You’ve probably seen Aloe Vera plants at your local nursery. These easy-to-care-for plants are favorites with the house plant crowd. In warm climates, you’ll also find them as landscape plants. They’re quite attractive, and you don’t need a ‘green thumb’ to grow them. What may come as news is that Aloe Vera plants are often referred to as ‘the miracle plant,’ and with good reason. The gel and Aloe Vera juice of this plant have so many medicinal and cosmetic uses, as well as a long list of essential nutrients. The Egyptians were well aware of these qualities – Cleopatra is said to have used Aloe Vera in her beauty regimens. Aloe Vera was also well known as a medicinal agent, used in ancient Greece, Rome, India, China, and Babylonia.
Today, the most commonly known use for Aloe Vera plants is as a remedy for burns. If you’ve ever burned yourself handling a hot pan, you know this usually results in a painful blister, which can also be complicated by an ensuing infection of the burned area. This single use is a good reason to have an Aloe Vera growing in your home. All you need do is cut a piece of a leaf and apply the gel from the cut edge directly to the burn to experience instant relief. The Aloe Vera plant also has an antiseptic effect to stave off infection. I first learned of this medicinal value from a pharmacist I consulted after sustaining a second-degree burn. Immediately, upon applying the gel to the burn, the pain was relieved – I was amazed at how effective this simple burn remedy was!
Less well-known benefits derived from Aloe Vera plants include its nutritional value. You gain the nutritional benefits by drinking the juice of Aloe Vera, most easily available as a commercially prepared product in health food stores unless you’re fortunate to have a large plant in your garden.
Aloe Vera contains fully 19 of the 20 amino acids required by the human body, as well as 7 of the 8 ‘essential’ amino acids (amino acids your body cannot make). The amino acids are often referred to as the ‘building blocks of protein,’ which helps maintain and repair your muscles. Aloe Vera also contains Glyconutrients.
Now, let’s look at the vitamin content of Aloe Vera plants: Aloe contains vitamins A, C, and E, those important cancer-fighting antioxidants, as well as vitamin B9 (folic acid, important for proper development of blood cells, and for pregnant women as a preventative for certain birth defects, including Spina Bifida. Top this off with a dose of vitamin B12 contained in Aloe Vera plants, which produces red blood cells and gives you energy and endurance.
As for minerals, Aloe Vera contains trace amounts of calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, chromium, potassium, copper and iron.
Aloe vera plants also contain a cellulose substance, lignin, which allows aloe vera gel to be absorbed into the skin, acting as a skin protectant, in the case of burns, and also softens the skin, making it an ideal beauty treatment when applied to your face!
Other enzymes contained in Aloe Vera promote good digestion and anti-inflammatory activity (good news for arthritis sufferers).
Aloe Vera has strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Most experts agree that, among the more than 500 varieties of Aloe, the most potent, regarding medicinal value, is Aloe Barbadensis Miller. So, if you’re ready to have the ‘miracle healing’ Aloe Vera plants in your home, ask for it by name!