Most of you probably know aloe vera, as so many beauty and health products today contain it. But did you know that it has a millenia-old history and grows abundantly all across Crete? In this article, we will present this miracle plant to you and tell you a bit more about its power ingredients and its numerous benefits.
The genuine Aloe (Aloe vera) is an ancient plant that sprouts only in the warm areas of the planet. It grows up to 60-100 centimeters high. It belongs to the category of the lilies and its healing abilities have been known since ancient times. Findings of documents where the plant has been mentioned date back to circa 2100 B.C.. It seems to have been a vital ingredient for the daily beauty rituals of the wives of the Pharaohs of Egypt. In today’s beauty and health industry, it has also been rediscovered. Every good supermarket / bio market and drug store has products with aloe or even aloe vera gel in its shelves. This gel, which is to be found in the leaves of the aloe plant, contains numerous enzymes, 20 amino acids (including the seven of the eight “irreplaceable”), metals, zinc, saponins, vitamins A, C, E, and the whole group of vitamins B e.t.c.. Thus, it is a true powerhouse for health and cosmetic purposes. It actively promotes the rejuvenation of skin cells and helps restore damaged skin. Furthermore, it acts as pain-reliever and works effectively against germs, bacteria, and fungus. Aloe can help prevent as well as treat inflammations and is often used against acne.
THE CULTIVATION OF ALOE
The Aloe plant prefers sandy, light ground to sprout. If you want to create perfect conditions, it is best to have a slightly alkaline pH between 7 and 7,6. However, Aloe can also sprout in other types of ground without specific preparations. The planting of the offshoots, which are ca. 20-25 cm in size, is done between March and October. The optimal temperatures are between 20 and 25°C and no spraying is required. Although too much dryness negatively impacts the Aloe, it can survive even long periods of dryness. In order to avoid this, though, frequent watering with small amounts are ideal. The production of the plant takes between 2 and 3 years and basically only comprises the harvesting of the leaves when they are ready. The only enemies of the Aloe plant are frost, too much water, the snail and some mycoses and bacteriosis.
Aloe was first mentioned in the Papyrus of Embers during the 15th century B.C. In this document, there were exact dosages and recipes for the treatment of more than 900 diseases. Even the accompanying doctors of Alexander the Great shall have treated his soldiers with aloe. This shows, that the plant has already been known and effectively used in ancient civilisations throughout time.
The origin of the word “aloe” lies in the Jewish word “alloeh” which means “bitter and shiny substance”. The word “vera” stems from the Latin and means “real”.
THE INGREDIENTS OF ALOE
The millenia-long use of aloe and other medicinal plants in the curation of diseases is a clear sign for its healing abilites. So what are these magical ingredients that make the plant so powerful?
Aloe is super rich in vitamins: The vitamins A, B, C and E energise the body to start its cleansing process and thus help in the development of healthy skin, hair, teeth and gums. At the same time, vitamin E helps the body fight viruses and prevent carcinogenesis. The B vitamins in the plant (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and follicular acid) promote cardio and muscle functioning, as well as memory and concentration, eyesight, and a healthy neural system. Follicular acid is essential in the body’s synthesis of the DNA and RNA.
Essential minerals in the aloe are calcium, sulfurate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, copper, sodium, potassium, chromium, iron and antioxidant selenium. Salicylic acid can help relieve pain. Malic acid aids in regulating the blood sugar. Saponin gives the plant Furthermore, aloe contains numerous essential oils which work as an antisepticum and help fight viruses. The many enzymes help with the healing of the skin and tissues. Aloe is also full of amino acids, monosaccharides and polysaccharides as well as sterols, malic acid, Lignin, sapogenin, Beta-carotene, choline. cleaning and antiseptic features. Lignin strengthens the effect of cosmetic products and helps with metablosim and obesity.
BENEFITS OF ALOE
There are countless benefits of aloe. Some of the most outstanding for the skin are:
Anti-Aging: Thanks to the many antioxidants, aloe is a true youth-booster. It helps fight viruses, accelerates collagen production, limits wrinkles and helps rejuvenate the skin.
Hydration: Besides all the vitamins, minerals and enzymes, the active ingredients in aloe help transport all the nutrients to the internal layers of the skin. At the same time, the polysaccharides form kind of a grid which helps keep the natural moisture of the body and skin.
Help with acne & oily skin: Maybe this is one of the most known benefits of aloe in skin care. The plant helps in cleansing the pores and balancing the sebum of the skin. Thus, it helps prevent as well as heal oily and acne-prone skin.
Recovery from sun exposure and air pollution: Especially due to the antioxidant vitamins and trace elements and their healing combination, aloe activates oxygen in the skin and strengthens the tissue. Thus, it is great for the treatment of sun burns, for general skin care after sun exposure, as well as for the prevention of damages from air pollution.
Healing of scars, cuts and wounds: Due to its tissue regenerating property, aloe is amazing for the treatment of scars, cuts and wounds. It helps the skin regenerate, heal and recover faster. These skin-related effects are the most known and popular today, as aloe is so popular in cosmetics and skin care nowadays.
However, there are so many other healing powers of the plant that work in the whole body and organism. These involve: boosting the immune system, stabilizing the blood sugar, healing and reconstructing the tissues, supporting the whole digestive system in its proper functioning, activating the metabolism and thus helping with weight loss, reducing blood pressure, boosting collagen production, widening the blood vessels and hence helping nutrients reach the skin, relieving pain in joints, muscles and bones, calming the neural system, reducing high cholesterol, reducing cellulite, boosting energy, improving cardio and neuromuscular function and bone health, acting as an antiseptic and antimicrobial helper, and last but not least having anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antifungal effects.
All this in just one plant? Yes, you heard correctly! Aloe is a true power package and can definitely help you boost your health and beauty. There are even many scientific studies today which prove its impact. Of course, there are many really good products with aloe – from skin care and hair care to other health products. However, why not try and make your own skin and hair care? Or make your own Aloe shots in the morning? There are numerous ideas and recipes to use the aloe plant. But more about this in another article.