Aloe vera, a member of the lily family, is a succulent plant that is renowned for its multiple healing properties. It has been used for beauty, health and medicinal purposes throughout the ages. It finds mention in ancient Indian scriptures and medical texts, in the Bible and in Greek, Egyptian and Roman history.
Originally from the tropics and sub-tropics, aloe vera is now cultivated all around the world. There are over 400 recognized aloe vera species. Two widely cultivated species are Aloe barbadensis Miller and Aloe aborescens.
A greenish-gray plant, aloe vera has a shallow root system, no stem and a rosette-like leaf arrangement. The thick, fleshy and pointed leaves have sharp points at the edges. Plant sizes can range from a few inches to a few feet. Aloe vera plants are grown from seed or propagated shoots, andcan be purchased at a gardening center. The plants need sandy and well-drained soil or potting mix to grow in.
The plants require a good amount of sunlight, but they can also grow well in areas of dappled sunshine. An organic aloe vera plant must be watered with care as too much or too little can harm it. It is easy to grow in a container or as a house plant.
Organic aloe vera plants are grown without pesticides or herbicides, and so there is no trace of these pollutants in its gel; aloe vera plants absorb water directly from the surrounding soil system and would absorb chemicals too if exposed to those. The leaves have three layers, the outer skin, the inner gel and the thin gummy layer. The gel is extracted from the aloe vera leaves for topical and internal use. It contains important vitamins, amino acids and minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, chloride and zinc.
Organic aloe vera gel contains over 200 biologically active constituents, the main one being aloe polysaccharide. It is this that helps the body benefit from the properties of aloe vera. Polysaccharides cause no known harmful side effects.
The extracted organic aloe vera gel can be taken internally as well as applied externally. This gel is used to make organic aloe health juice which helps clean the colon. Drinking organic aloe juice is also beneficial for oral health, for treating throat ailments, for better digestion, for reducing joint pains and for cleaner elimination.
The organic aloe vera gel is applied to the skin as a moisturizer and to soothe sunburns and burns. It is used to treat rashes, cuts, insect bites, pimples, fungal infections and other skin problems. The gel is used as an ingredient in many commercial lotions and cosmetic products.