There are a handful of ingredients that show up again and again in recipes for homemade health and beauty products here on my blog, including witch hazel, coconut oil, and hydrogen peroxide. And since summer is almost here, I thought that today I’d highlight one of my go-to natural ingredients that will surely come in handy over the next few months: aloe vera.
This spiny succulent may be a popular decorative houseplant, but it also offers plenty of benefits that make it one of the most practical plants you can keep in your home. In addition to going over the various benefits of aloe vera, I’ll also be sharing my favorite DIYs and natural remedies you can make with aloe so that you can experience those benefits for yourself!
What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a spiny-leafed succulent plant that typically grows in dry, tropical climates. While it is usually referred to by its scientific name Aloe vera, its more exotic monikers include the “lily of the desert” and “elephant’s gall.”
Humans have been using aloe vera for many different purposes for at least 4,000 years. (One of the earliest recorded mentions of the plant comes from a Sumerian clay tablet dated to 2,100 BC!) Today, we still use aloe vera in several ways, most notably as a topical treatment for burns.
What Are The Benefits Of Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera offers a variety of benefits depending on how you use it. I’ll start by sharing some of benefits associated with using aloe vera externally by applying it on the skin, then we’ll shift our focus to benefits of aloe from internal use.
External Benefits Of Aloe Vera
You’re probably already familiar with aloe vera gel, which is the most popular aloe vera product. Commercial aloe vera gel is a filtered and processed version of the gooey stuff contained in the center of the plant’s spiny leaves.
Bottled aloe vera gels are convenient for external applications, but you can also just cut open a leaf from the actual plant, squeeze the contents out, and use that the same way. (Like I said, having an aloe vera plant in your home is just as useful as it is decorative!)
Here are some of the biggest benefits to using aloe vera externally:
- Treats minor burns like sunburns, as well as other minor wounds like cuts and scrapes
- Soothes and heals skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, and cold sores
- Reduces signs of inflammation like puffy eyes and redness
- Treats scalp conditions like dryness and dandruff
Internal Benefits Of Aloe Vera
In addition to aloe vera gels, many stores also offer aloe vera juice as an option. The solid and fibrous bits of the plant are filtered out during processing, but the remaining digestible juice retains plenty of beneficial vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A, C, and E, folic acid, iron, calcium, and potassium.
You can find bottled aloe vera juice in many health food stores—just look for 100% pure aloe vera juice that is intended for consumption. If you’d prefer not to drink it, you can also find aloe vera in capsule form.
Here are some of the benefits associated with taking aloe vera internally:
- Balances stomach acid
- Curbs indigestion and heartburn
- Boosts the immune system
- Reduces inflammation
- Supports joint health
5 Of The Best DIYs You Can Make With Aloe Vera
Now that you know a little bit more about the benefits of aloe vera, here are some of my favorite things you can make with it! Just click the links below for recipes, instructions, and more useful details about this miracle plant:
- Soothing And Healing Sunburn Relief Spray
- My All-Natural “Miracle” Eye Serum
- Homemade Bum Spray (An Alternative To Flushable Wipes)
- Easy Homemade Hand Sanitizer
- Homemade Spray-On Deodorant
How do you use aloe vera at home?