Practical Magic: Aloe Vera – The Skin's Miracle Plant

Aloe Vera – The Skin's Miracle Plant

Name: Aloe Vera

Most Commonly Found: It originates from the Arabian Peninsula, through North Africa (Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt), as well as through the Sudan and the neighboring counties. Species can also be found along the Sahara in Africa. It was introduced to China and southern Europe in the 17th century and is naturalized in the temperate and tropical regions of Australia, Barbados, Belize, Nigeria, Paraguay, as well as Florida, Arizona and Texas in the U.S. It's also possible to grow it at home.

Stone Cold Facts: Aloe Vera is a plant species that has been used medicine for at least 5,000 years. It's commonly used in cosmetics and alternative medicine industries for its healing, soothing properties. 

Its name is derived from the Arabic word "alloeh," or bitter, due to the bitter liquid found in the leaves.

What to Heal: In general, Aloe Vera can be used to help support a healthy digestive system, help sustain and promote healthy regularity, support a healthy immune system, assist antioxidant support, reduce toxins in the body, support normal muscle and joint functions, and moisturize and hydrate the skin (Lily of the Dessert).

Aloe vera can promote healthier skin, by hydrating and promoting nutrients to the deep layers. It allows the skin to appear attractive, refreshed and healthy and reduces the appearance of damaged skin. It also cools and soothes the skin after prolonged sun exposure.

Studies of a generic aloe by the International Aloe Science Council confirm that taking daily vitamin supplements with aloe vera juice instead of water can improve the bioavailability (absorption) of the supplements.

A 2007 review of aloe vera for its use in burns concluded, "Cumulative evidence tends to support that aloe vera might be an effective intervention used in burn wound healing for first- to second-degree burns. Further, well-designed trials with sufficient details of the contents of aloe vera products should be carried out to determine the effectiveness of aloe vera."

In addition, oral aloe gel can be taken by mouth for osteoarthritis, bowel diseases including ulcerative colitis, fever, itching, inflammation or can be used as a general tonic. It's also used for stomach ulcers, diabetes, asthma, and for treatment for radiation. 

When combined with latex, it is used for epilepsy, asthma, colds, bleeding, absence of menstrual periods, colitis, depression, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, varicose veins, bursitis, osteoarthritis, and glaucoma and other vision problems (Web MD). 

For its use topically, it's commonly used for sunburns, frostbite, psoriasis and cold sores. It also is said to help heal surgical wounds and bedsores faster. 

[Related: Practical Magic: Coconut Oil - The Oil of Life]

It may also increase circulation in the blood vessels in the skin and to kill bacteria.

Some people take aloe latex by mouth, usually for constipation. Less often, aloe latex is used orally for epilepsy, asthma, colds, bleeding, absence of menstrual periods, colitis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, varicose veins, bursitis, osteoarthritis, and vision problems.

It regulates blood sugar and helps with the detoxification of the liver as well.

How to Heal: Aloe vera is commonly taken as a topical gel, but can also be combined with latex and taken orally or taken orally combined with other products.

It can also be drunk as a juice.

Related Chakras: Aloe Vera is said to be healing for the Root Chakra (Power Flower Essences). 

Spirituality: It's said that the frequency vibration that aloe vera has is mystical. It's main use is to re-calibrate the body's frequency system. This is said to be done on a DNA level, as it gets all the body's cells to follow the normal instructions within the DNA. 

Mystics use aloe vera to turn off all negative signals within the body and bring the body back to its normal vibration. 

In Jamaica, it's used for spiritual baths and through fasting to kill harm in the body, often as a last resort. Rastafarians say that it can be used to cure all sickness, including AIDS and cancer. Learn more about their perspective here

It's also been known to clear the energy and air at home.

[Related: 10 House Plants that will Detox Your Home]

History + Lore: Aloe vera's use dates back at least 5,000 years. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is considered to possess estrogenic properties and has been historically loved by women. 

A Sumerian clay tablet found in the city of Nippur, written around 2,200 B.C., documents the first recorded use of Aloe vera as a laxative. A detailed account of Aloe’s medicinal value is also found in the Egyptian Papyrus Ebers, dated about 1,550 B.C, revealing twelve formulas combining Aloe with other substances for the treatment of both internal and external ills.

Roman pharmacology, Dioscorides, 41 A.D.-68 A.D., said that the whole aloe vera leaf when pulverized, would stop the bleeding of wounds and attributed to its juices “the power of binding, of inducing sleep.” He also noted that it “loosens the belly, cleansing the stomach” and used it to treat boils, ease hemorrhoids, heal bruises and dry, as well as itchy skin conditions, tonsils, gums and mouth and eye irritations.

It was brought to the New World by the Spanish in the 1600s and was used extensively by the missionaries as well as by the indigenous people as a universal healing agent.

Top Photo Cred: Humanities for the Environment