It has of course been around for longer than that, but I’m speaking about my own personal use and experience with both.
Aloe vera comes from a cactus family and grows like a weed in New Zealand, so I never really thought much of it growing up. But when my love for raw food sprouted and my interest for holistic healing boomed- I would find myself stumbling across the benefits of Aloe vera in readings everywhere.
So now as I visit my parents in their [semi new] Land of Longevity residence, I’d pretty much be bathing in the cactus goo or adding it to smoothies everyday. On my first visit there, I bought an entire plant for US$1, thinking I’d just use it all up over two weeks. But within days, as it sat outside, its roots started to reach and beg for the ground. Now the plant has its prominent spot in my parents’ garden and has even self-propagated numerous times.
In London, I would often buy a leaf at the Asian or Caribbean markets and would ‘milk’ its use for as long as I can, like there’s been some sort of deficit, until it occurred to me that if I go to a near-by Plant Nursery- they may just sell Aloe vera as an ornamental plant. Success!
Now I have my very own brand new addition to the Health Family and here are...
SEVEN WAYS TO USE ALOE VERA
1) Like a moisturiser. Whether you are acne-prone, suffer from dryness, more serious skin conditions like psoriasis or seborrhoea dermatitis or just after an effective oil-free moisturizer, give Aloe a go. It is a natural humectant, so it increases water retention in the skin, and helps calm irritation and inflammation by feeding your skin vital nutrients, antioxidants and enzymes.
2) As a laxative. Though I can’t speak from personal experience on using Aloe vera for this matter, I hear rave reviews on the wonders of juicing the entire part of the leaf to relieve constipation. Because it contains barbaloin, a solid fibrous compound, it is very effective at causing your bowel muscles to contract. It is never recommended to become reliant on laxatives, since you can develop lazy bowel syndrome, but rather for a period of 5-10 days as treatment. Here's how>>
3) For healthy hair. Aloe vera can be found in some of the best shampoos and conditioners, which aren’t silicone-based. So why not apply it directly to your hair to control frizz (think eye brows too!)? The slightly acidic pH of Aloe gel will even help to seal the hair cuticle. If you ever experience an itchy or dry scalp, do apply the gel directly to your head too!
4) On burns and wounds. Aloe vera has a lovely soothing and cooling effect, so it is often the main ingredient in creams for treating cooking burns and minor skin infections. It is well known for its anti-microbial and anti fungal properties to keep wounds clean. Apparently it doesn’t work on sunburns however, but I like to think otherwise- it’s always worked its magic to cool and calm my skin and is my personal number one choice for sunburn relief.
5) As a shaving gel. Traditional shaving creams contain a plethora of synthetic additives, carcinogens, contaminants and other stuff, which I am no expert in, but do know for a fact, that something which may seem innocent enough has high chances of entering your blood stream via the pores of your skin. Aloe vera is anti inflammatory, so its kind to skin, has a slippery gel texture, so it’s ideal for a close shave and contains 99% water, so it will even leave your legs, face or under arms hydrated.
6) For a face mask. I love making up my own face masks and feeding my skin with everything yummy, nourishing and natural. I like to combine Aloe gel with a little cinnamon (a little!), high UMF raw honey and oats for a nice refreshing and taught mask. The oats are slightly course too, so when you wash the mask off, it acts like a natural scrub at the same time.
7) For digestion and immunity. Aloe contains acemanna, a powerful stimulant to the immune system. Experts from the Moores Cancer Centre at the University of California found that Aloe vera helps the immune system by attacking abnormal cells during cancer treatments. This also helps assist digestion and absorption of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and amino acids in your diet. I try to add at least 2cm of aloe inner gel to my desserts and smoothies 4 times / week.
If you are not so keen on fussing around with fresh Aloe Vera leaves and want the ready gel in a bottle, Patrick Holford, author of The Optimum Nutrition Bible, recommends that “what you should look for is the amount of MPS (mucopolysaccharide precipitating solids) per litre. You want more than 10,000 MPS for a high-quality product.”
My favourite Aloe vera products are by Forever Living. I've been using their amazing non-fluoride tooth gel with aloe vera and bee propolis for quite some time and recently started taking the Aloe Vera Gel Drink daily. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know how fussy I am when it comes to products, so rest assured that I've done my background checks and can't recommend these products enough. Feel free to text your address to 07760577459 and I'll send you a brochure or go straight to the online store and order yours at www.aloe-store.myflpbiz.com .
WHAT DO YOU USE ALOE VERA FOR?