Aloe vera is an easy to grow plant that even those who fail miserably at growing everything else can grow. And, of course, we all know it is an excellent sun burn soother. (I used an entire tube of aloe vera after I stayed out in the hot North Carolina sun a few hours too long one summer; aloe vera was the only things that brought my flaming skin relief.)
Many people think that soothing a sun burn is aloe vera’s only use, but it turns out, much like witch hazel , there are many uses for aloe vera.
- Treat burns: Whether a minor burn in the kitchen or a sun burn, aloe vera will soothe your skin.
- Treat bug bites: Aloe vera takes the sting out of itchy bug bites.
- Use as a moisturizer: Simply rub aloe vera on your skin to moisturize instead of other creams.
- Treat eczema and psoriasis: Because of its moisturizing effect, aloe vera can help soothe eczema and psoriasis.
- Wrinkle remover: Well, it won’t remove all of your wrinkles, but it can help rejuvenate your skin. (Cleopatra applied it to her body, and the Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality”.)
- Body scrub: Open the leaves and use to scrub your body and exfoliate when showering.
- Prevent stretch marks: Planning to become pregnant? Begin massaging aloe vera on your stomach twice a day and continue throughout your pregnancy and after delivery for a few months until any stretch marks fade.
- Remove brown skin spots: As we age, we often develop brown “age spots”. Rub aloe vera on these spots twice a day and within a few months they will start to fade.
- Hemorrhoid relief: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can provide hemorrhoid relief.
Boil some aloe vera leaves with water and inhale to clear breathing.
A quick trip around the web will find several intestinal problems that aloe vera can help remedy including:
- constipation (aloe vera has a laxative effective),
- arthritis and
- high blood sugar levels
However, before you use aloe vera in any way internally, consult with your doctor first. Dr. Mike Roussell, Ph.D. cautions in Shape Magazine that in one study aloe vera leaves ingested internally were found to cause tumors in rats, while in a 2004 study in the U.K. no significant side effects were found when people took aloe vera internally to help with ulcerative colitis (Shape Magazine ).
You can grow your own aloe vera plants at home and use them on an as needed basis for topical skin treatments. You can also buy the gel at a store, but keep in mind, there is no regulation, so you may be getting 100% aloe vera gel or aloe vera gel that has been watered down to make the product stretch further. While aloe vera drinks are also available, only take after you have consulted your physician as it may be detrimental to your health.
Do you use aloe vera in other ways?
(Photo: tessawatson )