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You hear people talking about Aloe all of the time, but it's not some new trend. People from all over have been using Aloe. For burns, digestive benefits, skin care, etc. Suddenly more and more people are paying attention to it's benefits. I think it's the rise of everyone wanting to go natural and be healthier. Which is great! There is no reason to go out and buy ready made Aloe products. Aloe is by far the easiest plant I have grown. I still have Big Mama as I call her. Big Mama has been around for over 10 years and is still popping out babies and as healthy as ever! After I go through some benefits of Aloe, I'll give you some simple tips on growing some as well as some great ways to use them.
As I write them I am recovering from a burn I accrued from simply not paying attention. My the fingers of my right hand were badly burned and in pain. It could have been worse but it was still pretty bad. I will have some blistering but thanks to quick thinking, my spawn and a sharp knife, my hand will heal just fine. I do not know what's it's like to live with Aloe and I don't want to! Now it's not just for burns, it just that people associate it with burns. That's what most people talk about when Aloe is somehow brought into a discussion.
But there are more benefits. Let's go over some.
Aloe may be 99% water but according to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids.4–6
- Vitamins: It contains vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, which are antioxidants. It also contains vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline. Antioxidant neutralizes free radicals.
- Enzymes: It contains 8 enzymes: aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically, while others help in the breakdown of sugars and fats.
- Minerals: It provides calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc. They are essential for the proper functioning of various enzyme systems in different metabolic pathways and few are antioxidants.
- Sugars: It provides monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides: (glucomannans/polymannose). These are derived from the mucilage layer of the plant and are known as mucopolysaccharides. The most prominent monosaccharide is mannose-6-phosphate, and the most common polysaccharides are called glucomannans [beta-(1,4)-acetylated mannan]. Acemannan, a prominent glucomannan has also been found. Recently, a glycoprotein with antiallergic properties, called alprogen and novel anti-inflammatory compound, C-glucosyl chromone, has been isolated from Aloe vera gel.7,8
- Anthraquinones: It provides 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds traditionally known as laxatives. Aloin and emodin act as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals.
- Fatty acids: It provides 4 plant steroids; cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol. All these have anti-inflammatory action and lupeol also possesses antiseptic and analgesic properties.
- Hormones: Auxins and gibberellins that help in wound healing and have anti-inflammatory action.
- Others: It provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. It also contains salicylic acid that possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Lignin, an inert substance, when included in topical preparations, enhances penetrative effect of the other ingredients into the skin. Saponins that are the soapy substances form about 3% of the gel and have cleansing and antiseptic properties.
There is no denying this plant is a superfood! Now what does all this mean? Well Aloe is just perfect for every part of your body! Drink it, put it on your skin, use it on your hair, even for those suffering with vaginal dryness and/or those wanting a natural personal lubricant. Really! A company called Good Clean Love makes an aloe based lubricant.
Now let's get to the even better stuff. Ways you can incorporate Aloe into your life.
There so many more ways to incorporate it into your daily life. Just search for what you want specifically and I am sure you will find it.
Now caring for an aloe is easy.
Aloes love sandy soil and medium dry soil. They do not like a lot of water but if you have them in sandy soil it will drain better. They grow easily in pots or in the ground. Stick some under a window to deter intruders. After all the thrones on this plant do hurt.
There will come a time you need to trim your plant down. You do not do it from the top. Dig up your Aloe and remove as many leaves as needed. Then simple cut the s talk. I know it make seem crazy. I promise you, the Aloe will be fine. It will grow roots again very quickly. When you place your Aloe back, be sure to stabilize it while it's growing it's roots again. Otherwise it will grow in a tilted position, so if you like that then don't worry! They love sun, but will deal with partial shade.
How do you use Aloe? Have some recipes you liked to share? Let me know in the comments below.