Almost everyone everywhere has heard of the wonderments of Aloe Vera; especially in terms of hair and skin treatments. Apart from these, however, Aloe Vera can be used for so many other things that can be extremely beneficial, health-wise. Let’s talk about this wonderful plant outside the skin and hair!
What is Aloe Vera?
Green, spiky and succulent — this is the response I got from my nephew when I asked him if he knew what Aloe Vera is. Apparently, this is the response many persons would give if the same question was posed to them. So, what’s more to Aloe Vera apart from spikes, water and green? I’ll tell you.
Aloe Vera is an evergreen plant that is native to the Arabian Peninsula. By evergreen, I mean that this plant doesn’t go brown all year long. It is also a perennial plant. This means that it can live for more than two years. This contrasts greatly with annual and biennial plants that live for one year and two years, respectively. Aloe Vera belongs to the Asphodelaceae plant family and the Aloe genus.
The plant may be referred to as the wonder herb or the plant of immortality. Now, that is pretty cool.
What Does it Look Like?
As weird as it may sound, some persons may not know what the Aloe Vera looks like. In many cases, they may have come across it once or twice but do not know that what they saw is the great Aloe Vera. For the sake of the few persons who may fall into this category, let me quickly describe the plant we are dealing with. We don’t want to leave anyone out of the conversation, do we?
The first thing to know about this herb is that it has no stem. Yes! This is a unique feature of Aloe Vera. However, it produces thick and fleshy leaves. The leaves are used for a variety of purposes. The Aloe Vera leaves are typically green in color; although some of them may have a grey-green like color. In some cases, some of the leaves may be dusted with white coloring on their surfaces. The edges of the leaves are rough and serrated with small white teeth. Aloe Vera grows best in summer.
Now, you know how to identify an Aloe Vera plant when next you walk past one.
Where Can it be Found?
The plant grows in tropical forests, typically. However, persons may also cultivate it in their home gardens in gardening pots for ornamental purposes.
What about Cultivation?
Sure! If you do not have to always go out in the wilds to pick a few leaves of the immortal plant, the good news is you can have your own garden of Aloe Vera plant. And it is pretty easy to do so too! I’ll tell you how!
There are three things you need to note as you get ready to plant your Aloe Vera. First, Aloe Vera is a succulent plant. As such, it grows best in a dry condition. Its soil demands are unique but easy to achieve. Simply put your usual garden soil in your garden pot and then add a fair quantity of building or construction sand to the mixture (this should not be hard to find).
Second, create as many drainage holes as possible on your pot. The worst situation you can put an Aloe Vera plant in is one that involves stagnant water. Finally, ensure that the plant has enough of sunlight. This should not be difficult if the garden pots are outdoors. However, if your pots would be indoors, you must place them in positions in which they can access sunlight easily. Placing the pots by your windows may be a good idea.
Knowing how to take good care of your plant is important. Just like everything else, if you fail to do the right things to your Aloe Vera, it may just die off and you would have to start all over again. I hear someone freaking out already. Here’s how to take care of your Aloe Vera.
Remember I mentioned how much the plant hates stagnant water? Well, the first thing you must know is how to water the plant properly. Many Aloe Vera plants die from too much watering. Make sure the soil is completely dry before you water the plant and when you do so, allow the water drain out naturally through the holes you have created in your pot. It’s that simple.
The next things we will deal with are fertilizers. Your Aloe Vera plant would be fine without fertilizers. However, if you decide to be the dotting gardener and fertilize your plant, remember to use fertilizers that are water based and rich in phosphorus at half strength. More importantly, fertilize the plant once a year and only in springtime.
What’s the Big Deal about Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera isn’t called a miracle plant for nothing. I’ll tell you five amazing health benefits of Aloe Vera.
Helping your Digestion
Aloe Vera contains anti-inflammatory and laxative compounds and these are extremely beneficial in digestion. Experts say that ingesting Aloe Vera can normalize your body Ph levels and speed up the growth of healthy bacteria needed for digestion. In addition, it helps your bowel and slows down the formation of yeast in your body. Aloe Vera juice has been recommended by experts for persons who have the Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Gastrointestinal problems.
In addition, it helps to relieve the discomfort that comes with stomach ulcers. The best part? It contains natural healing compounds that can bring your damaged stomach linings back to life and heal your ulcer.
Keeping your Body’s Soldiers Healthy
You already know how important the cells of your immune system are. Therefore, there is a need to ensure that your immune system remains healthy and effective enough to ward off dangerous bacteria and other disease-causing organisms. Fortunately, consuming Aloe Vera is a great and easy way to do this. Aloe Vera contains enzymes that help to speed up the breakdown of proteins into amino acids. Amino acids help to fuel the cells of your immune systems and make them function effectively.
In addition, it helps to strengthen the cell membranes of the cells that form the immune system.
Dehydration can lead to a number of health-related issues including having a high concentration of body toxins. Aloe Vera contains a lot of water and phytonutrients; as such, consuming it is a great way to stay hydrated and treat dehydration. Hydration is necessary for your body to carry out detoxification and flush out all the bad substances that can ruin your health.
Helping your Heart
Aloe Vera is helpful in matters of the heart. Aloe Vera helps to relieve a number of cardiovascular conditions. Researchers say that drinking Aloe Vera juice can provide relief for persons experiencing heartburns. According to them, Aloe Vera contains a number of active compounds that slow down acid secretions in your body and relieve heartburns.
What about your Blood Sugar Levels?
We keep watch over our blood sugar levels because if they go south, we could just end up with type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, Aloe Vera constitutes components that affect blood sugar levels in the right way. The miracle plant helps to control insulin sensitivity and blood sugar. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar. In addition, it is helpful in situations where body cells become resistant to insulin and stop utilizing glucose for energy.
Sadly, like everything else, there are a couple of exceptions when it comes to who should use Aloe Vera plus other side effects that may come up when you consume the herb. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are advised to avoid Aloe Vera as it has been associated with birth defects and miscarriages. The gel-like part of the part is considered safe for consumption. However, the skin and the latex layer under it are generally regarded as unsafe for consumption.
Aloe Vera is great for you as long as you use it the right way. I’m getting ready to have some home-grown Aloe Vera in my garden. I hope you’ll do same.