day until fully healed.