What is aloe vera?
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant with healing properties that have been known for thousands of years. Its many wonderful properties were already known in ancient Greece and Egypt, and the plant was used in a variety of ways, such as to soothe burns and help wounds to heal.
Later, the plant became widespread, and is grown all over the world. Today, many people have one in their homes, where it is useful as well as decorative. In the 1960s, there was a surge of interest in the benefits of aloe vera, which was used in new and different ways in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. The market has grown steadily ever since. Today, aloe vera is not only applied for external use in skin-care products, but is also available for consumption as juice, drinks and dietary supplements.
Aloe vera – a little plant, but highly effective
Aloe vera has a long list of healing properties, so it is helpful for a multitude of conditions and skin problems. It is also used preventively, to create balance in the digestive system and the rest of the body, although not everything has been proved scientifically. People have known about the plant and used it for thousands of years, and luckily, they still do today.
Aloe vera is not medicine, but a completely natural substance with a large number of fantastic properties. Not many other plants can boast of being so versatile. That is why aloe vera is used for widely different purposes, and it is available in many different forms, both for internal and external use. You can use products with aloe vera in your daily skin care, and you can use sun cream and other types of cream containing aloe vera all over your body, or you can take it in drinks and juice products.
What is aloe vera good for?
Aloe vera has a very long list of positive properties – it may be a small plant, but it is really highly effective. We have only mentioned a selection of ailments that aloe vera can be used to cure, prevent or soothe – although please note that not all aloe vera’s properties have been scientifically proved:
- Aloe vera gives a boost of vitamins, since it contains many of them, including vitamins A, C and E, several B-vitamins, folic acid, and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium.
- Aloe vera contains lots of amino acids, among them the eight which are really important for your body, and a number of fatty acids, which help to reduce the risk of allergy, help with digestive problems, and lower fat levels in the blood.
- Aloe vera is what is known as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body to withstand disease and stress. It adapts itself and normalises body balance, strengthening the immune response, and it has a calming and energising effect. Ginseng is another well-known adaptogen.
- Aloe vera is useful against digestive problems, as it cleanses and soothes the digestive system.
- Aloe Vera absorbs toxic substances as it goes through the digestive canal, and has a detoxifying effect, removing waste products and toxins from the body.
- Aloe vera is a basic plant, which can help to adjust the acid-base balance in the body.
- Aloe vera strengthens the immune response through its content of antioxidants.
- Aloe vera helps skin to heal, and is therefore effective against burns, insect bites and grazed skin, and it is also effective against psoriasis, eczema and other skin complaints. Beside softening the skin, aloe vera is soothing and reduces pain and itching.
- Aloe vera is antibacterial and is also known to be useful against fungal infection.
- Aloe vera can help to reduce inflammation in the body.
- It can stabilise the scalp and reduce dandruff and oily scalp.
Not all natural remedies smell and taste particularly good. Aloe vera has a fine, gentle scent and a pleasant taste, while the plant is fresh and green and looks attractive if you want one in your home.
Do you know the aloe vera plant?
The aloe vera plant is a perennial succulent with thick leaves. It is greyish green on the underside, with a bluish dew effect. The leaves are full of water in the form of a gel with 96 % moisture content.
There are more than 300 different varieties of the aloe vera plant. Far from all of them have healing properties, however. The aloe vera plants with these special properties are called medicinal aloe vera.
The plant can grow anywhere as long as the soil is warm. It cannot withstand frost. It is an hardy plant, and can grow on poor, gravelly soil. It has been cultivated all over the world where the climate is suitable, in Southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the East and the USA. It is believed originally to have come from South Africa.
A ‘burns plant’ in the home
Many people have an aloe vera plant in their homes. It is beautifully decorative – it looks like a cactus, although it is not a true cactus. It is very easy to look after, and requires practically no care or watering; it must simply be placed where there is light, but not direct sunlight, and then it must not have too much water. An aloe vera plant can live for up to ten years.
Many people simply have an aloe vera plant because it is decorative and looks like a cactus, but does not prick fingers as a cactus does. Others have an aloe vera because they know what it can be used for apart from being merely decorative. You can easily break off a leaf and use the clear gel inside it to ease the discomfort of burns, sunburn, skin abrasions, wounds, insect bites and many other things, but it is often used for eczema, psoriasis and other skin complaints too.
Years ago, aloe vera was known as the ‘burns plant’. With a plant like that handy, there was always an effective remedy for burns, skin grazes and a lot of other problems.
Aloe vera as a strengthening drink
An aloe vera drink is an easy way to get a daily dose of aloe vera in a concentrated liquid form. Just take a couple of spoonfuls a day, and your needs will be covered. Aloe vera drink is available in its natural flavour, or with apple flavour if you prefer. You can drink it as it is, or mix it with a smoothie or juice.
Aloe Vera drink can help to balance your digestion and the rest of your body. Note, however, that what follows is an assumption about how aloe vera works in your body, and, unfortunately, it has not been scientifically proved. Drinking aloe vera can among other things:
- strengthen your immune response,
- soothe pyrosis and heartburn,
- correct the acid-base balance, since aloe vera is basic, and we often consume to many acidic foods and drinks,
- normalise balance in the stomach and prevent both constipation and loose bowels,
- reduce bloated stomach,
- ensure more stable blood sugar levels,
- cleanse your body of accumulated waste and toxins.
