Aloe Vera- Natures Remedy to Soothe and Heal
Aloe Vera is a short stemmed succulent with a multitude of medicinal properties for both internal and external applications. It is extremely easy to propagate and does not require any special treatment to maintain. Aloe has been used throughout human history to soothe and heal skin ailments such as burns, cuts, ulcers, and even hair loss. So what makes aloe such a great little healer?
Aloe vera is one of approximately 420 species of the genus Aloe , which is variously classified as belonging to the Liliaceae family. The first authentic record of Aloe as a plant with healing properties is accredited to a Mesopotamian clay tablet dated at ca 2100 bce. However, the first detailed depiction of the plant’s medicinal value is found in the Papyrus Ebers, an Egyptian document dated at ca 1550 bce, which sets out multiple Aloe-containing preparations for the treatment of external and internal ailments. (NCBI).
Aloe vera is used in traditional medicine as a multipurpose skin treatment as well as an agent for cleansing the digestive system and detoxifying the body.
Although aloe is 99 percent water, aloe gel also contains substances known as glycoproteins and polysaccharides. Glycoproteins speed the healing process by stopping pain and inflammation, while polysaccharides stimulate skin growth and repair. These substances may also stimulate the immune system. (University of Maryland Medical Center)
In addition, more than 75 other potentially active constituents have been identified in the plant including vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins, and salicylic acids. (NCBI)
There are many new studies on the medicinal properties of aloe being performed world wide. As more research comes to light it s becoming apparent that there are many other potential healing properties in aloe including liver repair and dental cavity prevention.
Other Common Uses
In modern times it is most commonly used as an ingredient in a great variety of skincare products including lotions, shampoos, and cosmetics. The food industry uses aloe as a healthy bittering agent.
Growing and Using Aloe at Home
Aloe should be planted in containers with well drained soil and placed in indirect sunlight or in artificial light. Allow soil to dry in between waterings to prevent root rot.
You can easily propagate aloe by simply pulling a leaf off and putting it in soil. You can find step by step instructions here.
Aloe can also be propagated by taking the little baby aloes that sprout beside the mother plant. To do so simply pull your aloe out of the container and removing a sprout with roots intact (see photo above).
So, get yourself an aloe plant (if you don’t already have one), take good care of it and it will take good care of you.
Light and love!