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Aloe vera is a beautiful and easy to grow houseplant, common in households around the world. Odds are you’ve seen it growing somewhere before, but did you know that the amazing benefits of aloe vera go beyond its benefits as a home decoration?
Aloe Vera History
Aloe vera has been a hugely important plant to many civilizations around the world throughout history. Aloe vera has one of the earliest written records of any plant in the world, simply because it was so vital to the people of the time. The first written mentions of aloe vera go back to the first century, and ancient Egyptian and ancient Chinese civilizations were both known to use aloe vera to treat burns, cuts, rashes, and many other skin ailments. Some even claim that Cleopatra used aloe vera as part of her daily beauty routine.
The range of use of the aloe vera plant made it an essential house and garden plant centuries ago, with many families ensuring to grow plenty for their own use and for sale.
In the past, aloe vera was primarily used as a medicine to treat injuries or skin problems. More recently, the appeal of aloe has expanded to cosmetic treatments. People around the world use aloe vera products to keep their skin healthy, moisturized, and youthful.
Using Aloe Vera on Your Skin
Aloe vera is most commonly known as a treatment for skin ailments. Many popular brands of moisturizer, sunscreens, and lotions have added aloe vera to their products to boost effectiveness and appeal. Burns, and sunburns in particular, are commonly treated by aloe because it can soothe and moisturize the damaged skin while it heals. It is also effective in helping to soothe many skin rashes, like psoriases and eczema, and many people simply use it as a remedy for dry skin. There are many people who grow aloe vera around the house for use in their own skin products and treatments.
Cosmetically, aloe vera is used in a range of different skin products and makeup products as well. It is most commonly used as a moisturizer or skin treatment, used to promote youthful and healthy skin. But many health conscious beauty lines also include aloe vera in some of their makeup products.
There are many topical creams and ointments containing aloe vera that are applied to the skin, but meant to have an internal benefit. The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera have made it a popular choice for people suffering from muscle and joint pain, stiffness, and many kinds of arthritis. Aloe vera is a natural alternative to some of the harsh alternatives available. Those with sore knees, shoulders, and ankles have found a huge benefit in using topical aloe vera treatments, and many athletes include these treatments in their daily routines. Inflammatory response can be hugely painful, and lead to a variety of ailments and illnesses in human beings. The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera allow some of these muscle and joint issues to heal, and encourage healthy cell growth in future.
For centuries people have relied on anecdotal evidence citing aloe vera as a benefit to the skin, and modern studies now point to several reasons for this being the case. We now know these benefits are due to the level of nutrients, antioxidants, and pH balancing properties of the unique aloe vera gel. In many cases, these plants and treatments have been passed down through families, and some continue to grow aloe vera so they can make use of the gel whenever needed.
Consuming Aloe Vera
Beyond remedies for the skin, many people actually use aloe vera as a digestive aid. While this should be done with caution, as it can be toxic in high doses, there are many people who swear by the effectiveness of aloe on their digestive systems—claiming it helps them to absorb more nutrients, and digest their food more effectively.
When over-consumed, aloe vera gel has laxative and slightly toxic properties, which is something that people use it for medicinally as well. Those experiencing digestive problems will often use aloe vera as an alternative to commercial laxatives.
Aloe is commonly used in enhanced water, yogurt products, and other health foods that are very popular. Be very careful not to over-consume these foods and pay strict attention to portion sizes so you can enjoy the benefits of aloe vera as you had intended. It is much safer to consume aloe vera that has been processed. Be sure to try some safe and processed products the first time you try aloe, to be sure it agrees with your own digestive system.
Growing Aloe Vera for Your Own Use
One of the best parts of this amazing plant is how easy it is to grow for your own use. You can get an aloe vera plant at most plant stores, and even at many healthy food stores. If you want to grow aloe vera for use on your skin or in your own aloe products, be sure to get a food-safe, well-drained container to plant it in. Plant in sandy and well-draining soil, and place it near a sunny window, and water every few days or when the soil has had a chance to dry out.
When using aloe vera, it can be easiest to make use of the outer leaves when you need to. Some may be resistant to do this, since these will be the biggest parts of the plant. But using these will encourage the plant to continue with new growth, and make it less likely that you’ll damage other leaves.
One of the most amazing benefits of aloe vera is how easy this plant is to share. Once your plant is happily settled in your home, it will start to reproduce, creating small offshoot plants that are often called pups. These pups are very easy to part from the original, and plant in a separate container. You can gift aloe vera to your friends and family, along with all of your aloe advice, so they can enjoy its benefits as well!
Test it First
While aloe vera is a beautiful and beneficial plant that many people swear by, there are those who are allergic or sensitive to aloe, and will have an adverse reaction to it. Always test the aloe on a small patch of your skin to make sure you react well to it, and can enjoy using it. There would be nothing worse than adding aloe to a bad sunburn and finding out that you were actually allergic to it!
Aloe vera, when consumed, can be slightly toxic. It is much safer to try processed aloe vera foods if you’d like to try them as a supplement in your diet. Be sure to stick with recommended portion and dose sizes when trying aloe vera products.
You should also be sure that the type of aloe vera that you are using is, in fact, a medicinal and safe form of aloe vera. There are over 500 species of aloe, and many look very similar to aloe vera. Make sure you get your plant, or aloe products from someone reputable to avoid having any problems.
Aloe vera has been popular around the world as a decorative and healing plant for centuries, and communities around the world vouch for the healing properties it has for skin and the digestive system. Aloe plants are popular and abundant, and it is definitely worth getting your own to try out the amazing benefits of aloe vera for yourself.