Aloe vera, used since ancient times, has many beneficial properties and therapeutic indications. It is an anti-inflammatory and healing plant, useful for immune defenses, to protect and repair tissues and to safeguard against autoimmune rheumatological diseases.
Aloe barbadensis Miller is a plant with long and thick, dark-green leaves with yellow spots, consisting of an outermost part, containing a bitter latex, and an inner part composed of a gelatinous layer. Native to tropical Africa, it now grows in other continents as well. For therapeutic purposes only the gelatinous part is used, in the form of juices, dry extracts and dermatological preparations.
Properties and benefits of aloe vera
Aloe is considered the queen of medicinal plants. Its field of action is vast: biological stimulant, purifying, detoxifying, super-nourishing, immunostimulant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
Aloe Vera promotes healing and has a calming and soothing effect on inflamed tissues, reducing pain and swelling. It is also used to treat insect bites, contact allergies, dermatitis, eczema, erythema, itchy scalp, mycosis and mouth ulcers. Many mothers use it for the hygiene and care of their babies and children.
Studies report that aloe vera juice has significant effects of purification and detoxification of the body. Not only that, its saccharides adhere to the walls of the intestine forming a protective barrier that prevents the absorption of harmful substances. Aloe Vera juice also exerts a toning action on the digestive system, reducing intestinal putrefaction. Therefore, it is particularly suitable for those who eat foods containing many preservatives, for allergy sufferers, for those living in polluted environments, for those with gastrointestinal problems and for those suffering from chronic fatigue.
3. Stimulates the immune system
Aloe contains acemannan, a sugar with antiviral, anti-inflammatory and above all anti-tumor properties. It stimulates the production of macrophages, white blood cells that destroy cancer cells.
Aloe is particularly effective in preventing different types of cancer (colon, prostate, breast, lungs, ovaries and brain). Not only that, this plant is a valid support for radiotherapy and chemotherapy, as it limits their negative effects such as hair loss, nausea, burns.
Aloe is able to quickly repair tissues and membranes. Therefore, it is used not only on burns but also on wounds, eczema and blisters, to accelerate healing.
1. Skin care
Aloe has a dermo protective, moisturizing and emollient action. For this reason, this plant is abundantly used by the beauty industry in soaps, creams and shower gels. The gel of this plant, besides being an excellent remedy in case of burn or against irritation, can also be used in anti-aging treatments thanks to vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. Aloe vera hydrates the skin and stimulates its regeneration by increasing the production of collagen. In addition, it is an excellent post-epilating soother for the legs, hands and face.
2. Hair care
Aloe is an exceptional conditioner as it makes hair shiny and protects the scalp. For its wealth of vitamins and minerals and proteolytic enzymes, aloe is also excellent as an anti-dandruff and anti-psoriasis treatment.
3. Teeth care
Aloe is an effective bactericide. It cleans the canals and contrasts the plaque. Furthermore, its coagulating action is also effective on mouth ulcers and on wounds inside the oral cavity.
4. Base ingredient for body scrub
To gently exfoliate the skin of the body you can use aloe vera in two different ways. During a nice relaxing bath, take an aloe leaf cut lengthwise and apply the inside of the leaf on the body like a scrub, while rinsing in the shower. For a more exfoliating effect, you can use the aloe gel as a basic ingredient for a body scrub, adding olive oil and sugar or salt. Pass it gently on moistened skin and rinse.
5. Remedy against irritation from shaving and hair removal
Aloe vera gel is often used as a soothing remedy after shaving or hair removal, as it helps disinfect and heal small wounds. However, it can also be used before these operations, so as to make the skin less exposed to irritation. You can also apply aloe gel even in the case of small scars, so as to make them less evident, improving their appearance.
6. Excellent for the beauty and well-being of the feet
Aloe vera can be an excellent remedy in case of tired feet. After the foot bath, massage them using a little aloe vera gel with the addition of a few drops of lavender essential oil. You will thus have fresh and rested feet. In case of blisters, on the other hand, to eliminate pain and discomfort, rub the aloe gel on the affected area or use the pulp to make a compress. Spread it on the blisters, cover with a bandage and let it act for at least half an hour.
How to choose aloe vera gel?
The aloe vera plant can also be grown on your balcony: to be placed in a sunny place. In this case you can extract the gel directly from the leaves. If you are unable to grow it, you can purchase aloe vera gel from health food stores and health food stores. But pay attention to the composition of the ingredients, before buying and prefer aloe vera from organic cultivation.
In the best products you will find aloe as the first ingredient, referred to as aloe barbadensis, and then preservatives such as potassium sorbate and citric acid. Usually, the gel obtained from aloe vera is considered an excellent remedy even in case of sensitive skin, especially if you choose products without fragrances and preservatives, such as parabens.
The active ingredients of aloe
The aloe plant contains 200 active compounds and over 75 nutrients including:
- 20 minerals, including calcium, chromium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, zinc.
- 18 amino acids out of the 20 needed by the body
- 12 vitamins, including A, C, D, E and group B
- enzymes necessary for all vital processes
- vegetable saccharides, saponins and sterols
How to use aloe vera?
The gel was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as an excellent remedy for sunburn, wounds and skin inflammations and is still an ideal first intervention remedy. In external applications, the use of the gel accelerates healing by 50 percent. Among the products on the market it is better to choose those that contain 100 percent pure gel. Tablets and other extracts are less effective as enzymes are destroyed by heat treatments.
Internally, aloe juice can be used to promote recovery from candidiasis, gum disease, digestive disorders, stomach ulcers, states of weakness or anemia due to absorption. Just make sure that it comes from certified, organic and pure crops.
In addition to the numerous beneficial effects, Aloe, in case of internal use, can present unusual side effects, which should not be ignored.
Moderation is needed to fully enjoy the properties of this plant. An overdose of aloe can lead to dehydration, stomach spasms and intestinal cramps. Therefore, a long-term use is not recommended, it is preferable to make treatment cycles.
Aloe should not be used by children under 12 and pregnant & breastfeeding women. It should also not be used during the menstrual cycle. In addition, aloe can interact with diuretic, digitalis, antiarrhythmic and cortisone drugs.
Aloe vera juice: how and how much to consume?
Aloe vera juice is drunk on an empty stomach, a quarter of an hour before breakfast. You can drink it pure or diluted in water or in your juice. Avoid drinking it with hot drinks because there is a risk of altering vitamins.
The recommended maximum daily dose 50 ml. A daily consumption of 20 to 30 ml is ideal for enjoying all the benefits of this plant.
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