Ancient Aloe

With razor sharp spikes that line the leaves, the aloe plant seems to be protecting itself, but what would be so valuable inside to require such a shield? The Egyptians didn’t call it “the plant of immortality” for nothing. Each leaf contains a myriad of vitamins and minerals including: vitamins A, C, E, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, chromium, fiber, amino acids, enzymes, sterols, and lignins — just to name a few. When we take a look inside the plant we find a clear, jelly like substance that can then be extracted and used both topically for skin conditions or ingested internally for a vitamin boost and overall health. Those with sensitive skin might be well aware of the benefits of aloe vera.

Aloe acts as both a skin enhancer as well as a protector of its homeostasis. Cleopatra gets ancient street cred for using it as part of her beauty regimen. It wasn’t just baths of milk and honey that left her with soft skin, but application of the aloe that left her cells hydrated in the hot desert. Speaking of the desert, spending too much time in the sun and achieving that not so pleasant burn may require something as cooling and helpful as aloe. It heals the skin while supporting the replication of healthy epithelial cells. Aloe helps with sunburns and it’s known to be a remedy for countless other skin conditions. In Ayurveda tradition, it has been used effectively to heal chronic skin problems such as psoriasis, acne and eczema”. In addition, those with stretch marks or any other type of skin wounds should try applying the leaf directly to it and watch the plant restore and repair your skin.

These are only a few of the skin benefits of the aloe plant and if you want to take it a step further you can ingest the aloe to experience its internal benefits. It’s long chain polysaccharides help boost the immune system, add flexibility and act as an aid if you’re trying to lose weight. The fresh aloe vera is preferable to the bottled or powdered form, and you can purchase it at your local supermarket, order it online or even grow it at home. Once you have your leaf, filet the aloe and now you are in action! You’ve unpacked a magic bullet for both your skin and your body. If you are using it for a skin condition, just apply the gel directly onto the skin (or even the inside of the leaf) for several hours. If you want to use it internally, try it in smoothies or drinks.  It worked for Cleopatra.

Quotes from:

Wolfe, David. “Aloe Vera.” Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. Berkeley: North Atlantic, 2009. 165-79. Print.

 Rocchino, Elizabeth. “The Benefits Of Using Aloe Vera For Skin Care And More.” MindBodyGreen. N.p., 7 Feb. 2013. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.