People suffering from minor ailments and common illnesses are often advised to use aloe vera in one form or another. This amazing plant has been known and recognized for a long time for its beneficial properties. Today it can be store-bought, in the form of gel, capsules, tablets, juice or lotion, but it can also be easily grown in the garden and used fresh whenever it is needed.
Aloe barbadensis or aloe vera has been used for hundreds of years worldwide. Ancient Egyptians used to mix it with other herbs to make internal and external potions and ointments, and many Greek, Roman and Arab physicians, like Celsius, Plyni the Great and Al-Kindi, fascinated by its numerous beneficial effects, have performed extensive studies about this plant.
This succulent plant is believed to have originated from the Arabian peninsula and Northern Africa. It is commonly cultivated as a decorative plant but more and more companies today cultivate it in large quantities, which they use to manufacture aloe-based remedies and cosmetic products.
Aloe barbadensis can be grown in the garden or in a pot at the window sill, wherever the climate permits it. It needs a lot of sun and little water, and it does not tolerate extreme cold or heavy snow.
Benefits of aloe barbadensis
Aloe barbadensis or aloe vera contains 20 minerals, among which the most important are calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium and chromium, it has 12 vitamins, 20 amino acids, of which seven are essential, more than 200 active components, enzymes and polysaccharides.
The most common form in which aloe is used is its gel, which can be obtained simply by cutting the leaves and letting the gel ooze out. The gel can be used topically to heal a number of skin ailments, from burns, cuts, scrapes, skin infections, acne, psoriasis, dandruff, dry skin, irritable skin, allergies and insect bites.
If taken internally, aloe stimulates the immune system, boosts the metabolism and detoxifies the blood.
Aloe can be used to treat a number of infectious diseases, because it has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.
Some of the diseases and medical issues that can be treated with aloe vera include asthma, arthritis, gingivitis, constipation, bronchitis, obesity, intestinal infections and inflammatory states, sprains, dehydration and pharyngitis.
It can also be used to treat nutrient deficiencies and anemia, as well as depression and insomnia.
Products obtained with pure aloe vera juice are very beneficial in reducing the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and it is recommended for people who suffer from hepatitis, pancreatitis and MS.