Aloe Vera, or "Lily of the Desert", is most famous for the benefits it provides when applied topically. According to history, aloe vera is one of the oldest medicinal plants on record, used by Ancient Chinese and Egyptians to heal burns, wounds, and reduce fever. Queen Cleopatra was also known to apply aloe to her skin on a daily basis as a beauty treatment. Aloe Vera is now grown commercially for the health and moisturizing benefits found inside its leaves. It also contains a multitude of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals that, when taken orally, promote nutrient absorption, good digestion, and a healthy immune system!
This small, fleshy herb has appeared in texts throughout recorded history. From a 6,000-year old stone carving in Egypt to ancient Ayurvedic texts in India, a mid-first Century AD Roman text to the Bible, the healing power of Aloe vera is the stuff of legends. Known in ancient Egypt as "the plant of immortality", it was even given as a burial gift to deceased pharaohs and to Jesus. It grows to about 2 feet in height, with pale green leaves that narrow and have small spines along their margins. Yellow flowers are found on the terminal portions.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, Australia, South America, Northern Africa, Southern Europe, Texas, China, Florida, Arizona
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Emmenagogue, vermifuge, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, suppurative, boosts the immune system, and treats HIV, skin irritations, diabetes, colitis, herpes, hair loss, acne, hemorrhoids, dandruff, dry skin, acid reflux, Parkinson's disease, and conditions of the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and stomach
For cold sores and skin disorders, cut open the leaves and scrape out the gel. Apply liberally to affected areas. For burns, repeat this process several times throughout the day. For hair loss, mash a fresh leaf and apply to the scalp. Cover with a shower cap or plastic wrap, and allow to sit for 1 hour. Repeat for 10 days. For the extraction of deeply embedded slivers, slice a leaf in half lengthwise, and secure the slimy side to the affected area. Change the leaf once each day for three to five days. For inflammation, including arthritis pain, drink two 6-ounce glasses until the symptoms subside. Do not exceed this dosage. Excessive amounts of Aloe taken internally can be harmful.