Behold one of the most multi-tasking, health-promoting plants on the planet: Aloe Vera. The aloe vera cactus plant has been used medicinally for centuries and has even been referred to as the “plant of immortality.” That's right; the spiky, green gem has a rich history of various cultures and personalities who used the plant's moist middle in a plethora of practical uses. Like Cleopatra who applied the gel to her body as part of her beauty regimen, the ancient Greeks who used it to cure everything from baldness to insomnia to the Native Americans who called aloe vera the "Wand of the Heaven." Read on for both the topical and internal benefits of the juice or gel of aloe vera, and how to use it effectively.
Treats sunburn. One of the most common uses of aloe is for healing sunburns. You can often find aloe vera gel in stores to treat sunburns, but fresh aloe vera straight from the leaves of the plant heals them most effectively. Just take a leaf of the plant, split it in half and squeeze out the juice. You can add a little vitamin E to this and apply the mixture directly to the sunburn.
Promotes digestive health. When taken internally, aloe vera juice can help with digestion and bowel regularity, and can be detoxifying. Aloe has cleansing properties for the digestive tract. Be sure to read label directions before ingesting aloe vera juice since it can have laxative effects.
Boosts immunity. Aloe contains many antioxidants that fight free radicals and also can boost the immune system. Raw, fresh aloe gel contains amino acids and essential vitamins and minerals that fight off illnesses. Squeeze a bit of gel into your morning smoothie when you are feeling a little run down.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Using aloe topically can be a wonderful astringent. It fights inflammation, which makes it a great choice to battle acne. It reduces swelling and redness and also has bacteria-fighting properties to keep skin clear and healthy.
Acts as an anti-fungal. Aloe can help treat infections such as athlete’s foot because of it’s antifungal properties. To try: Mix a few drops of tea tree oil into aloe vera gel and apply to the feet twice a day.
Promotes dental health. Not only can aloe vera gel help fight cavities, but since it’s a healing plant, it can help treat canker sores, gum disease and mouth wounds. To try: Swish aloe vera juice to help ease these dental ailments.