In South America and sub-tropical Africa, Aloe Vera is well used and loved for its multitude of healing and nutritional properties.
According to Wikipedia, ‘The genus is also native to the most tropical parts of Africa, Madagascar, Jordan, the Arabian Peninsula, and various islands in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius, Réunion, Comoros, etc.). A few species have also become naturalised in other regions (Mediterranean, India, Australia…’
In the West, we too know that this wonderful plant can do lovely things for our health however our climate makes it a little harder for us to grow it so we often have to buy cheaper tubes of the ‘gel’, which might not be from ‘true Aloe’, and more often that not may contain more water than the main magical medicinal ingredient mucopolysaccharides (MPS). With this in mind, be careful to only buy 100% Aloe Vera gel.
MPS is potent with anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antiseptic properties and can do more than soothe your sunburn. It has been shown in studies to speed up the healing of minor wounds, up to eight days faster than a standard dressing would.
For darker skin tones, patchy skin or very dry skin, Aloe vera can be combined with olive oil, oats or glycerine to increase its moisturising potential. Dermatologists recommend Aloe Vera for pigmented skin types as it might help in reducing dark patches and spots, although not enough studies have been done yet and this really comes from word of mouth.
For eczema and psoriasis sufferers, Aloe Vera is a soothing remedy with antibacterial properties to stave off infections whilst cooling down the itch associated with these skin conditions.
Aloe Vera also makes the perfect panda eye remover! Forget the nasty, stinging chemicals used in those eye make up pads which probably speed up wrinkles! Squeeze some Aloe on a pad instead, soothing and its gel-like quality is perfect for removing excess or smudged makeup.
If you have sensitive skin or suffer from shaving rash easily – use Aloe Vera as your shaving gel instead! It’s lovely and slippery, nourishing and moisturising – everything you need to remove the little blighters!
And you know the morning-after-the-night-before breathers? Aloe Vera can fix that too! All you need is to mix a quarter of a cup of aloe vera gel with half a cup of water or juice, then gargle and sip it slowly. Aloe vera contains a wonderful anti-inflammatory compound called B-sitosterol which soothes acid indigestion, the most common cause of bad breath. But naturalists warn against chugging it back as in large doses, it could have you running for the loo!
Check out this great homemade video in which Cotton Top, a youtube user tells of her Aloe Vera beauty routine – and she has great skin!
photo credit: Cushfood