Tips for using Aloe Vera in herbal medicine and home remedies

If you look closely, the plant world is full of nice surprises. Who would expect the dry desert lands of Africa to produce a plant like Aloe Vera? Aloe Vera is made up of rich moisturizing gel that soothes and heals -- one of its first medicinal uses was probably for sunburn. Aloe Vera is one of the most widely used herbal remedies in the world and is especially suited for use on minor burns and bruises.

Aloe Vera grows on a screen in porch in Georgia
Aloe Vera grows on the front porch at Payne Mountain Farms - Photo by Janice Boling

In the humid south, Aloe Vera is happy on a sunny porch. People grow it for its beauty and its healing properties.

Aloe Vera has a long history in herbal medicine.

The healing properties of Aloe Vera have been documented by many ancient civilizations including the Egyptians and Greeks. It was used to heal burns, to cleanse the stomach, and to loosen the bowels.

When burned, reach for Aloe Vera.

Aloe Vera should be growing in every kitchen. When burned by a hot pan or other heat source, immediately put burned area in cold water. Every second counts when stopping the heat that causes tissue damage. After running cold water over burned area for two minutes, break off a piece of Aloe Vera and apply liberally. Aloe Vera stops pain, speeds healing, and reduces scarring. In case of severe burns or charred skin, seek professional help -- visit the Mayo Clinic to learn more about burn injuries.

Use Aloe in home remedies.

Aloe Vera, a bitter herb, promotes bile flow, relieves chronic constipation, heals wounds, soothes burns, helps expel worms, moisturizes the skin, and can act as a sedative. It is useful in the treatment of dry skin and is safe to use on sensitive skin around the eyes. It is also used in the treatment of ringworm. Aloe can also help get rid of warts. Apply often for best results.

Aloe is great for the skin.

Aloe Vera contains enzymes that open pores and slough off dead skin cells. Regular use can greatly improve a sallow complexion. Aloe Vera is often used in cosmetics, lip balms, soaps, and energy drinks. Aloe Vera contains enzymes that are responsible for new cell growth, healing, and pain relief. The plant gel is great for scrapes, skin ulcers, insect bites, rashes, acne, psoriasis, frostbite, eczema, scabies, radiation burns, sunburn, and reducing scar tissue. When the soft, pulpy leaves are cut or broken, the transparent thick juice flows freely and should be applied to the affected area as soon as possible. As the gel dries, it provides a protective covering, relief from inflammation, and promotes speedy healing.

Aloe Vera is useful in colon treatments.

Aloe Vera juice is sometimes used for various digestive problems. It can soothe colon problems, pancreas problems, and liver diseases.

Other uses for Aloe Vera

The plant is also used in the treatment of arthritis. Aloe Vera helps increase the body’s uptake of oxygen. It is even used in the treatment of skin cancer, HIV, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins. Studies are currently underway to test the medicinal properties of Aloe Vera. Preliminary results suggest that the plant may be useful in building immunity.

Aloe Vera is a succulent that spreads by offsets.

Leaves are thick and fleshy, usually light to gray-green in color. Aloe Vera can survive extreme growing conditions including everything from arid deserts to humid, tropical jungles (although it cannot tolerate standing water or freezing temperatures). Aloe is in the same plant family as lilies, tulips, and garlic. There are over 500 aloe species! Aloe plants are often grown indoors. Water aloe plants only when dry and make sure that the plants get plenty of sunshine with some shade. Aloe will grow in poor soil but must have good drainage and temperatures above freezing.

* Do not use Aloe Vera internally during any stage of pregnancy. Do not apply Aloe Vera to surgical incisions, 3rd degree burns, or deep wounds. High doses of Aloe Vera taken internally can cause severe cramps and vomiting. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy.

Payne Mountain Farms

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Herb Articles by Janice Boling

"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... , herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer

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