Aloe Vera (Ghritkumari) – The Plant of Immortality – Health Benefits
What is Aloe Vera ?
Aloe Vera is a plant species of the genus Aloe. It grows wild in tropical climates around the world and is cultivated for agricultural and medicinal uses. Aloe is also used for decorative purposes and grows successfully indoors as a potted plant. It is found in many consumer products including beverages, skin lotion, cosmetics, or ointments for minor burns and sunburns. There is little scientific evidence of the effectiveness or safety of these extracts for either cosmetic or medicinal purposes.
It is a succulent plant and stores water in its leaves, which are thick and fleshy. The leaves produce two substances – the gel, which is more or less water with several other nutrients mixed in, and the sap, which is also known as aloe latex.
Uses For Skin
Effective In Treating Rashes and Cuts
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera gel is effective in calming insect bites and rashes on the skin. You can use it as a topical treatment even for small cuts. The soothing property of aloe vera gel makes it effective to be used as an after shave lotion. You can also use it after waxing or shaving your arms and legs. It’ll cool your skin and replenish the lost moisture.
Helps With Sunburns
It acts a protective layer for the skin to replenish the moisture. It provides great healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin. Because of its high antioxidant content, the skin heals faster.
Refrigerate aloe vera gel for a couple of hours and apply a generous amount on sun burnt skin. It would give instant cooling and would also heal your skin.
Prevents Premature Aging
It’s leaf is enriched with a host of antioxidants like beta-carotene, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. All these ingredients improve your skin’s texture and help keep the natural firmness intact. Aloe moisturizes the skin, and it also helps remove dead cells. In fact, research has proven that it improves the elasticity of skin and makes it smoother and more supple.
Uses For Hair
It’s gel is very effective in removing dead skin cells and unclogs your pores. The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties fight against infection. Dandruff can be caused by a number of reasons. An oily scalp, accumulation of dead cells, or even an infection can be the cause. And aloe helps out on all fronts. It removes dead cells from your scalp that can clog your hair.
A Great Conditioner
It is rich in proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes remove dead cells and help in cell regeneration, thus, repairing your hair. It nourishes and strengthens your hair and gives it a natural shine as well.
Mix equal parts aloe vera gel and water in a spray bottle. Spray this concoction at the ends of your hair. It’ll keep frizz at bay and give you silky smooth hair.
Uses for Health
Maintains Oral Health
Aloe vera is as effective as any toothpaste when it comes to maintaining oral health. It treats wounds in the mouth and helps keep your gums moisturized. It also reduces swelling and inflammation of gums. The anti-bacterial properties keep cavity-causing germs at bay.
Aloe vera gel, owing to its antibacterial properties, can help fight against cavity-causing bacteria. It also helps with diseases that cause gum inflammation, particularly periodontitis.
Aloe vera is rich in antioxidants. These antioxidants bind with the free radicals and help manage the inflammation
You can easily buy aloe vera drink and drink it. Using aloe vera capsules is also a good idea. Aloe vera juice can also prove useful in arthritis and rheumatism.
Aloe vera causes cells to produce nitric oxide and cytokines which give that much-needed boost to your immune system.
How To Select
For harvesting the gel, it is best that you use the outermost leaves. They tend to be fleshier than the newer ones, and therefore contain more gel. Make a clean cut with a sharp knife as close to the base as possible. Then, place the leaves upright for a while so that the sap drains out. This is a very important step if you are planning on consuming aloe vera.
After the leaves have been cleared of the sap, peel off the outermost green layer. This leaves you with the clear gel, which you can scoop out with a spoon. If you are planning on ingesting the aloe vera gel, do so immediately.
How To Store
For topical application, it can be stored for a longer time in the refrigerator. Always use a sterilized container to store your gel in order to keep it from spoiling. For a longer shelf life, you may add a few drops of vitamin E to it.
Using Aloe Vera topically does not come with any significant side effects. However, consuming it could cause blood sugar levels to go down – so diabetic patients should be cautious if they are taking it as a remedy for piles.