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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Aloe Vera for Health, Beauty, First-Aid


 Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) was originally from North Africa but can be found in many hot, dry regions of the world. It is a very frost sensitive plant, and with its shallow root system it is easy to over water. Aloe is a member of the lily family (includes onions and garlic), and is called a succulent due to its thick, gel filled tubular leaves.

Every home should have a potted Aloe vera plant, if only for its availability as a first aid treatment. The leaf contains enzymes, essential amino acids, proteins, vitamins E, C, B1, B2, B3 and B6, as well as minerals iron, manganese, calcium and zinc. The gel penetrates deeply and easily into the layers of skin, therefore used extensively in skin care. With the same pH balance as skin, it is naturally hypoallergenic (which means it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction) and makes for an excellent moisturizer.

Aloe plants also make great houseplants for improving indoor air quality. They help remove benzene from the air, which is found in paints and household cleaners. Easy to grow and as long as you don't over water it, the aloe plant should be an easy houseplant to keep alive.

If you don't have the actual plant, then be sure to buy bottled Aloe that has been minimally processed. Commercially prepared Aloe vera gel often has artificial additives. Be sure it is 100% organically grown Aloe vera. The one used for my skin care is Real Aloe, grown in southern California.

Externally, it is used in beauty and skin care, but also is excellent to treat cuts, burns, eczema, stings, sunburn, itch, even relieves joint pain.The tubular leaves contain a thick gel which is odorless, tasteless and colorless but packed with healing properties. It's cooling touch eases pain and acts as an anti-inflammatory as it forms its own bandage. Just snip a piece of leaf off, squeeze out the gel, and apply. Being Aloe vera accelerates cell rejuvenation and improves blood flow, the formation of scar tissue can be reduced.

Internally, Aloe is very soothing for complaints with the digestive system. Conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn's disease, Diverticulitis, and Colitis all may benefit from Aloe but permission should be attained from a physician.
Informative article about the benefits of taking aloe internally.
Pregnant women must be aware that Aloe can stimulate uterine contractions so should be avoided during the pregnancy. Internal use should also be avoided while breast feeding since Aloe may be purgative to the baby (means it may be a bit too stimulating to the bowels).

Aloe for Sunburn, Bug Bites Itch
Here is a quick summary of how many uses Aloe gel or juice can have:
1. Burns
Make sure you are using
pure Aloe. Apply directly to the area of the minor burn or sunburn for cool relief.

2. Shaving irritation
Apply as an aftershave to relieve razor burn.

3. Hair
Aloe is very soothing for an itchy scalp. Also softens hair and helps with the frizzies.
Add some aloe to your shampoo or use as a leave-in conditioner.

4. Itch relief
Apply a bit directly to bug bites or to areas of rash or eczema.

5. Make a homemade hand sanitizer by mixing 2/3 cup isopropyl alcohol, 1/3 cup aloe and 10 drops essential oil of choice.

6. Mouthwash
Benefit gums and mouth care by swishing a bit of aloe juice around in your mouth or make a mouthwash by mixing 1 cup aloe juice, 1/2 cup distilled water, 2 tsp. baking soda and 10 drops peppermint essential oil

7. Moisturizer
A non-greasy, quick absorbing moisturizer. Great when a heavier, oil based moisturizer isn't needed.
Added to facial creams in place of water adds to the beneficial quality of the cream.

8. Soothe an upset stomach or help relieve heartburn
Aloe vera juice can be an aid for digestive issues.

9. A restful night's sleep
Aloe emits oxygen at night which can help with a good night's sleep.

10. Helpful to relieve the discomfort of dry, skin conditions.

 Though Aloe vera gel is used in many of our skin care products, this is a favorite:            

 Aloe Rose Facial Wash cleans and moisturizes without the use of soap, therefore very beneficial for those with dry or sensitive skin.
It is said that legendary Egyptian beauties attributed their flawless complexions to the use of three basics:  
Roses, Olive oil and Aloe vera gel.

A tropical plant, aloe is used in many formulas for reparative skin preparations, soothing astringents and sun products. Its gel is extremely cooling and refreshing.
Fresh rose petals are infused in the heat of the summer sun to bring you a pretty pale red rosewater. A touch of rosewater concentrate is added to further enhance the subtle fragrance of this soothing wash.
Vitamin E is added because in addition to being good for the skin by its aid in healing, it is an antioxidant which means it will help to prolong the shelf life of oil-based products.
Olive oil is a very stable nourishing oil used in many ways of daily living by those in the Mediterranean. It is therapeutic and lubricating for skin care.

Cleaning your face with oil may sound unappealing but contrary to popular belief, oil does not contribute to oily skin or breakouts. The sedum that the skin creates is there to protect the skin. When we use commercial cleansers to remove this natural oil, the body reacts by producing more oil. Dry skin is often the result of stripping away this natural barrier and things get out of balance. It is the same as how our hair adjusts to constant shampooing.

In washing our faces we want to remove the dirt and bacterial which builds up in our pores but we have to think about the chemistry behind it. Oil dissolves oil, like dissolves like. Water and oil do not mix; commercial cleansers contain ingredients to break up the oils but in doing so may strip away the natural protective layer. By using a nourishing oil like olive oil, the dirty oils are being replaced with beneficial ones.

The oil and water contents will separate so give the bottle a little shake before use.

Wet your face with warm water and massage a small amount of Aloe Rose Wash onto your skin using circular motions. Rinse and pat dry. Because olive oil is an oil it may feel as though it is not washing off but this feeling is temporary. Once you pat dry, your face will feel incredibly smooth.
This blend also works great to use as you would a facial serum to cleanse your face without the need to rinse. Add a small amount to a cotton square and wipe over your face to remove dirt and moisturize at the same time. The aloe gives such a cool and refreshing feel and you'll be amazed at how it cleans by just looking at the cotton square or tissue that you use.

Very effective method to gently remove make-up