Aloe Vera



While I have not always had a dedication for natural products, one of the plant-derived remedies that has been part of my life for an incredibly long time is aloe vera. “Aloe vera, sometimes described as a “wonder plant,” is a short-stemmed shrub. Aloe is a genus that contains more than 500 species of flowering succulent plants” (Nordqvist). Along with coconut oil, aloe has come to be one of my favourite natural skincare alternatives, as it also possesses a vast amount of healing properties: It can be used to treat burns and skin irritations, cold sores, constipation, inflammation, and diabetes; as well, it is a known moisturizer and antioxidant, and can both boost the immune system and help with digestion (Axe). I have used this remedy as a facial moisturizer and a treatment for sunburns with excellent results. In previous posts, I have spoken about the setbacks of using chemically-based products for the skin, in which skin dryness and irritation were common themes; aloe vera is an exceptional alternative to these conventional products, and they preserve the well-being of both our skin and the Earth. “Listed as one of NASA’s top air-improving plants, the fantastic Aloe works much like the Snake Plant – it emits oxygen at night, making for a more restful slumber” (Nooralvandi). This plant can be purchased in the form of skincare products that possess it as a main ingredient, including sunburn-treatment gels, as well as in many foods and drinks such as juices. As a simpler alternative, one can buy an aloe vera house plant, and derive the gel straight from the plant. Currently, I possess many such plants in my house, and given that their lifespans can be as long as twelve years, they are substantially cheaper than continually buying skin products as they run out (Maria). These plants can be found at virtually any greenhouse and are very easy to use: One must simply tear off and break open one of the leaves and apply the gel found inside to one’s skin. I think that it is very amazing that a common house plant can be used in such a vast amount of contexts, and that it is incredibly easy to care for. The fact that this product is an actual plant speaks to the validity of its natural properties, and given that it is a part of nature illustrates how its presence in society is not of particular harm to the Earth; this idea makes it all the more reason to incorporate aloe into our daily lives. While one is able to consume this plant for its medicinal properties, it is important to keep in mind that it should not be eaten every day for an extended amount of time, as “[l]ong-term use can lead to loss of electrolytes, especially potassium” (Dawn). While keeping these restrictions in mind, aloe can be incorporated into many foods, such as salads and smoothies (Dawn). I personally have not ever eaten aloe, but the tremendous results of doing so within reason are definitely something I will keep in mind for the future. Aloe has always played a significant role in my life, and I feel that it should be more readily used in Western society; It contains the benefits of conventional beautifying products and remedies for minor ailments — without the added stress on the environment from chemically-based alternatives.