The Aloe plant (scientific name Aloe vera) is a succulent originally from Africa. In the 16th century, Aloe Vera reached the West Indies, where farmers began the job of massive propagation. In modern times, it is one of the most available herbal remedies. It can easily be grown as an indoor plant, thus giving you the joy of its presence along with its curative properties. The character of Aloe Vera plant parts have been described in many ways. Its leaves are often described as hot, bitter and moist. Its gel is described as salty, bitter, cool and moist. Some products made from Aloe may not be suitable for pregnant or nursing women.
Because of its usefulness in treating many conditions, Aloe Vera is now propagated and used worldwide. Many herbal remedies contain extracts as an ingredient. Extracts and synthetic chemicals based on those found naturally in this plant are also included in many conventional lotions, shampoos, and soaps. Aloe Vera has been known to promote bile flow, heal wounds, stop bleeding, expel worms, and reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels. This succulent has also been known for its purgative, laxative, rejuvenating and anti-aging properties.
Testament of attributes comes to us across time and from all points on the globe. It is believed that related species of the Aloe Vera were used by tribal people as an antidote to the poisons used in arrows, and also to help the wound heal itself. We know that the Greeks and Romans made a gel from this plant to treat battle wounds. This succulent is also widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. In India, the gel from this plant has a longstanding reputation for its use as a cooling tonic. In traditional Indian Ayruveda medicine, Aloe Vera gel is used as a tonic for excess pitta (fire element).
The most common way to prepare the Aloe Vera plant is to use the gel. The gel is thick and mucilaginous. Many herbalists recommend that it be used as a first-aid cure for wounds, burns, and sunburn. This gel can help heal extremely dry skin, and is used in many commercial lotions. It can also be used to treat fungal infections such as ringworm. Gel extracts of the Aloe Vera plant have been successfully used to treat mouth ulcers. Steam inhalation of the gel has also been known to treat bronchial congestion. Recent research has also shown that Aloe Vera gel may be helpful in treating breast and liver cancers, as well as HIV.
The leaves of Aloe Vera, although much less commonly used, can also be helpful for several conditions. The purgative properties of the leaves have been taken advantage of for centuries. Yellow juice collected from the bottom of the leaves can also be prepared and used to treat chronic and stubborn constipation. It is also believed that the leaves of the Aloe Vera plant can be used to stimulate bile flow and to aid digestion. A tincture made from this succulent’s leaves can be taken as an appetite stimulant.
Here are several practical applications for different parts of the Aloe Vera plant. The gel can be applied directly to burns, wounds, fungal infections, insect bites, and areas of dry skin. If you decide to grow Aloe Vera, you will have it on hand whenever you need to use it. You can simply split a leaf open and apply the gel directly. You can also collect the gel from several split leaves to make an ointment.