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Aloe Vera Plant

What is an Aloe Vera Plant?

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Overview

The aloe plant is a God-given plant that has numerous health and medical benefits both internally and externally for humans. There are about 200-400 species of aloe plants and majority of it originates from Africa. Aloes come in a variety of sizes, some as miniatures (an inch) and some grow into colonies of hundreds as a massive 2-foot diameter plant.  All aloe species are semi-tropical succulent plants where they strive only in places with no snow or indoors (or anywhere that does not have freezing temperatures)

Most of the species are blessed with some form of medicinal and commercial value however, among them one champions above all; Aloe Barbedensis Miller or commonly known as Aloe Vera.

Did You Know? Hummingbirds’ favourite food is none other than the nectar from Aloe flowers.

The many names of Aloe Species

Aloe africana, Aloe arborescens, Aloe barbadensis, Aloe Capensis, Aloe ferox, Aloe frutescens, Aloe Gel, Aloe indica, Aloe Latex, Aloe Leaf Gel, Aloe natalenis, Aloe Perfoliata, Aloe perryi, Aloe spicata, Aloe supralaevis, Aloe ucriae, Aloe Vera Barbenoids, Aloe Vera Gel, Aloe vera, Aloes, Aloès, Aloès de Curaçao, Aloès des Barbades, Aloès du Cap, Aloès Vrai, Aloès Vulgaire, Arborescens natalenis, Barbados Aloe, Burn Plant, Cape Aloe, Chritkumari, Curacao Aloe, Elephant’s Gall, Gel de la Feuille d’Aloès, Ghee-Kunwar, Ghi-Kuvar, Ghrita-Kumari, Gvar Patha, Hsiang-Dan, Indian Aloe, Jafarabad Aloe, Kanya, Kumari, Latex d’Aloès, Lily of the Desert, Lu-Hui, Miracle Plant, Plant of Immortality, Plante de l’Immortalité, Plante de la Peau, Plante de Premiers Secours, Plante Miracle, Plantes des Brûlures, Sábila. –source: webmd.com

The different types of aloe

Aloe Vera Records Throughout History

Known to be among the most powerful and well-known plant having medicinal importance; its use in past and present has been traced to various civilizations including ancient Mediterranean, Chinese, Greece, Egypt, Rome, India and much more!

Ancient records found and prove that aloe vera as its therapeutic advantages and healing properties were known for centuries dating back over 4000 years ago! The earliest record of this beneficial plant is on a Sumerian tablet dating back 2100BC ago. While in Egypt, antiquity was discovered in 1862 on an Egyptian papyrus dated 1550 BC where Egyptians Queens used it for their physical beauty. This plant is also mentioned in the bible as used for fragrance, incense and as offering!

Nowadays it has a much stronger global reputation for its use of cosmetics especially for the treatment of sunburn and burns, fighting against cell aging and for wound healing. Scientists have recognized its unique benefits regarding medicinal purposes. This miracle plant is widely used by herbalists for combating constipation and for cleaning intestinal flora. It is also used for reinforcing immune system & improving blood circulation.

Important Characteristics of Aloe Vera Plant

It is a short height plan covering a few surface area. Standing at 60-90cm fully grown, in its first stage the leaves are of 2-3cm in diameter but once the plan is mature it can be up to 7-10cm an becomes thick. It also has small white teeth-like thorns on their edges of the leaves. However the flowers produced in this plant are on significant height. The flowers can be seen in summer. The leaves are filled with white meat or also called gel. This can be considered as the useful pulp of plant which is sometimes directly applied on skin. The leaves and seeds are the only parts that are edible.

4 layers that make up the aloe leaf

#1 Rind is the green-color tough outer layer that protects the leaf

#2 Sap like most plants is a layer of white sticky and bitter fluid that is being secreted to protect the leaves from animals

#3 Mucilage Gel is the inner part of the leaf that produces aloe vera gel

#4 Aloe Vera Gel (inner leaf) is the “meat” that brings to it all the medicinal benefits mentioned. Containing 8 essential Amino Acids (protein), vitamins and minerals that the human body has no way of producing.

AloeLeafSectionMacro1s

In its raw state, aloe gel is bitter in taste. It is of course possible however to get use to the taste of plain aloe gel. There is a local saying that “anything biter is often healthy and cooling”. However in Malaysia, we soak it in sugar water to make drinks out of the meat. For a healthier alternative, the meat can be added into fruit juices to help mask the taste.

Do not be confuse between Aloe Vera Gel (meat) and Aloe Vera Juice although these names have been used interchangeably. As mention earlier, the gel is the inner leaf whereas the juice refers to “Aloe Latex” found under the skin of the leaf which is also a bitter flavored in its natural raw state.

With all the remarkable benefits of the gel and juice, leading health companies and authorities have founded ways to package and distribute aloe vera gels and products for our daily consumption; minus the bitter taste of course.

Medicinal usage

When used in combination with Goji Berry and Acai Berry, it is effective against skin aging. It also heals sunburn but sun exposure should be avoided after application. Helps in skin repair and acts as a perfect remedy for skin burns. Additionally, can be used for healing cuts, wounds, injuries and abrasions. It protects against various skin diseases like dry skin, eczema, pimples, etc. It is much effective in combating acne both external and internal including psoriasis, hives, furuncle, pruritus, etc. not only the skin but also hair can be repaired with its effectiveness. If you have dandruff, this will also eliminate your problem.

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  • Anti-cancer | Immune System | Antioxidants

Packed with innumerable antioxidants, it has the ability to protect against radiation. It prevents skin cancer and reinforces & stimulates the immune system. When used with ginger and turmeric it becomes an anti-inflammatory agent. You can also improve your metabolism with this plant. Infections` risk is also effectively reduced due to it being anti-fungal and antiseptic.

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  • Digestion | Constipation | Intestinal Flora

To eliminate constipation, it can be used with garlic and spirulina. It promotes digestion and prevents diarrhoea, stomach burns and bloating. It assists elimination of toxins and gasses. It also relieves hyperactivity problems and digestive spasms. It acts as a liver protector and draining agent

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Available commonly as capsules, juices, gels or creams. Its gel is for external purposes, for example, its applications on the skin. Juice and capsules are for internal use. In case of capsules, a dosage of 200mg to 300mg/day is recommended. For intake of juice 2 to 3 tablespoons per day are recommended each comprising of about 50ml.

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  • Side effects

Aloe Vera plant is very well known and safe plant. There is one way in which this plant can dangerous when taken internally in pure form. This danger is due yellow latex within its outer layer. However, very rare cases have been observed, because this plant is used in its modified form as creams, juices, gel, etc. for avoiding poisoning risks, its gel from various parts should be extracted. It can provoke diarrhoea due to its purgative and laxative effects. It is photosensitive plant due to which it is advised to avoid sun exposure after its application.     

 

7-steps To Grow Your own Aloe Vera Plant

1)     Purchase Aloe Plant from garden supplies outlet or plant nurseries.

2)     Soil should be moderately fertile and fast draining.

3)     In countries with warmer climate, plant out doors in full/partial sunlight. In countries with winter season, plant in a pot indoors near windows to get sunlight.

4)     Watering should be kept to a minimum on winter days. In warmer climates, allow the soil to dry out before watering again (every other week).

5)     Aloes have a shallow, spreading root system so a wider pot is advisable compared to a deeper pot.

6)     Pot must have drainage holes to allow water to drain off.

7)     Fertilize the soil yearly.

 

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