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Natural Awakenings South Jersey

The Benefits of Aloe Vera

Jul 30, 2021 04:59PM ● By Shae Marcus

By Gina Saka 

Aloe vera grows all over the world and is native to Africa, Madagascar and the Arabian Peninsula. This shrubby succulent has a range of benefits and has been used as an herbal remedy for more than 5,000 years. It appears in ancient Chinese and Sumerian writings from 3000 B.C., and even the Egyptian queen Cleopatra used it in her beauty routine. Its attributes have been recognized all this time and continue to be celebrated to this day.

How to Harvest Aloe

First, it’s important to know how to harvest aloe vera. There are plenty of ready-to-use products available for topical, oral or internal purposes, but often the best option is to just grab a leaf and use it straight up. Here are recommendations for those with access to an aloe plant:

1. Pick the largest, densest leaves from a mature plant and carefully cut close to the stem with a serrated scissor or knife. Remove around three to four at a time from a single plant. Be sure to check that the leaves don’t have mold or other damage.

2. Next, hold the leaf cut-side down and allow the yellow sap (aloin) to drain from it, then wash and dry the leaves. Either save the aloin if using it or discard it.

3. Remove the sharp edges of each leaf with a knife as well as the sharp end from the top. Then, carefully cut the leaf into manageable pieces and slice off the bottom of it to expose the gel. Next, either use a spoon to carve the aloe gel off the leaf or slice off the top leaf to have a neat square of aloe.

4. The gel has some pulp. To smooth the gel, it can be blended until smooth. One may also strain out the gel to remove the pulp. The gel is then ready to use.

Aloe Vera Benefits

There are many applications for aloe whether it’s directly on the skin, in the mouth for teeth and gum care or even in smoothies or juices for an internal cleanse. Here’s more information about the aloe vera benefits topically, internally and orally.

Topical

Topically, aloe is well known for soothing sunburns. It also helps with wound healing and moisturizing. It also has vitamin C, E and A, which help with anti-aging; and antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight acne, blemishes and infections. Additionally, it is good for the hair, can promote hair growth, condition the scalp and fight dandruff.

Internal

Adding aloe vera gel to juices and smoothies has a range of benefits. Aloe vera juice is becoming more and more popular, and is great for digestion, hydration, liver function and relief from

constipation. It’s also full of nutrients, including vitamins B, C, E and folic acid, in addition to smaller amounts of calcium, sodium, selenium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and zinc.

Oral

Aloe can be used as a mouthwash when mixed with water. It has antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that minimize the growth of bad bacteria in the oral cavity and fight against gingivitis, gum infections, canker sores and more. It also helps speed healing and relieve the pain associated with dental procedures.

The wonders of aloe are plentiful. Use this soothing succulent to relieve skin, boost diet and protect oral health. When taking aloe products internally or orally, be sure that the product is intended for internal use. Many topical aloe products contain artificial additives and perfumes that are toxic to consume.