Aloe Vera: a good skin gel

Aloe vera is a perennial plant that often forms large colonies, have fleshy succulent leaves light green in rosettes, with teeth on the margins. The plant is similar to the maguey (agave) but has very little fiber in their leaves. Aloe vera leaves have three layers: an outer protective fibrous layer (where aloin is concentrated) and a gelatinous heart where it stores water and containing the healing properties for the skin. The flower is small, tubular and yellow (other species of Aloe flower can be red, orange or purple) and is presented in inflorescences.

Aloe vera is very easy to grow, does not need any special conditions to grow, easily it adapts to poor soils, grows and reproduces quickly and can be planted in the garden or in pots.

The easiest way to plant aloe vera is by suckers; once the plant begins to grow born many identical plants around the base, simply Remove them carefully in individual pots and grow them. The tillers will need more water and sun the plant matures, until the roots grow well (generally considered a plant with 12 leaves is “mature”.)

Today, aloe vera is a main ingredient in many cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, but the Egyptians, Greeks and Sumerians left evidence of their use over 4000 years ago. Different parts of the aloe leaf contains several compounds with different effects and usually are not used together.

When cutting the sheet it can be seen that under the “skin” is a fibrous layer that gives off a yellow, bitter and smelly liquid. This liquid contains aloin, an irritant compound that is a very powerful laxative that can cause damage to the digestive system and the kidneys. In ancient times this liquid was used in small amounts (5 to 30 milliliters) to treat constipation, usually it was taken with water or a juice made from the gelatinous part of the same sheet. This bitter liquid was also used to “paint” children’s fingers nails to discourage ate.

The heart of the blade, or the slimy or gelatinous part was very important for the soldiers of the Greek empire to heal the wounds valued it for its ability to stop bleeding and treat irritations of the mouth, throat and eyes. In Egypt and India, aloe vera gel is used to treat burns and certain skin problems like eczema and fungal (dermatitis). Also they advantage that when the gel dries on the skin wound, forms a thin layer that protects the wound from infection.