Aloe is definitely one of my favorite succulents. It offers numerous health benefits, and like most succulents, thrives on neglect. Seriously, I once forgot to water mine for well over a month and it looked wonderful. Everyone knows these cute little plants are extremely popular, as you can find them in anything from lotion to yogurt to oral vitamin supplements, but what do they really have to offer?
Aloe vera has been popular among civilizations as early as the fourth century B.C. and is believed that it was well established along trade routes such as the Silk Road, especially within the Mediterranean region. Despite the fact that Aloe vera is only one variety of Aloe among approximately 500 relatives, Aloe vera likely gained its popularity simply for being the most accessible at the time, and people did not feel the need to search for more exotic varieties that may have been more difficult to acquire.
Aloe is also generally easy to propagate if you have a large and older plant. If your plant is at least 3 years old, you may start to notice some smaller aloe plants forming either attached to the mother plant, or growing underneath along the bottom. These will have their own leaves and established root system, and are called pups. If your plant has pups, you can easily remove them and plant them to grow new plants! If your plant doesn’t have pups it is also possible to propagate by taking a cutting from a leaf using a clean straight cut and then letting the leaf completely dry out and form a callus at the point where it was cut. It is much less likely that the cutting will survive using this method as it is likely to rot instead of root, but if it does work the cutting can then be placed into somewhat moist soil and then not watered until the cutting establishes some roots.
The health benefits that Aloe offers for humans are numerous. For one, it does a wonderful job of purifying the air in your home. Like all plants they eliminate carbon dioxide from the air and convert it to oxygen, but they also remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. These compounds are usually man-made chemicals that exist as a result of the manufacturing of paints, pharmaceuticals, and refrigerants. While there is no solid scientific evidence to confirm, Aloe can be applied topically or ingested, and it is believed to improve a plethora of aspects of life, some of which include:
- Skin health and wrinkle protection
- Treating sunburn
- Tip: Don’t apply lotion or Aloe to very burnt skin. Take a cold shower or ice before applying, as applying the Aloe or lotion to very hot or badly burnt skin can trap the heat underneath the skin and allow the burns to travel deeper.
- Lowering blood sugar levels
- Reduced dental plaque
- Soothing canker sores
- Inhibiting the growth of bacteria
- Accelerates wound healing
- Heartburn relief
- Immune system booster
- Aids digestion
- Reduces Inflammation
- Hair health
- Can help your hair become healthier and shinier
- Lowers high cholesterol
- General detox
Aloe is also believed to be possibly linked to the prevention of breast cancer, and is overall a good natural way to improve most of one’s general physical health. I think the enjoyment of watching yours grow can also be an asset to your mental health!
More information on Aloe can be found by calling Caroline at 440-466-9523 or stopping in during our business hours.