It is only about a foot or two feet tall. Its leaves are succulent, broad at the base and pointed at the tips, with spines along the edges. It belongs to the lily family but looks like a cactus. It is Aloe Vera, one of the most important plants used in Ayurveda, the Mother of all healing systems. For thousands of years, Ayurvedic physicians have used its wondrous properties to treat a wide range of diseases, as well as to rejuvenate and revitalize the body. In Kerala, often referred to as the home of Ayurveda, Aloe Vera has been grown in home gardens for generations, and its healing properties have become part of Kerala’s rich tradition of natural forms of medicine. However, it is important to note that there are around 300 species of Aloe Vera out of which 11 are poisonous and only 4 are of medicinal value
What makes Aloe Vera so special? To begin with, its fat leaves contain a clear healing gel that is 96% water. The other 4% contain more than 75 valuable constituents, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, calcium and enzymes. Aloe Vera contains 7 out of 8 essential amino acids required by our body and therefore it can play a vital role for fulfilling our need of protein in our body.
Soothing and Healing
The healing effect of Aloe Vera results from its ability to prevent injury to epithelial tissues, and promote healing of injured tissues. An epithelium is a layer of cells that covers the body. Our largest epithelium is the skin. One of the main applications of Aloe Vera is to soothe a variety of skin ailments such as mild cuts, insect stings, bruises, poison ivy and eczema. It also has antibacterial and antifungal qualities, and increases blood flow to wounded areas. This amazing plant stimulates the skin cells responsible for wound healing and the manufacture of collagen, the protein that controls the aging process of the skin and wrinkling. The skin absorbs Aloe Vera up to four times faster than water and this helps the pores of the skin open and receive the moisture and nutrients of the plant.
Aloe Vera can be applied externally and taken internally too. When taken internally, Aloe Vera juice aids the digestion and absorption of nutrients, helps control blood sugar, increases energy production, promotes cardiovascular health, improves liver function, and boosts the immune system.
How Aloevera Is Used
Most people use Aloe simply by cutting off a piece of leaf and squeezing the liquid onto their skin. This works, but it wastes the inner gel, which is the most potent part of the plant. The gel can be mixed with Vaseline, and applied on black spots on the face and hands to help restore normal skin tone. Heat Aloe Vera leaves and squeeze the juice on burns for quick relief. When the juice is applied on the face it acts as a sun screen and also helps to prevent sunburn. If Aloe Vera gel is mixed with turmeric powder, left on the face overnight, and then washed off the next morning, pimples and acne will gradually disappear. If the gel is boiled with coconut oil, filtered and applied regularly to the scalp, it promotes the growth of healthy and lustrous hair.
Drinking the juice of Aloe Vera can be very beneficial in the case of a wide range of disorders. Aloe Vera juice helps clear the toxins out of the digestive system, facilitates digestion and improves the functioning of the kidneys, liver and gall bladder. Its antiviral properties promote the healing of warts as well as diabetic wounds. Its capillary dilating properties increase blood circulation and speed up regeneration of skin. The anti-inflammatory properties of the juice make it very effective in treating joint pains and it is also mixed with turmeric and given in cases of spleen enlargement. The list of Aloe Vera’s healing properties goes on and on. In fact, no other natural product contains such large number of constituents useful for humans- which why Aloe Vera has now become part of almost every system of medicine, including contemporary western medicine.