One of the best known and most commonly found of what is known today as medicinal herbs is the succulent Aloe vera. With fleshy triangular foliage serrated with sharp little spikelet’s, this rosette forming succulent is amongst the most valuable across the world. It is well respected by the many who embrace the abundance it has to offer, of all the Aloe (up to 500 species) it is this one, the Aloe vera that has made its genus most proud, spreading its genes and seeds across the globe.
Medicinal uses of Aloe vera:
Botanically known as Aloe barbadensis miller the Aloe vera, is a well-known subject in both the medical and cosmetic industry. It has been used since ancient times to treat burns, wounds psoriasis and eczema. This wonder plant also has anaesthetic and anti-inflamatory qualities and helps to form new connective tissue and regenerate new skin with very little or even no scaring. The sap is widely used to treat sunburn as it has the ability to heal radiation burns, however it is important that the sap is fresh, as it loses properties with age.
Harvest and Use Aloe vera:
Remove the leaf from the plant and split it lengthwise and carefully rub the gel onto the skin. It is recommended to test as small piece of skin prior to the application as slight allergenic reactions may occur in a minority of people.
|The juice of A. vera can be consumed internally to treat stomach ailments such as ulcers, circulatory problems and thrombosis. Aloe Juice however should be purchased from a health shop as the bright yellow sap as well as the external skin is a powerful laxative which may lead to problems if not consumed correctly.|
What you didn’t know of Aloe Vera
An estimated 6,000 years ago the Aloe vera was well known and often used by the Egyptians. They called the plant “plant of immortality,” even the famous Cleopatra used the herbaceous slimy centre of the foliage as part of her beauty regimen. The Greeks applied the succulent medicinal herb as a cure to everything from baldness to insomnia and to Native Americans A. vera was known as the “Wand of the Heaven.”
Growing Aloe vera:
A. vera is an easy grower. It loves the full sun and flourishes with minimal water and care. They tend to be disease resistant and tolerate a bit of cold too. Besides their obvious abundance in uses they also make for a great rockery of container specimen and work very well indoors, just remember to check that they have enough light and never overwater them. Growing indoors means temperatures are lower and transpiration is slower this results in less evaporation which means you need to water less, because these guys absolutely hate wet and soggy feet.