One of my fondest childhood memories is coming home from a day at the beach, and cutting an Aloe Vera leaf to put its gel on my sunburned shoulders. As a pale skinned girl living in Costa Rica, I can say that I’ve had quite the experiences with sunburns, and Aloe Vera was the BEST remedy to heal my skin! This “immortality plant”, as the Egyptians called it, is definitely one of my favorite super foods, and it’s great to be able to share with you the health benefits that can be obtained from it.
There are many Aloe Vera species, but according to studies, the Aloe Vera Barbadensis Miller has the most health and beauty benefits. It has a big and long leaf, thick green outer layer, and thorns on the sides. You want to have access to the gel inside of the leaf, because this is where the goodies are.
To obtain the gel, ‘fillet’ or cut the Aloe Vera leaf with a knife, remove the thorns from the sides, and separate the gel from the skin. Once you do this you can eat the gel – Yes eat it! The thin gel that remains on the inner part of the leaf can be used for your skin.
This article will show you the health benefits you can obtain from Aloe Vera when using it on your skin. I also have an article that discusses the health benefits of eating Aloe Vera, and I’ll tell you several ways you can include it in your diet – CHECK THAT JUICY ARTICLE OUT HERE!
Benefits of topical use of Aloe Vera gel
Hydrates the skin and reduces wrinkles.
This plant helps maintain young looking skin. It’s said that Cleopatra’s secret to maintaining beautiful skin was due to Aloe Vera. The gel contains polysaccharides, which stimulate collagen formation (a protein necessary for skin regeneration) and elastin fibers, which help to promote the elasticity of the skin, making it less wrinkled. The amino acids in the gel also soften hardened skin cells and its zinc content helps to tighten the pores.
Helps heal skin burns (from heat, ultra violet rays, and other forms of radiation).
When applied consistently to the burned area, the Aloe Vera gel can help accelerate the skin’s healing response due to the properties of acemannan, a polysaccharide found in its gel.
Helps heal wounds and reduce scarring.
Aloe Vera helps to heal wounds by stimulating collagen formation and mobilizing blood flow to the hurt area, allowing for a faster recovery. To reduce the appearance of a scar, apply the Aloe Vera multiple times a day while the wound is still healing. For best results, use the pure Aloe Vera gel from a fresh leaf.
On a side note: The medicinal uses of Aloe Vera have been used for centuries. Alexander the Great’s armies actually carried this plant with them on military campaigns. So consider carrying an Aloe Vera leaf when going hiking or any other outside activity! It’s an excellent addition to your first aid kit. Since the gel has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic properties, it nourishes the injury, while sealing the wound and fighting against outside infection. It also helps with insect bites, insect stings, jellyfish stings, rashes, punctures, skin allergies, infections, and even bruises.
Works as an anti-inflammatory agent reducing joint and muscle pain.
Aloe Vera reduces inflammation when applied topically due to its enzyme bradykinase. The gel helps ease the inflammation of the joints, hence reducing arthritis pain. (Good results have been shown when the gel is used topically for several weeks).
Helps heal gum disease (gingivitis).
Aloe Vera gel is shown to be very helpful in reducing bleeding, inflammation, and swelling of the gums.
Other topical uses.
It also helps with abrasions, acne, athlete’s foot, eczema, hemorrhoids, and psoriasis.
The beauty and health benefits that can be obtained from a single leaf are astounding! Remember to check out my other article to find how Aloe Vera gel can contribute to your health, by making it part of your diet.
If you have ever used Aloe Vera before or are thinking you might start now that you know all these amazing benefits, let me know about it in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you! Also, let’s help Aloe get more recognition! Please help spread the word about this amazing plant by sharing it with friends and family using the social links below.
See you soon!
Image courtesy of markuso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Book: Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Michael Murray, N.D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D.
Book: Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M. Hass, MD with Buck Levin, phD, RD.
Book: Superfoods by David Wolfe
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – article 1
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – article 2
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – article 3