Monday, June 20, 2016

Aloe Vera, a Wonder Plant in Your Garden

Originally from Africa, Aloe Vera is a succulent cactus like plant that is now cultivated in many regions of the world. It has lance like leaves with spiny margins. Inside the leaf is a jelly like substance or gel that is 99% water with the remaining 1% substance containing minerals, vitamins, amino acids and enzymes. In the skin is yellowish color latex which has also some healing properties. Usually, Aloe Vera is grown as a decorative plant or as herbal medicine. It is commercially grown as food additives or as ingredients in cosmetics products such as shaving cream, shampoos, soaps and tissues because of its soothing, emollient and moisturizing properties.     

As topical herbal medicine, the plant is used as a relief or cure especially of skin disorders such as dandruff, acne, warts, wrinkles, gum disease, genital herpes and even psoriasis. It is also administered to reverse sign of aging skin, to brighten skin and to enhance hair growth. The gel substance is harmful to bacteria, virus, and fungi, and promotes cell growth and regeneration.

The juice of an Aloe Vera leaf can be taken orally by way of adding it as ingredients of foods such as yogurts, beverages and some desserts to boost the immune system, to control blood sugar level and to improve blood circulation. At certain doses, when ingested, Aloe Vera can cause abdominal cramp and diarrhea which in turn decreases the body’s ability to absorb prescribed drugs.                                                                                                                                                                     A person should however consult his doctor should he use the plant or part of it as a medicine. A doctor’s advice on health care should prevail over what one has researched from the internet or heard through word of mouth. Side effects of taking conventional medications as well as herbal remedies and how long they should be administered should be taken into consideration if a person is to deal with a health issue. And the right person to give him the best information or recommendation is his doctor.

A single leaf of Aloe Vera that is applied topically can be used for as long as three days if it is placed in a refrigerator. The leaf contains gel that has lots of liquid so that a cut small piece of it can be rubbed to many areas of an affected skin.  

Extracts of Aloe Vera are being sold commercially online. But the best way to get Aloe Vera gel is to grow the plant in your own garden. Aloe Vera can be grown without much care and attention because it is resistant to pests and insects. It can be propagated by separating its offsets by cutting them off with a knife. It is better to grow the new plants on the ground than in the pots because pots restrict their ability to reproduce or develop bigger leaves.