Aloe Vera | Why You Should Start Using Aloe Vera | Skin, Hair, Health Benefits
Aloe Vera (Ghritkumari)
Aloe Vera (Kattarvazha) is extensively used in beauty products. Over time, it has seamlessly integrated itself into everything we use. The plant is about one or two feet tall with prickly and bitter leaves, which act as a defense to keep animals and insects from feeding on the plant. The leaves hold a gooey translucent gel, also extremely bitter, and known all over the world for its unbelievable healing properties. Another part of the plant which is used is the ‘sap’, a yellow-colored liquid stuck to the skin of the plant from the inside.
Aloe Vera Benefits
Aloe Vera can treat, exfoliate, restore, reveal and provide constant, impressive nutrition to the human skin. Apply the aloe vera gel to your skin, you’ll notice how soothing and cooling it is. Ayurveda refers to aloe vera as the miracle herb that can be used to treat wounds, minor cuts, dry skin and severe burns.
It is rich in Vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene which gives it its nourishing and anti-aging qualities. It can moisturize the skin without making it greasy, which makes it a great buy for those with oily skin. Drinking aloe vera juice early in the morning on an empty stomach improves digestion and cures any kind of stomach trouble.
It can improve the effectiveness of your diet and maximize your weight-loss potential. With ample amounts of vitamins and minerals that contribute to weight-loss, as well as amino acids, enzymes and sterols, aloe vera ensure your diet is not only supportive of weight-loss, but also improves the body’s absorption and utilization, improving overall health.
Take the gel, dice it into small pieces and blend. Now mix a bit of this with some other fruit or vegetable juice that’s preferably sweet. You can also use the leaves of aloe vera, blend them, strain and drink. If you find it too bitter then mix it up with honey and drink. You can also add some lemon to this mix.
It contains proteolytic enzymes which repair dead skin cells on the scalp. Acts as a great conditioner and leaves your hair all smooth and shiny. It promotes hair growth, prevents itching on the scalp, reduces dandruff and conditions your hair. Aloe vera rejuvenates the hair with its own nutrients, giving it more elasticity and preventing breakage. Mix equal quantities of aloe vera juice and extra virgin coconut oil. Apply and leave it in for as long as possible for strong, smooth and bouncy hair.
It is as effective as any toothpaste when it comes to maintaining oral health. 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.
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.
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.
Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that brings with it a treasure trove of benefits. The best way to enjoy it, without the fear of added chemicals, is to grow it in your own kitchen garden or balcony. It takes very little to look after an aloe vera plant, but the benefits you get in return are many. So go ahead, invent your time and money into a healthier you today!