FOOD

5 Things About Aloe Vera I Didn’t Know

It was once considered an exotic cactus-like plant; characterized by its green plump leaves with razor sharp teeth-like edges. Originally found in hot and arid climates of Northern and Southern parts of Africa and Madagascar, Aloe Vera (also called Aloe barbadensis) is a very popular natural and medicinal skin remedy.

A while back, I was asked by a reader if Aloe Vera is suitable for all skin types. At the time, I would have naturally guessed ‘yes’. What an easy question. But the question started to nag me, so I went and did some homework. Interestingly, I found at least 5 things about Aloe Vera I did not know before. Until now.

1. Member of the Lily family. Aloe Vera is distantly related to onions, garlic and asparagus. This would make sense because these rooted plants each contain great natural medicinal qualities.

2. It flowers. Aloe Vera thrives in hot and dry climates, and will wilt if exposed to freezing temperatures or to excessive amounts of water. In fact, in the right environmental conditions, it grows well when – mostly ignored. Once a year, in the perfect growing condition, Aloe Vera will bear a central shoot with yellow flowers – reminding us all that it is still a blooming plant (and not a cactus).

3. Pulp, not Leaf. It is the pulp of the Aloe Vera, found in its leaves, that contain the ‘miracle’ cure to skin care. The pulp is a clear, thick and gel-like substance that contains a huge range of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. It has a VERY close match to human skin’s PH balance. No matter whether you have normal, oily, dry, or combination skin.

4. Boosts production of Collagen & Elastin. Skin is generally made up of 3 main layers: Epidermis, Dermis, and Subcutis. Dermis is the middle layer that is thickest, and it also makes up most of the skin. It contains Collagen and Elastin fibers that give skin its strength, form and elasticity. Aloe Vera enhances the activity of Fibroblasts that are special cells in the formation of Collagen and Elastin.

5.  Absorbs better than H2O. Did you know the skin absorbs Aloe Vera four times faster than water? This is because it has been found that Aloe Vera has the ability to open the pores of the skin, allowing for quicker absorption.

As a soothing natural remedy for sunburns, dry cracked skin, abrasions, acne, psoriasis, shingles and even cold sores, Aloe Vera can do much more. The benefits of Aloe Vera include:

* Reduces stretch marks and scarring
* Relieves pain from arthritis and tendonitis
* Stimulates the immune system and is effectively used in the treatment for certain cancers and HIV
* Balances the digestive system by improving the absorption of nutrients and elimination of waste
* Aids regular bowel movement
* Reduces blood sugar levels
…and much more.

Like all natural versus commercially processed products, Aloe Vera is best in its raw form. The best way to use Aloe Vera: Grow your own!

And to Francis, my reader: Yes, Aloe Vera is good for all skin types  ♥

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