Aloe is a shrub-like succulent plant, whose leaves arranged in a tuft have thorns along the sides. The flowers consist of a floral axis that rises from the center of the plant and range from yellow to red. It is native to Africa and the Mediterranean basin, from which it probably spread to India, Central and South America and Oceania. The plant grows spontaneously in hot, dry climates, but can easily be grown in a greenhouse or apartment.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Aloe can be considered the plant whose use is most anciently documented. Just think that an example of phytotherapeutic use is present on a Sumerian clay tablet dating back to 2100 BC
Also referred to as the plant of immortality by the ancient Egyptians, it was planted at the entrance of the pyramids to indicate the path to the Pharaohs towards the land of the dead. Even the legendary queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra used aloe for beauty treatments. Some research shows that even in ancient oriental cultures aloe was used to treat various inflammatory disorders.
Some legends narrate that Alexander the Great went to conquer the island of Socotra, in the distant Indian Ocean, to have a good reserve of aloe available, so as to be able to heal the wounds of his soldiers during military campaigns.
ALOE VERA JUICE
From the leaves of the plant a dense and concentrated juice is extracted, similar to a gel, which contains numerous active ingredients with immunostimulating, anti-inflammatory, purifying and soothing properties. These virtues are the result of the synergistic action of various components, which make it in effect the "queen of all remedies".
COMPONENTS AND PROPERTIES
Aloe contains vitamin A, vitamins of group B, C and E and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium carbonate, which promote the strengthening of the immune system . Furthermore, thanks to the high content of vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12, it provides a boost of energy to the body. This promotes the activity of the basal metabolism , allowing it to burn excess calories much faster. The most important active ingredient in this sense is aloin, which accelerates metabolic processes and promotes weight loss .
It also helps digestive functions and controls appetite stimuli; in addition it also has a draining action, reducing the stagnation of liquids in the lymphatic level. This set of activities helps purify the body of toxins .
It is also a powerful anti- inflammatory : it is widely used for the treatment of diseases such as osteoarthritis, where it performs a similar function to steroids without having the side effects, and rheumatoid arthritis; it can also reduce the redness, pain and swelling associated with tension, muscle tears, bruises, burns and sunburn.
In summary it has activities:
Internal use : the high rate of mucopolysaccharides carries out a protective action on the mucous membranes because, adhering to the walls of the digestive tract, these substances form a sort of protective film capable of defending the internal tissues of the stomach and intestine from gastric juices or from irritating agents, which could alter its correct functioning. For this reason, aloe-based products are indicated in case of gastritis, colitis, irritable bowel, ulcer, and for any inflammation of the mucous membranes. Positive effects are also recognized in case of digestive difficulties and intestinal swelling.
External use : the presence of glucomannans stimulates collagen synthesis, increasing cell regeneration; therefore the use of aloe gel is recommended for all problems related to the skin; you can use the gel contained in the leaves of the plant directly, if you have it available, or buy a gel without preservatives.
Its active substances penetrate the three skin layers, exerting a repairing, soothing, moisturizing and purifying action at the same time. Thanks to these properties it is an ideal remedy in case of dry and damaged skin, sunburn, skin irritations and burns, insect bites, itching, abrasions and dermatitis, ulcerative lesions and sores. Finally, its gelatinous consistency makes it an excellent carrier of essential oils when they must be applied to the mucous membranes for localized treatments.
DIFFERENT SPECIES OF ALOE: the differences between Aloea vera and Aloe ferox
There are several species of Aloe: the most used in the health and cosmetic fields are two, Aloe vera and Aloe ferox .
While Aloe vera is certainly the best known and marketed, Aloe ferox is a wild variety whose detoxifying and rebalancing properties on the body are only recently being discovered and appreciated.
The main feature that differentiates Aloe ferox from Aloe vera lies in the high rate of complex polysaccharides, in particular as regards acemannan, a complex and rare polysaccharide which, until puberty, forms by itself in the human body; after which it is necessary to supplement the diet by taking this substance from the outside. Acemannan is useful for strengthening the immune system, because it activates phagocytes, antibodies and killer cells. In case of constipation, this high polysaccharide content makes the stool softer, without causing diarrhea, stimulates peristalsis and eliminates abdominal swelling. It also facilitates the breakdown of foreign proteins, which often cause allergies in the large intestine. Aloe ferox also contains more calcium and iron (hence the name Ferox) and also has a more pleasant taste.
You can find aloe in products:
The regenerating properties in case of damaged tissue also apply to the plant itself. Try a little experiment: cut a fresh aloe leaf with a knife and you will see that a new healing film will form on the wound in just a few minutes.