Aloe Vera drink can also be used as a mouth wash if you prefer products with natural ingredients when you need one. Aloe vera is known to be beneficial for sore gums and irritated gingiva, periodontitis, blisters in the mouth, bad breath and sore throat.
A good idea to have Aloe Vera gel in the house
Pure aloe vera gel is the clear gel that you can see in the middle of an aloe vera leaf if you break it off the plant. However, you should avoid the yellowish green juice around it, as it has a slight laxative effect and can irritate the skin.
The term aloe vera gel is often used to mean aloe vera as a jelly or cream in a tube as well. If you have a tube of concentrated aloe vera in the house, you will always have an effective remedy for irritation from sunburn, minor burns, insect bites, skin grazes, small cuts and whatever else may happen. Additionally, the gel effectively soothes skin irritation and red spots after shaving and hair removal.
Aloe vera gel is soothing and cooling, and stops skin itching. Besides, the gel softens the skin, promotes rapid healing and restores the skin.
You can make your own aloe vera gel, but it requires a number of processes and knowledge about what you are doing – and it also requires quite a lot of aloe vera plants if your efforts are to yield even a small amount of aloe vera gel. That is why most people prefer to buy ready-made aloe vera gel, and luckily, you can always find one that consists exclusively of pure, natural ingredients.
Aloe vera juice gives your body a boost
Aloe vera has many healing properties, and you can benefit from them every day by including a little glass of aloe vera juice in your daily diet.
Among other things, aloe vera juice can:
- normalise the balance in the stomach and prevent constipation,
- reduce inflammation and swelling in the body,
- provide a high concentration of vitamins and minerals,
- cleanse and detoxify the body, removing accumulated waste and toxins,
- regulate the body's cholesterol balance,
- help to give stable blood sugar levels,
- promote good oral hygiene, healthy gums and gingiva and fresh breath,
- keep the mouth fresh, firmed-up and strong.
You can drink your aloe vera juice undiluted, or mix it in a smoothie or other juice if you prefer. Just like everything else, aloe vera juice must be taken in moderation. It is a safe product, but over-use may cause diarrhoea, so always follow the instructions on the bottle.
An aloe vera cure may be able to detox the body
If your body needs a thorough clean-out, an aloe vera cure might be the right answer. Aloe Vera is good if you are detoxing, because it may have a cleansing effect. It will then cleanse the body of waste and toxins, which will give you more energy. Additionally, aloe vera contains lots of minerals and vitamins, and taking a daily dose of aloe vera may also help weight loss.
Aloe Vera is an ingredient in what is known as the C9-kur. This is a cleansing programme that extends over nine days, in which you primarily live on aloe vera, fibre and shakes.
FAQ about aloe vera
What is aloe vera good for?
Aloe vera has many healing properties, because the plant contains large quantities of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Aloe vera can be taken to give a vitamin boost, and it is good against stress, digestive problems, and much more. In addition, aloe vera has an antibacterial effect; it softens the skin and is soothing, eases pain, and stops itching. Aloe vera is therefore highly suitable for many types of skin care.
What is aloe vera?
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that has been known for thousands of years for its incredible healing properties. Aloe vera can be used externally in skin-care products, and also internally, taken as juice, drinks and dietary supplements.
What is an aloe vera drink good for?
Aloe vera drinks strengthen the body and balance the stomach. When you drink aloe vera, you strengthen your immune system, and adjust the body’s acid-base balance, since you stabilise the stomach and prevent or ease both constipation and diarrhoea, and it clears out waste products and toxins that may have accumulated in the system. However, this has not all been proved scientifically.
What can I use aloe vera for?
Aloe vera is useful for a wide range of purposes, which are all connected with caring for the skin and strengthening the whole body. Today, aloe vera is available in many different products for external use (skin care etc.) and internal use (as a drink, juice or dietary supplement).
Why drink aloe vera juice?
Aloe vera juice strengthens the body in many different ways, for example by providing a boost of vitamins and minerals, balancing digestion, cleansing and detoxifying the body, regulating the cholesterol balance and blood sugar level, and keeping the skin firm, strong and fresh. However, this has not all been proved scientifically.
What is aloe vera gel?
Pure aloe vera gel is the clear gel that you can see in the middle of an aloe vera leaf if you break it in half. You can get aloe vera gel in a tube, so that you always have aloe vera in the house – ready to treat sun scorching, minor burns, insect bites, grazed skin, small cuts and whenever you need a soothing, cooling and disinfectant remedy that heals and stops itching.
Can you eat aloe vera?
The clear gel in the middle of an aloe vera leaf can be eaten or used for skin care. However, you should avoid the yellowish green juice around it: this has a slight laxative effect and can irritate the skin. It will require a lot of aloe vera plants if you want to make your own aloe vera products. It is therefore quickest and easiest to buy the products ready made for direct use: creams for skin care and juice or drinks for internal use.