Aloe vera has a reputation for being a medicinal miracle that dates back thousands of years ago. With more than 250 different species of the plant growing in dry regions across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas, it’s pretty easy to take advantage of home remedies using aloe vera.
As a member of the Lily family, aloe vera is a succulent, perennial plant sometimes confused with a type of cactus because it possesses thick, spiny leaves. The aloe vera plant contains polysaccharides (that promote skin cell repair and growth) and glycoproteins (eases irritation and calms pain), which are also known to strengthen the immune system.
The leaf of the aloe vera plant is considered the most beneficial part. The outside of the aloe vera leaf is smooth and rubbery, and when broken open, the gel inside can be used as an immediate topical remedy associated with accelerated wound healing.
In the past, the leaves were sliced and laid on the skin to ease itching and heal burns . Today, aloe vera is used as an effective treatment for minor burns, wrinkles, insect bites, skin irritation, cuts, scratches, and sunburns. The plant is used in many different ways, including:
• Clear gel from aloe leaves is a topical ointment
• Green part of the leaf makes a juice or dried substance that is taken by mouth
• Taken orally for a laxative effect
• Aloe vera gel is used in many commercial skin products, such as lotions and sunblocks
• Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has even approved aloe vera as a natural food flavoring [
It is important to note that out of all the different species of aloe, only five are recognized as offering nutritional and medicinal value.
For some patients, aloe vera does not come without the occasional side effects. When taking aloe vera orally, some people have reported abdominal cramping and diarrhea. The laxative effect associated with oral aloe vera remedies can also decrease the absorption of many drugs. Some interactions with drugs noted include blood sugar medications.
People who should not consume aloe vera juice orally include pregnant women, children, and people suffering with kidney, liver or intestinal disease. Some patients have suffered an allergic reaction to aloe vera when used as a topical remedy. It is suggested to test a small amount on a patch of skin.
To reap the benefits of aloe vera plants, keep in mind that they are not fully mature until they reach four years old. Until then, the plant cannot offer the medicinal properties listed in the following home remedies for using aloe vera:
Reduce the severity of skin infections by turning the pulp of an aloe vera leaf into a paste that is applied to the face. This mask can also be used to rejuvenate skin tissues.
Treat minor cuts or lesions on the skin by applying aloe vera gel for an overnight treatment.
Applying aloe vera gel on the face can help remove the signs of aging when used on a regular basis. Some people have used the substance to eliminate spots on skin, as well as remove or reduce wrinkles.
Apply aloe vera on the face to enhance the appearance of your skin.
Treat your acne with aloe vera juice by applying to your face. As a natural germ killer, the aloe helps stop the spread of acne with its antibacterial properties.
Aloe vera juice can also treat acne scars by slicing a leaf into two sections and then directly applying to scars.
The juice of aloe vera can soothe irritations of the skin, such as poison ivy. Pour aloe vera juice over affected skin for a calming effect
. You can use the dried sap of the aloe vera leaf to prepare a “tea” that is a good wash for the eyes, as well as other wounds.
Enjoy a shinier mane by applying aloe vera juice to your hair before washing. Aloe is also associated with making your roots stronger.
 http://nccam.nih.gov/health/aloevera/  http://www.livestrong.com/?