Aloe, aloe vera, Barbados aloe, medicine plant, lily of the desert
Fresh leaves, dried leaf resin, and gel extracted from fresh leaves
Southern and Eastern Africa
To harvest the gel from an aloe vera plant, it's important to choose a mature leaf that is at least 18 months old. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the leaf from the base of the plant. Once the leaf is removed, slice it open and use a spoon to scoop out the thick gel inside. To keep the gel fresh, store it in the refrigerator where it can last for a few weeks. Aloe vera gel has many uses, including as a natural remedy for sunburn and other skin irritations.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that can grow up to 3 feet tall and is commonly found in hot, dry climates such as Africa and India. The plant has thick, fleshy leaves that contain a clear gel-like substance, which is where the plant's healing properties come from. Aloe vera is easy to care for and can be grown indoors or outdoors in well-draining soil and full sun.
Aloe vera has a rich history dating back to ancient times. It was used in Egyptian embalming practices and mentioned in medical treatises and books of remedies. The plant was also favored by queens Cleopatra and Nefertiti for its cosmetic benefits. Today, aloe vera is still popular for its healing properties and is commonly used in herbalism and cosmetic preparations. It's no wonder why aloe vera remains a beloved plant both in homes and in the world of natural remedies. (1)
Aloe vera is a versatile plant that has been used for centuries for its healing properties. When applied topically, it can provide relief for a variety of skin conditions, including burns, wounds, and sunburns. Aloe vera is also a common ingredient in first-aid creams due to its ability to ease pain. When taken internally, aloe vera can act as a natural laxative, aid in digestion, reduce inflammation, and support kidney health. Recent studies have also shown that aloe vera may have antiviral properties, making it a potential treatment for viruses such as HIV.(2)
Aloe vera has been found to have potential benefits in managing chronic psoriasis. A study was conducted on 60 participants with moderate psoriasis, aged between 18-50 years old. They were divided into two groups, with one group receiving a 100 g tube of ointment containing 0.5% aloe extract, while the other group received a placebo. The participants applied their prescribed creams three times a day for 4 weeks and were examined weekly to measure healing. The study was double-blind and placebo-controlled, showing promising results for the use of aloe vera extract in managing psoriasis. (3).
Aloe vera has been found to be an effective and safe alternative treatment for psoriasis. In a study, 83.3% of patients who used a cream containing aloe vera extract were considered cured, with significant clearing of psoriatic plaques. In contrast, only 6.6% of the placebo group experienced a cure. The study concluded that topically applied aloe vera extract in a hydrophilic cream is more effective than a placebo and has no objective side effects. This makes aloe vera a promising option for individuals struggling with psoriasis. (4).
External: Apply leaf juice or gel topically as needed.
Internal: If using a commercial aloe product, follow the label’s dosage instructions.
While aloe vera has many health benefits, it is important to use caution when taking it internally. Aloe vera is a strong cathartic, meaning it can cause bowel movements, and should not be taken internally for more than 1-2 weeks. Prolonged internal use can lead to painful stomach cramps, diarrhea, and an imbalance of electrolytes in the body. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using aloe vera internally.(5).
(1) Gage, D. (1996). Aloe vera: Nature’s soothing healer. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
(2) Tenney, D. (1997). Aloe vera. Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Publishing.
(3) Syed, T.A., Ahmad, S.A., Holt, A.H., Ahmad, S.A., Ahmad, S.H., & Afzal, M. (1996). Management of psoriasis with aloe vera extract in a hydrophilic cream: A placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 1(4), 505-509. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-3156.1996.d01-91.x
(4) Syed, T.A., Ahmad, S.A., Holt, A.H., Ahmad, S.A., Ahmad, S.H., & Afzal, M. (1996). Management of psoriasis with aloe vera extract in a hydrophilic cream: A placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 1(4), 505-509. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-3156.1996.d01-91.x
(5) Gladstar, R. (2008). Rosemary Gladstar’s herbal recipes for vibrant health. Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.
(6)Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
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