Aloe vera is indeed more than just a pretty plant…
And that is a promise!
Whether or not you are a plant person, you probably have heard of Aloe vera. You may know it as that translucent green gel that relieves sunburned skin. However, aloe vera is more than that. It is a versatile and low-maintenance succulent that provides numerous healing properties and has been used for centuries. And, without further ado, here are ‘all things Aloe’.
HEALING WITH ALOE
As Aloe vera has been studied for its potential immune-boosting properties, some research suggests that the polysaccharides found in Aloe vera gel may stimulate the immune system and help it increase its response to infections and diseases.
As we said in the beginning, you may know it as the green gel you put on a sunburn, but you may not know that it can also reduce the inflammation and pain you are experiencing with the burn.
People should know how beneficial aloe vera can be for acne. Similarly to sunburns with the gels' anti-inflammatory properties, it can decrease inflammation and redness associated with acne.
Moving along now, we introduce aloe vera for psoriasis. People who suffer from the autoimmune disease may benefit from aloe vera as it can soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
If you have not guessed by now, Aloe vera can also be helpful for people with Eczema. By moisturizing and soothing the skin, it can reduce itching and redness associated with the condition.
Now here’s a new one! Aloe vera (OK, maybe not super new), but in JUICE form, can be used to soothe digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis.
A great way to speed up the healing process of wounds and even reduce scarring can be through aloe vera gel. Do not use aloe on infected skin.
People with Diabetes can also enjoy the lovely benefits of Aloe vera. Aloe vera has even been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels.
Aloe vera can be an effective natural remedy for treating bug bites. As the gel found inside the leaves of an aloe vera plant contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, these agents can help soothe itching, swelling, and redness that often are symptoms of an insect bite. Using aloe vera for a bug bite (or multiple) is as easy as cutting a small piece from the leaf and applying the gel directly to the affected area. You can even mix the aloe vera with a few drops of tea tree oil, which also carries natural antiseptic properties, to help decrease infection.
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM US
Even though aloe vera may be effective for treating some of the conditions we shared, it is always better to seek medical advice before using it. If you decide to apply aloe vera topically, it is always a solid idea to do a patch test before using the gel on a larger skin area. This is important because some people are allergic to Aloe which may cause skin irritation or other allergic reactions when the gel is applied directly to the skin.
THE MANY VARIATIONS OF ALOE
Although many different types of aloe vera plants are available for purchase, each kind carries unique characteristics.
ALOE BARBADENSIS ‘MILLER’
The most common aloe vera plant is the Aloe barbadensis ‘Miller’ plant, which has often been used in commercial products for skin care, Aloe vera juice, supplements, medicinal ointments, and more. This type of aloe plant can be used in many ways because the gel inside the leaves contains a variety of bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides, anthraquinones, and vitamins. These all are thought of to help reduce inflammation, soothe irritated skin, and promote wound healing. But again, ask your healthcare professional before using.
ALOE VERA VARIEGATA
A variegated form of aloe vera often carries white or yellow stripes on its leaves and is commonly used as an ornamental plant.
The Aloe aristata is usually grown as a houseplant. It is also a smaller aloe type with spiky leaves and orange or red flowers.
It is native to South Africa and is known for its large, spiky leaves and bright orange flowers. Also, it has been known to be used in traditional African medicine.
ALOE VERA CHINENSIS
A minor form of Aloe vera, native to China and possessing small, pointed leaves like the Aloe vera ‘Variegata’ plant, and is frequently grown as an ornamental plant.
Another form of Aloe that is often grown as an ornamental plant and is unique with its fan-shaped leaves.
Aloe plants thrive when placed in well-drained soil and bright, indirect sunlight. To be exact, the range in temperatures is between 55-80°F (12-27°C). They prefer dry, arid air and need little pruning to maintain their shape. Due to their low maintenance requirements, they are perfect for experienced and non-experienced gardeners. Although aloe plants can be grown indoors and outdoors, if you live in a cooler climate, consider growing your aloe plants indoors or in a greenhouse. The reason behind this is to protect the plant from the cold winter temperatures. To learn more about aloe vera plants, visit our ‘Aloe Plant Care Guide’.
RECIPES USING ALOE
Healing as well as tastes great? Count us in! As the gel is clear and contains no aloin, it is safe to consume in moderation. However, please note that the aloe vera skin is not safe to be eaten, so definitely avoid the skin at all costs. From juices to stir-fry, we have a few great recipes that contain everyone's favorite ingredient, Aloe vera.
Making aloe vera juice can be as simple as blending leaf’s gel with water and any of your favorite sweeteners or flavorings. You can add lemon or cucumbers to the mix for that extra-fresh touch!
An aloe vera smoothie is the way to go: Very healthy and oh-so refreshing! Just blend the gel, your choice of milk (plant-based milk is another great alternative), along with your favorite fruits and vegetables, and there you go!
Aloe salad dressing
Aloe vera salad dressing?! Indeed! Mix aloe gel with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and your all-time favorite herbs and spices for a flavorful salad dressing that is also beneficial for your health.
Moving along with an aloe vera salsa recipe. Just combine chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, and aloe gel for a perfect-tasting salsa
Include your choice of vegetables and add some chopped aloe vera gel to your favorite go-to stir-fry recipe for a crunchy and nutritiously delicious taste!
***Please remember that while aloe vera carries nutritional benefits, it is essential to use it in moderation and follow safe food handling practices.