It's summer in the Coachella Valley desert, where not much plant life can survive this time of year, resides an oasis with a thriving succulent cactus, the amazing jewel of the desert, the Aloe Vera plant!
Through extreme hot dry climates, the Aloe Vera perseveres, adapts to its environment and develops self-sustaining characteristics. It's one of the most nutrient-rich plants, encompassing more than 200 phytonutrients including minerals, vitamins, enzymes, polysaccharides, glycosides and amino acids. Aloe Vera has such profound healing and beautifying features that it's no surprise that the ancient Egyptians named it "plant of immortality" and the Native American Indians as the "wand of heaven".
Aloe has been used for centuries for it's medicinal qualities and healing. Like any plant that grows in an extreme climate, aloe is in a constant state of survival. This forces the plant to develop survival mechanisms and self-repairing traits which produce the excessive amount of immunity boosting bio-actives. Try cutting the leaf of an aloe plant, notice it seals itself and pulls all of it's resources inward so the leaf continues to grow and regenerate from the root.
Similarly, the Aloe plant has amazing skin benefits when applied topically and also has profound wellness ability to nourish the body from the inside out when digested internally. The plant's rich composition of live phytonutrients allows aloe to play many skin restoring tasks.
A sunburn is ultimately just inflamed skin, which in extreme cases can be diagnosed as a wound. The high antioxidant concentration in Aloe Vera scavenges environmentally caused free radicals, which blocks further damage and encourages tissue repair - just as the plant heals itself. Make sure when selecting an Aloe Vera that you either use the whole plant by picking it yourself or using a pure alternative like Epicuren's Aloe Vera Gel. Aloe gel is available in every summer vacation destination where sunburns are common, but most contain added chemicals, stabilization additives, color and fragrance (things you don't want in your body and certainly not when you're healing).
Reduces Skin Inflammations:
Aloe plant contains magnesium and salicylic acid, the combination creates analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. You may see salicylic acid in your acne products due to it's acne fighting benefits, acne is essentially inflamed pores. Aloe contains 8 types of enzymes including Bradykinase which is an enzyme that initiates blood vessel dilation. The dilation process lessens any skin or tissue inflammation.
Heals Wounds or Burns:
The pure contents of an aloe leaf is rich in glucomannan, which promotes cell regeneration and collagen production. When applied topically it dries on the skin like a shrink wrapped layer of skin, insulating and sealing off the area. Under the insulated cover the aloe contracts, as well as the surrounding area. (This tight seal of the aloe plant can be a little uncomfortable when applied all over sunburned skin so Epicuren has added a little moisture to their pure aloe to prevent the tightness). In this case the tight seal is good! The leaf of the aloe plant protects the wound from outside bacteria and can decrease it in size. It can then stimulate blood flow and accelerate healing. This allows cells to proliferate, and cure the wound.
Lessens Stretch Marks:
In addition to boosting collagen production, aloe also alters the existent collagen figure configuration. I repairs the cellular matrix, resulting in stronger collagen fiber interlinking. The stronger collagen bonds assist in breaking hold of cells surrounding the stretch mark, which is a type of a scar tissue. The area is then advanced to a state of repair allowing for the tissue to lessen and heal.
The inner leaf of aloe is made of 99% water, which is an amazing amount of topical hydration if applying the raw inner gel directly onto the skin. However, it is not critical to have the leafs raw gel to get the same effect, well-formulated skincare like Epicuren Aloe Gel will give the same hydrating results with the ease of a pump application. The action of amino acids allow aloe to effectively soften hardened cells. It's rich in mucopolysaccharides, also known as glycosaminoglycans. This is the same naturally occurring substance in the periphery of the skin, but it's production significantly decreases with age. Mucopolysaccharides functions the humectant working to constantly attract moisture and bind the moisture into the skin, plumping and supporting every function of the skin cell.
We couldn't leave out acne! There are different types and severities of acne, but the common culprit among all acne is bacteria. Bacteria feeds on your skin's natural sebum so for oily skin types this can be a never-ending fight! Aloe contains phenols, which when bacteria is in contact with a phenol compound, become immobile. When bacteria can't move about, it becomes inactive and can no longer spread or provoke inflammation. The powerful bacteria, fungus and virus inhibiting abilities of aloe is awesome! The antiseptic agents in the aloe plant are due to the action of it's phenols, salicylic acids, lapels, cinnamic acids, urea nitrogen and sulfurs. You've probably heard of salicylic acids and sulfurs if you are keen to ingredients in several skincare and masks on the market for acne. Guess what!? This is the pure form.
Aloe is packed with vitamins and nutrients that are calming, soothing and moisturizing to the scalp. It works as and anti-irritant and conditioner, especially for itchy scalp associated with eczema and psoriasis. The Lignin in aloe penetrate deeply, even through the thickest areas. This enhances the efficacy of the enzymes, allowing the break down of hardened keratin and relieves scalp itch and discomfort. Aloe is many times added to cheap shampoos and conditioners to counteract the harsh chemicals such as Sodium Laurel Sulfate, that can cause toxic and drying reactions to the skin. Read your labels and de-tox, not re-tox!
No wonder the Egyptians and Native American Indians coveted this succulent plant of wellness in the desert. There are no contraindications of this amazing leaf, with the exception of an aloe allergy, it's a plant for all skin types, whether it's dry, oily, sunburned, wounded, inflamed, or any skin sensitivity, aloe is a fast and amazing topical remedy to have in your first-aid "holistic remedy box".
Just so we don't miss the internal qualities of this plant…try this amazing digestive elixir. Aloe Vera Margarita from the talented and beautiful Lauren at Wicked Spatula next time you are in hot desert bliss!
ALOE VERA MARGARITAS
2.5 ounces Aloe Vera Juice
2 ounces 100% Agave Tequila
1.5 ounces lime Juice
1 tablespoon honey syrup**