The benefits, history, and varied uses of the Aloe Vera plant.
|This native plant of Africa, which originated from the Cape Verde Islands, has found it's way into the commercial heart and medicine cabinets of people the world around. Not only is it a common household plant, but it's medical uses are renowned. The Aloe heralds from the Lily family, although appearance wise, one could almost call it "cactus-like." The plant is cultivated in desert-like territory such as the dry, sunny areas of Texas and Arizona, and also thrives in sandier soils in parts of Florida. There are large varieties which grow wild in California, and Nevada.
The Aloe's leaves are prickly, and thick with the juice they hold inside. The long, slightly curved leaves are a light, bright green with lighter color spots along them. During the summertime months, a tall shoot rises straight up from the middle of the plant, and at the 2-3 feet top of that shoot come out smallish flowers of red-orange which are of an elongated, cup-like shape.
References from early historical writings include areas such as Egypt, Arabia, and India. The Aloe, or a very close species to it, was said to be used for embalming fluid for the body of Jesus, according to the Bible. In the first century, the Romans claimed uses for the plant to treat jaundice, and as a general health tonic.
One of the most endeared uses for the Aloe is treatment of skin ailments. From rashes to sunburns, cuts to kitchen burns, the "heal-all" juice can be used directly from a piece of leaf, or made into a salve. This use is due to the Aloe's ability to regenerate damaged skin tissues, which it does very quickly. One other scientific use comes from the dried leaves being made into a resin and given to relieve constipation.
This magical herb is grown in the windowsill of many kitchens for other reasons, which are not exactly medical. Many grow it in the home in order to protect the home from negative influences, and angry spirits. It is also said to prevent household accidents, and in some parts of the world, hung over the door to bring good luck and money.
If you don't have an Aloe plant growing somewhere in your house, it would definitely be a good investment for many reasons - not only for it's medical and magical uses, but for it's beauty as well. Next time a friend moves into a new place, get them a house-warming present that will keep giving. With the Aloe being an easy care plant, and having the chance of good luck coming your way, the Aloe plant is a companion worth having around.