Aloe Vera the succulent that keeps on giving

Aloe Vera has been used for centuries as a go-to soother for all types of ailments. This power healer succulent is a member of the lily plant family, and is also known by its latin name Aloe barbadensis.

For centuries, it has been medicinally used for an array of ailments such as mild fever, wounds and burns, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, sexual vitality and fertility problems to cancer, immune modulation, AIDS and various skin diseases such as acne, eczema and psoriasis amongst others.

Where does it come from?

A desert plant, Aloe vera has a long and substantial history as a plant used for medicinal healing, dating back to ancient Egypt. The name, aloe, is derived from the Arabic "alloeh" or Hebrew "halal" meaning bitter shiny substance. The Aloe vera plant is a member of the lily family and the plant is known as Aloe barbadensis in Latin. which is full of juice and is similar to a cactus. Although the plant originated from North Africa, it is now grown across Southern Europe, Mexico, the Canary Islands, with are over 250 species grown around the world.

The benefits of aloe vera to the western world, were discovered at the end of World War II after verifying that (the gel) cured the burns of people injured in the nuclear explosions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In1968, the stabilisation of the gel was made possible, which allows it to be transported worldwide.

Aloe Vera the succulent that keeps on giving

Aloe Vera is used widely in the cosmetic industry through skin preparations. You'll find aloe used in everything from astringents, and #cleansers to #serums and #skinmoisturisers. Hands down it is widely known to soften the skin, and restore dead skin cells and provides protection to the skin against environmental pollution. Clinical research suggests that topical application of an aloe-based gel twice daily may improve acne, speeds up the healing process of burns, greatly soothe #sunburn.

Aloe vera gel contains 95% water

Aloe vera gel is a well-known #naturalskincare ingredient and skin hydrator and uses water to move its nutrients around the plant. The plant thrives in dry, unstable climates and is able to retain water it (rarely) receives and can survive in drought ridden areas, its natural habitat. To survive harsh drought conditions, the plant’s leaves store water. These water-dense leaves, combined with special plant compounds called complex carbohydrates. Aloe Vera contains a majority of the necessary amino acids and vitamins that our skin needs to heal.

A study published by the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal examined Aloe Vera as a Potential to fight breast cancer based on therapeutic properties of aloe emodin, a compound found in the leaves of the plant. The authors of the study suggest this amazing plant showed signs of slowing the growth of breast cancer in trials, however more studies are still needed to advance this theory.

Five Unique benefits of Aloe vera to the body

Penetration aloe has the ability to reach deepest body

tissues some 7 layers deep Antiseptic aloe has at least 6 antiseptic agents which kill bacteria, viruses and fungi Stimulates cell growth aloe stimulates the birth of new healthy tissue Settles nerves aloe has a clearing effect on the body’s nervous system Cleanses aloe detoxifies and normalises the body’s metabolism

Get yourself an Aloe vera plant for home

Keeping Aloe Vera @home

If you are one to neglect watering your house plants, you're in luck, as Aloe is one of those plants which thrives on (water) neglect. It likes to find a nice spot and be left alone thank you very much. However, as a tropical or subtropical native, aloe vera do not survive in cold or draft places and must not be in an area below 40°F. A nice windowsill with do that does not get too much direct sunlight.

How to look after your Aloe plant

Light: Bright area, but never in indirect sun light.

Water: Go spare on the water, less is more. After watering, allow to dry out to at least 5cm deep before watering again. So not let your plant stand in water, this will rot the roots and stems.

Temperature: Average household temperatures above 15 is good.

Feed: Does not require additional feeding, but if your plant looks like it could do with a boost, apply a phosphorus-heavy, water-based fertiliser at half-strength during the springtime.

Authors note:

My Aloe plant thrives well in the kitchen, sitting pretty and dutifully on the kitchen counter in a corner near to a bright window, but out of direct sunlight. It happily watches and heals the burns and scrapes of our family from time to time and we use it often.

Overwatering and poor drainage will kill your plant and you don't want that.