Aloe is a succulent plant that grows in hot, dry climates. The most common medicinal variety is Aloe vera (barbadensis Miller), which has been clinically shown to have the most nutrients of the over 500 species of aloe throughout the world. It is grown commercially for the health and moisturizing benefits found inside its leaves. The aloe vera plant is one of the most studied herbs in natural medicine. Based on these studies, the following are some tips on Aloe vera:
• Aloe produces two substances, gel and latex, which are both used medicinally. Aloe gel is the clear, jelly-like substance found in the inner part (inner fillet) of the aloe plant leaf. Aloe latex comes from just under the plant’s skin and is yellow in color. Some aloe products are made from the whole crushed leaf, so they contain both gel and latex.
• Studies show that the gel can penetrate three epidermal layers of the skin. Aloe vera gel may improve the absorption of other botanical herbs and vitamins. Typically, Aloe vera products should contain a high quantity of aloe in the formula to be effective (30%-90%).
• Aloe vera contains cooling properties similar to menthol. This is perhaps the plant’s best- known quality. Gently apply the gel to soothe and heal sunburns, minor kitchen burns, scrapes, and itchy insect bites.
• Aloe seems to be able to speed wound healing by improving blood circulation through the area. Aloe vera products have been clinically proven to increase white blood cell count, strengthening the immune system.
• Aloe gel appears to have properties that are harmful to certain types of bacteria and fungi, furthering the argument for it as a wound healing agent.