Summer is coming to an end (sigh!) and most of us had a fair share of sun and beach time. I know I did, between Miami, San Diego and south of Spain. It felt amazing to be in ocean, on the sand, and getting lots of (much-needed) Vitamin D from the sun. But of course there were some days that I got a bit TOO much sun… am thinking 4th of July while chatting away with girlfriends and completely forgetting to reapply my sunscreen after a few hours! So what has been my savior throughout this summer? ALOE VERA!
In recent months, I have become a HUGE fan of Aloe Vera, and for many more reasons than just it's skin soothing properties for burnt skin. I now always keep a bottle in my fridge which I use in my morning water and green smoothies. (But note - I’m not talking about your Banana Boat aloe vera gel filled with chemicals! Ideally we should be getting our aloe vera straight from the plant, or I use 99% pure and organic Lily of the Desert aloe vera gel or juice). And I’ve also started buying natural skin products that are primarily aloe vera based.
I use it for so many purposes, and the more I find how great it is for my body, the more I apply it and love it. So I want to share with you some of the amazing properties and uses of this plant.
Aloe vera is a cactus plant, thick & short-stemmed, from the lily family (Liliaceae). It’s found in dry climates, and has been used medicinally for years, particularly in Africa and India. The leaves secrete a clear liquid gel that can be applied topically to heal wounds and soothe skin irritations and burns, but can also be consumed internally for additional benefits.
Here are 11 benefits and amazing uses of Aloe Vera:
- TREATMENT FOR SUNBURN. Aloe has long been known as an effective treatment for skin injuries, such as burns and sores. Aloe vera acts as a protective layer on the skin, helping to replenish moisture and heal the skin. Some studies have shown that aloe vera can reduce healing time of burns by around 9 days compared to other treatments.
- AMAZING ALL-OVER MOISTURIZER. I absolutely love using Aloe as a face moisturizer as it hydrates without being greasy (and it’s effective for people with both dry and oily skin). Aloe is also known to increase collagen production, improving elasticity of the skin and lessening the visibility of stretch marks. Lastly, it has anti-aging properties as it improves the skin’s natural firmness and keeps it hydrated, helping to prevent wrinkles.
- TREATMENT FOR ACNE. Aloe vera contains hormones that have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing skin inflammation and stimulating growth of new cells – allowing skin to heal quickly and with minimal scarring. In the Ayurvedic practice (the ancient healing system in India, which I’ve recently been studying more about), aloe vera is used to heal all types of chronic skin problems, including acne, eczema and psoriasis.
- PROMOTES HEALTHY GUMS & TEETH. Aloe vera juice, when used as a mouthwash, has shown to prevent buildup of plaque, helping with tooth decay and gum diseases such as gingivitis. It reduces bleeding, inflammation and swelling of the gums. Additionally, given its anti-fungal properties, aloe helps to heal cracked corners of the mouth and mouth ulcers.
- ANTIBACTERIAL & ANTIMICROBIAL AGENT. Aloe Vera is filled with active ingredients (including sulphur, lupeol, salicylic acid, cinnamic acid, urea nitrogen and phenol) which have antibacterial properties. They belong to a family of substances called polyphenols, which can inhibit growth of certain disease-causing organisms, and provide antimicrobial benefits, eliminating infections.
- NUTRIENT RICH FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH. Aloe vera contains many vitamins including A, many B vitamins (including B12!), C, and E. It’s also rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium and more. Lastly, it’s high in amino acids (it contains all 8 essential amino acids) and high in fatty acids.
- AIDS DIGESTION & EASES CONSTIPATION. Aloe helps soothe and cleanse the digestive tract, improving digestion and supporting healthy bowel movements. The best thing is that it acts as an adaptogen, helping with both constipation and diarrhea, regulating elimination either way. Aloe helps to keep a healthy gut, decreasing the bad bacteria and promoting a healthy intestinal flora… Another key reason why I’ve started to add aloe to my morning water!
- ALKALIZING. Most of you have heard me talk about our need to reduce the acidity in our body (from acid foods, which include sugar and animal meats for ex) as an acidic body is more susceptible to disease. So for this reason (and many more reasons!) I tell people to eat more alkalizing vegetables, and also to add lemon to meals and water, as lemon has an alkalizing effect on our bodies. Aloe vera, I have recently discovered, has a similar effect; it’s an alkaline forming food, helping to balance our acidic dietary habits. So now I alternate my cup of warm water in the morning, adding lemon, apple cider vinegar and aloe vera.
- AIDS IN DETOXIFICATION. Aloe vera is a “gelatinous” plant food, similar to chia seeds – with gels that move through the gastro-intestinal tract, absorbing toxins hat then get eliminated through the colon, aiding in detoxification of the body.
- SUPPORTS IMMUNE SYSTEM. The polysaccharides in aloe vera stimulate growth of the white blood cells in your immune system that fight against viruses. It’s also an immune-enhancer because of the high level of antioxidants, which help fight against free-radicals.
- LOWERS BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS & CHOLESTEROL. Aloe vera has been proven to improve circulation and oxidation of the blood, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
So make sure to keep a bottle of organic aloe vera gel in your fridge, and start using it as a natural medicine for all the above! And of course, make sure to take a bottle with you on your next trip to the beach.
I’d love to hear from you – what is your favorite use for Aloe Vera?
Happy summer everyone. Get ready for the Fall, and let me know if you’d like to join me for my Fall Detox starting soon!