Aloe To The Rescue

Why this beautiful, commonly found succulent deserves its moniker ‘that plant of immortality’

Mohini Mehrotra Published Mar 15, 2020 00:00:00 IST
Aloe To The Rescue Photo: Shutterstock

One of the oldest and most widely used medicinal plants, aloe vera has been around for centuries. This succulent (a plant species of the genus Aloe) has thick spongy leaves with serrated edges and is known for its many healing properties.

According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, in ancient Egypt, aloe vera was called "that plant of immortality" for its endless health and beauty benefits. The paper further mentions that for many centuries, the plant has been used therapeutically in India, Egypt, China, Japan, Greece, Mexico and Japan. A popular choice for most home gardens, this beautiful succulent has fleshy leaves that can be split to reveal a firm, jelly-like translucent pulp with  numerous health benefits. It can be taken raw or bought from offline or online retail outlets as a gel, ointment or juice form for topical use and oral consumption respectively.

Here’s how you can make the most of it.

For good health 

Now widely available, aloe juice has become extremely popular for its many healing benefits. The juice is made by crushing the entire leaf of the plant and then grinding, pressing and sieving it. Slightly gooey and thick, it is great for digestion as it helps normalize healthy gut bacteria, keeping the intestinal flora balanced. For those who have constipation, regular intake can increase intestinal water content and stimulate peristalsis, which can in turn help you pass stools normally.

Aloe vera juice is also known to detoxify the liver and kidneys, replenishing lost fluid and keeping them hydrated. Not many may be aware of this but it’s also great for the gums as regularly swishing with an aloe vera juice mouthwash can reduce gingival inflammation. This nutrient-rich hydrant contains vitamins and minerals such as B, C, E, and folic acid that are crucial for your overall well-being. All of this makes it a preferred drink for many health enthusiasts as well.

For natural beauty

The antioxidant-rich gel from the aloe plant works wonders on your skin. It not only helps soothe and hydrate irritated skin, but studies have shown that it may also help combat seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, psoriasis and sun burns. Especially great for people with sensitive and acne-prone skin, aloe vera gel can gently cleanse and exfoliate, while its antibacterial and antiseptic properties can help shield the skin from infections, redness and acne marks.

Massaged regularly on the face, hands, feet and neck, the gel can deeply moisturise the skin, removing dryness and making it super soft and supple. Aloe also aids collagen production, which makes skin more elastic, thereby reducing wrinkles. Meanwhile, the zinc in it acts as an astringent to tighten pores, and vitamins C and E help prevent the formation of free radicals that damage skin and accelerate ageing.

Aloe’s benefits are not just limited to the skin. It has something called proteolytic enzymes that help repair dead cells on the scalp and act as a conditioner, hydrating the hair shaft and making the mane shiny and silky. It also promotes hair growth, improves elasticity, prevents scalp infections, reduces dandruff and improves overall hair health. For those who are always on the run with no time to spare for a long beauty ritual, there are several wonderful and effective aloe vera based skin and hair care products available. Pick one that suits your need and you are sorted.

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