Ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality.”
It is a cactus plant that belongs to the Liliaceae family, (the same family that garlic and onions belong to).
It grows in dry climates such as Africa and India and has been used medicinally for centuries (but yes I grow this in my own garden).
Of course …What is… Aloe Vera Bob!
I say it every time but what an amazing ingredient! I find that meeting an ingredient in depth is a little like meeting someone new for the first time, you learn their name and some basic stuff and then if you get to know them you understand a bit more about how they operate. So let’s look a bit closer and learn some more about Aloe Vera. I’ve found it’s a plant of many talents.
Different parts of the plant are used for different effects on the body and Aloe Vera has both internal and external applications, our focus will be on the external ones of course. The leaves of the Aloe Vera plant secrete a clear gel substance, which is approximately 99% water, when broken off from the rest of the plant it can be applied topically to heal wounds and soothe skin. It contains over 200 active components including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, polysaccharide, and fatty acids - no wonder it’s used for such a wide range of remedies.
Aloe Vera gel contains two hormones: auxin and gibberellins. These two hormones provide wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce skin inflammation. Giberellin in Aloe Vera acts as a growth hormone stimulating the growth of new cells. It allows the skin to heal quickly and naturally with minimal scarring. This talent would help with acne problems and help to treat sun burn at the epithelial level of the skin. Used after shaving its healing properties can assist with the healing of small cuts. The natural abundance of anti-oxidants like beta carotene, vitamins C & E contained in Aloe Vera can improve the natural firmness of skin; keeping the skin hydrated, improving skin elasticity and minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
An excellent ingredient included in hair care Aloe Vera can assist with itchy scalp or scalp dryness and ease the itching associated with conditions such as psoriasis and eczema of scalp. Natural enzymes soothe and moisturise the scalp which helps to eliminate scalp dryness that causes dandruff.
Aloe Vera is really quite an incredible plant. The list of benefits and effects for this miraculous plant are many. Once again Mother Nature has provided us with a multi-talented ingredient that can be used alone or share its awesomeness when combined with others. I include it in many of my recipes because I believe it contributes in a big way to maintaining happy healthy humans.