Published on March 11th, 2014 | by Rima J Pundir
KITCHEN SECRETS: Hello Aloe
Nephertiti dubbed it the elixir of life, and we say it’s a great beauty ingredient… Read up and put to use!
What’s green, pulpy and slippery, grows in your backyard, and cures everything from hair loss, dry skin, acne, skin inflammation, wounds, stomach ailments to cancer? Answer: Aloe Vera! The use of aloe vera can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians from the times of Nephertiti; and continues to be an integral part of alternative medicine up until present day. Known for its healing and soothing properties; researchers are still discovering more uses for this miraculous plant.
- An effective moisturiser: Aloe vera is an excellent moisturiser; it increases the skin’s ability to hydrate itself, aids in the removal of dead skin cells and penetrates deeply to provide nourishment deep within the pores.
- No more Botox: It can actively repair damaged skin cells that cause the visible signs of ageing, and has been found to reverse degenerative skin changes by stimulating collagen and elastin production.
- Soothe the burn: The plant is widely used to treat burns (including radiation burns and sun burn), soothe cuts and speed up healing of wounds.
- Wonder juice: Nutritionists around the world recommend the use of aloe juice to aid digestion, and treat symptoms of problems such as constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and to rev up a sluggish metabolism.
- Ease the pain: Aloe Vera is believed to reduce severe joint and muscle pain associated with arthritis, as well injury-related pain. When applied directly to the affected area, it penetrates into the skin to alleviate the pain.
- Treat your scalp: Aloe vera is considered highly effective even for hair loss. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps in fighting against alopecia, dandruff, psoriasis, and eczema. Owing to its rich protein content, it is super for dry and damaged hair.
- Lighten scars: Applying aloe extract directly over any scars – new or old – lightens them effectively.
Where to find the good stuff?
- Pluck a thick leaf (or two) from the outside of the plant, since the plant grows inside out.
- Wash and clean the leaf, and slice off about an inch from the top and bottom end of the leaf, and then neatly slice off the spiked edges on the sides
- Slice across the leaf (lengthwise), in to two equal halves to reveal the jelly-like interior.
- Now, using a spoon, scoop out the gel from the exposed leaf and store/place in a clean container. Be careful to scoop out as close to the skin of the leaf so as to not waste the gel.
- Store the gel in a closed container and refrigerate for future use.
Super Home remedies?
Aloe Vera Hair Conditioner:
What you need: ½ cup aloe extract, ½ cup olive oil, juice from half a lemon and a few drops of (any) essential oil
Directions: Extract half a cup of aloe juice by pureeing the gel obtained from the plant, and strain to remove impurities. Mix with olive oil, add lemon juice, and a few drops of essential oil, and apply this mixture on the hair, coating from root-to-tip, and use it to massage the scalp as well. Cover your hair in a shower cap. After an hour, shampoo and condition as usual.
Aloe Cure for Acne:
What you need: The aloe vera extract
Directions: Apply the gel directly on to the acne. Not only will it soothe the redness and swelling from the existing pimples, but will also heal old acne scars and skin lesions. Do not worry about using the sap reacting with your skin – it’s perfectly safe to use it directly on the skin.
Aloe and Olive Moisturiser:
What you need: Aloe vera gel and a little virgin olive oil
Directions: Mix aloe vera gel with a few tablespoons of virgin olive oil (we recommend Figaro), and store in a container. Use this excellent moisturiser morning and night for glowing, healthy, hydrated skin.
Aloe in my shopping bag?
- Forest Essentials Pure Aloe Vera Light Moisturising Facial Gel leaves the skin soft and silky. CLICK HERE to view this product. (Rs. 850/-)
- Naked Apricot Honey Fudge with Aloe Vera & loaded with honey, making it so good you can eat it! CLICK HERE to view this product
- Lush’s Cosmetic Lad soothes razor cuts, burns and can even be used as an after-sun lotion. Perfect for those of us who shave our legs, and makes a good gift for him too! CLICK HERE to view this product (Rs. 1120/-)